Plant Your Garden Well–Be Wary of Plants that are Poisonous to Your Pets

Spring and summer are such great seasons. You get to spend more time outdoors with your pets. Plants dress up your yard and garden–adding wonderful colors and smells to your outdoor living.

When choosing plants, it’s important to know which ones could harm your pets.

Here’s a list of the Top 20 Common Plants that could harm your pets:

Amaryllis is toxic to dogs and cats

Amaryllis is dangerous to cats and dogs and contains toxins that cause abdominal pain, anorexia, depression, diarrhea, hypersalivation, tremors and vomiting.

Autumn Crocus affects all animals and can result in bloody vomiting, bone marrow suppression, diarrhea, multi-organ damage, oral irritation and shock.

Azalea/Rhododendron affects all animals causing depression of the central nervous system, diarrhea, drooling, vomiting and weakness. The grayantoxins in this plant can cause severe poisoning that leads to cardiovascular disease that can lead to coma and death.

Castor Bean contains ricin which is a highly toxic protein. Ricin can cause abdominal pain, loss of appetite, drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, weakness. Severe poisoning can result in muscle twitching, dehydration, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

Chrysanthemum blooms contain pyrethrins which can cause diarrhea, drooling, gastrointestinal upset and vomiting. Sometimes, if the dog or cat eats sufficient amounts of any part of the plant, loss of coordination and depression may develop.

Cyclamen contains the toxin cyclamine with the highest concentration occurring in the roots of the plant. Ingestion by dogs and cats can cause intense vomiting and gastrointestinal irritation. There have been deaths reported due to Cyclamen poisoning.

English Ivy (branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy, California ivy, Hedera helix) affects all animals. Eating the triterpenoid saponins in this plant can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, drooling and vomiting.

Foxglove is toxic to all animals. The cardiac glycosides can cause heart arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, and even death.

Hibiscus or Rose of Sharon or Rose of China affects both dogs and cats causing vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and anorexia.

Hyacinth is toxic to dogs and cats. The Narcissus-like alkaloids can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis and allergic reactions. Bulbs contain highest amount of toxin.

Kalanchoe contains toxic Bufodienolides

Kalanchoe can affect both cats and dogs. The toxic Bufodienolides in this plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and rarely an abnormal heart rhythm.

Lilies are toxic to cats and cause kidney failure.

Marijuana, Indian Hemp or Hashish is toxic to cats and dogs. The toxin is Delta-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which can cause prolonged depression, vomiting, incoordination, sleepiness or excitation, hypersalivaton, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizure, coma, and even rarely death.

Oleander contains cardiac glycosides that can cause colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbency, and possibly death from cardiac failure in dogs and cats.

Peace Lily or Mauna Loa Peace Lily is toxic to both dogs and cats. Insoluble calcium oxalates can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Taro Vine, Ivy Arum is toxic to both dogs and cats. Insoluble calcium oxalates in this vining plant can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Sago Palm is toxic to cats and dogs. Cycasin in this plant can cause vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure and even death.

Schefflera, Umbrella Tree, Australian Ivy Palm, Octopus Tree or Starleaf is toxic to both cats and dogs. Calcium oxalate crystals can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing.

The bulbs are the most toxic part of Tulips

Tulips are toxic to dogs and cats. The bulbs contain the highest concentration of Tulipalin A and B which can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea and hypersalivation.

Yew or Japanese Yew is toxic to dogs and cats. Taxine causes sudden death from acute cardiac failure, early signs — muscular tremors, dyspnea, seizures in dogs.

Although many of these plants are commonly found in your garden and home without harming your pet, it’s important to recognize the signs of poisoning. Young animals are more apt to chew on things that might harm them.

If you see that your plants have been damaged, and your pet is acting ill check to see if the plants are on this list or at the SPCA poison control website

Since some of these plants can be very dangerous, be sure to call your veterinarian if you suspect your pet of ingesting any toxic plants.

Cocoa Mulch is very toxic to dogs and cats. Because some brands of this mulch contain cocoa fat, and dogs are attracted to the chocolate smell, they will sometimes eat it. If you really want to use this type of mulch, be sure to get the brands that clean the cocoa fat (and the dangerous theobromine) out of it by non-chemical means.

Keep Unwanted Critters Away from Your Pet Door

You love it when your pets come and go through your pet doors. You know that they can find shelter when they want it and the great outdoors when they want some fresh air.

It can be a concern, however, when animals other than your own want to get into your home. Here are a few tips to keep wildlife wild and out of your home.

baby raccoon

Wildlife is fascinating, but it's best kept at a distance

  • Keep pet food and water away from your pet door—both inside and out. The smell of pet food will attract feral cats and raccoons, so feed and water your pets in the house as far as possible from the pet door.
  • If you feed wild birds and squirrels, put the feeder in a location away from your pet door. Because rodents are also attracted to the seeds and nuts and snakes are attracted to the rodents, discourage snakes by eliminating their food source.
  • Don’t give snakes a place to hide. Snakes like to settle under things. Don’t stack firewood or anything else near the house that they can crawl under to use as cover. Keep the grass cut short as snakes don’t like to be exposed.
  • Use naphthalene free snake repellent around your home. Naphthalene is hazardous to humans and animals, but there are other commercial snake repellents available.
  • Always clean up after a barbecue or backyard picnic. Raccoons are notorious garbage raiders, so keep tight lids on trash cans and fasten them to the cans with bungee cords, wire or twine.

It’s important to keep wild animals and feral cats away from your pets. According to the CDC raccoons have the highest incidence of rabies in wild animals with bats and skunks second and third. You can vaccinate your pets for the rabies virus, but you don’t want to take a chance of attracting these animals to your home.

Have you tried any repellents for snakes or skunks or raccoons? How did they work?

Plan to Take Your Animals with You in Case of Emergency

Take your best friends with you if you evacuate

Make an Emergency Disaster Plan for Yourself and Your Animals

After the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding where many animals were abandoned or people put their lives in danger to stay behind to care for them, FEMA declared Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.

Take some time and make a plan to care for your animals in case of fire, tornado, flood, hurricane or earthquake.

  • Create an exit plan. Because emergency shelters often won’t take animals, find pet friendly motels or boarding facilities both nearby and outside of the immediate vicinity.
  • Keep crates, leashes and medications available and ready to go.
  • Make sure your pets have ID tags securely fastened to their collars or are micro-chipped in case you get separated.
  • Take favorite blankets, toys, food and water bowls with enough food for a week.
  • Put small animals in carriers or your dogs on a leash. In all the confusion of moving quickly away from danger, animals can spook and get separated from you.
  • If you live in an area of severe weather events keep a weather radio handy. When severe weather threatens, keep your animals confined in case you have to evacuate.
  • Share your plan with the whole family. Practice the plan so everyone knows their responsibilities, and everyone can get out safely and quickly.

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What plans do you have in place in case of emergency evacuation?