Plants Toxic to Animals

7 Plants That are Toxic to Animals

Our pets are not just pets to us, but they are our loyal companions, our friends and most importantly, an important part of our family. So, we don’t leave any stone unturned to keep them healthy and happy. However, all the joy that we are spreading around them may unknowingly do them more harm than good. For example, many plants that we humans think are harmless can actually put our furry friends in trouble. In fact, it has been found that there are hundreds of plant species that can be poisonous to pets, and, unfortunately, many of these species can be easily found in and around homes. Hence, it becomes important to identify which plants are safe for your pets and which don’t, so you can protect your own guardians and the best friends.

While there are several plants to watch out for, following is a list of 7 common plants that are considered toxic to animals:

  1. Crocus: There are two Crocus plants: Crocus species (blooms in the spring) and the Colchicum autumnale (blooms in the autumn). The spring crocus is more commonly found and is known for causing general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea in pets if ingested. Autumn Crocus, on the other hand, is extremely toxic. It contains colchicine which is known for causing severe vomiting, diarrhea, intense burning sensation in the mouth, seizures, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, heart arrhythmias and even respiratory failure. Although the entire plant is harmful to pets, the majority of toxicity is present in the bulbs.
  2. Azalea: Azalea is not only harmful to cats and dogs but it can also cause toxicity in sheep, horses and goats. Ingestion of just a few leaves of Azaleas can cause serious health effects such as oral irritation followed by vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, leg paralysis, weak heart rate, loss of coordination, drop in blood pressure, coma, and even death.
  3. Daffodils: Daffodil is a common household plant that is extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Although the entire plant is considered poisonous, the bulbs are considered the most toxic of all. The flowers of Daffodil contain lycorine, which is known for causing extreme bouts of vomiting. Some other consequences of ingesting Daffodil plant include abdominal pain, diarrhea, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias, and a serious drop in blood pressure.
  4. Lilies: No matter how pretty Lily looks, it is definitely not pet-friendly. Although all flowers in the lily family are toxic, Easter and stargazer lilies are especially harmful. In fact, these are among the most dangerous plants for dogs and cats to eat. Some of the allergic toxic reactions associated with the ingestion of lily include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and lack of appetite. Other severe symptoms include a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Peace Lily is known for causing tongue irritation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing or increased salivation in dogs and cats.
  5. Tulips: Tulips contain allergenic lactones that are mostly concentrated in the bulbs of the plant, rather than the leaf or flower. When chewed or ingested, the plant parts or bulbs can cause tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling. Depending on the amount consumed, more severe symptoms can occur such as an increase in heart rate and changes in respiration.
  6. Sago Palm: Sago Palm is a common household and outdoor plant that is commonly found in regions with warmer climates. Although it enhances the beauty of your homes by serving as a popular bonsai, it is, unfortunately, extremely poisonous to pets due to the presence of Cycasin. If ingested, the leaves and seeds of this plant can cause serious health effects including bloody stools, vomiting, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver damage, liver failure, and even death in some cases.
  7. Oleander: Oleander is an outdoor shrub with delicate flowers. It is commonly used in landscaping because of its evergreen and ornamental qualities. However, both the leaves and flowers of this plant are known to be poisonous to pets such as dogs, cats and even horses. If ingested, they can cause a number of serious problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, colic, sweating, bloody stools, loss of coordination, respiratory problems, muscle tremors, recumbency, drop in heart rate and even death.

This is a partial list of plants that can be poisonous to pets. For the complete list, you can visit The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

What to do If You Suspect Poisoning

As soon you realize that your pet has consumed any of these toxic plants, bring it immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. Don’t do any DIY first aid unless instructed by your vet. The sooner you bring in your furry friend for medical attention, the better and more efficiently poisoning can be treated.