Top 10 Plants That Are Toxic to Pets

Top 10 Plants that are toxic to pets

Most of us have observed our dogs and cats nonchalantly grazing on the grass, flowers, or bushes outside, or we've spotted them munching on potted plants indoors. While one would think (and may read online) that our pets would know better than to eat something toxic, it's just not the case. In fact, there are numerous plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats.

When planting your gardens this spring or bringing plants indoors, keep in mind that many are not safe for our pets.

Top 10 Poisonous Plants

1. Autumn Crocus

Autumn Crocus is highly toxic, causing severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure.

The tricky thing is that there are actually two species of Crocus plants. The Crocus that blooms in the spring is more common, and ingestion of this species can cause gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea.

Don't know which plant is which? Bring your pet to the veterinarian immediately for care.

2. Azalea

The ingestion of as little as 0.2% of an animal's weight in azalea can be toxic. Without immediate veterinary attention, coma and death are possible.

3. Cyclamen (Persian Violet/Sowbread)

Cyclamen roots are particularly dangerous to pets. Ingesting cyclamen may result in abnormal heart rates/rhythm, seizures, and possible death.

4. Daffodils

Daffodils may be a beautiful harbinger of spring. But if our pets eat them, they may cause severe stomach upset, abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmias, and respiratory depression.

5. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia may cause pets to paw at the face (indicating mouth pain), foam at the mouth, and vomit as well as cause swelling of the lips, oral cavity, and upper airway.

6. Kalanchoe

All parts of the kalanchoe, a popular flowering succulent, are toxic to pets, including the water in the vase. Signs of trouble may include abnormal heart rates/rhythms, electrolyte disturbances, upset stomach, and central nervous system signs such as dilated pupils, tremors, and seizures.

7. Lilies

While some lilies are relatively benign -- Peace, Peruvian, and Calla -- there are some very dangerous, potentially fatal, true lilies to watch out for. These include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show lilies.

Lilies are HIGHLY toxic to cats. Ingestion of just 2-3 petals or leaves can result in kidney failure. If you spot your cat eating any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) to your veterinarian immediately!

8. Oleander

Ingestion of oleander, an outdoor shrub, may cause severe vomiting, slow heart rate, and possibly death.

9. Sago Palm

All parts of the sago palm, a household and outdoor palm plant, are toxic. The seeds are the most toxic part. Ingestion may result in an upset stomach followed by central nervous system signs and liver failure.

10. Tulips & Hyacinths

The toxic part of tulips and hyacinths are the bulbs -- don't let your dog dig them up! Ingestion causes tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Large ingestions may cause more severe issues, such as changes in heart rate and respiration.

If you’re like me, however, you have no idea what many plants are called. Therefore, if you are ever concerned your pet may have grazed on the wrong plant, take a photograph of the plant and bring it and your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Together with the help of the Pet Poison Hotline or ASPCA, the plant can be identified and appropriate therapy, if needed, be administered.

Please note that this list is not all inclusive. Additional pet toxins can be found at www.PetPoisonHelpline.com or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) website.

Dieffenbachia Photo Credit: Dieffenbachia cv. 'Bausei' by Jerzy Opioła