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Common Plants That Are Toxic to Pets

Curious cats and dogs will often nibble or devour plant leaves, stems, and even roots. Most plants will only cause a brief bout of upset stomach. However, there are some plants that are toxic to pets. If your pet eats a toxic plant, a little bite can lead to a severe emergency.

At Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, we often see plant toxicity cases. Here is a list of the most common types of toxic plants:

LILIES

Symptoms: Kidney injury, vomiting, anorexia, drooling, and lethargy.

True lilies (Day, Tiger, Easter, Asiatic, Japanese Show) are highly toxic to cats. Every part of this plant is toxic, including the pollen and the lily’s water dish. If eaten, lilies can cause life-threatening kidney damage. Prompt treatment is necessary to allow or the best possible outcome. If you own a cat, DO NOT bring lilies into your house or place in your garden. Never send floral arrangements containing lilies to your cat-owner friends. To learn more about lily toxicity, click here.

Tulips and Daffodils 

Symptoms: Severe vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, neurological abnormalities, and cardiac arrhythmia.

Tulips and Daffodils, especially the bulbs, contain toxins. Don’t plant these bulbs in areas where your Labrador may dig them up for an after-dinner snack.

SAGO PALM

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), and severe lethargy.

This beautiful palm plant is becoming a popular household plant in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it is toxic to both cats and dogs. The toxin in the plant leads to liver damage, and in some cases, liver failure. Do not bring this plant into your home! Consider a nice, tropical vacation if you want to see some palms!

Oleander

Symptoms: Slow heart rate and severe vomiting.

The Nerium or Oleander plant is a small shrub or tree in the dogbane family. This plant is used in landscaping for its beautiful flowers. These same flowers (along with the leaves) contain toxins. Cross this plant off of the backyard landscaping list.

LILY OF THE VALLEY

Symptoms: Slow heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

Lily of the Valley is another landscaping plant that has shoots of small flowers. This plant contains over 30 different cardiac glycosides. Cross this one off the backyard landscaping list too.

GARDEN PLANTS

Symptoms: Vomiting and diarrhea.

Keep dogs and cats away from your vegetable garden. While many veggies are safe for your pets, onions and garlic are not. It’s important to note that if your cat eats onion or garlic, it can lead to red blood cell destruction. This causes significant anemia. Dogs are more resistant but can still develop anemia if they ingest large enough amounts.

MUSHROOMS

Wild mushrooms often appear in our yards during the spring and summer. There are many species of mushrooms and each has its own toxic potential – divided into three types. All three types cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset, and that’s the only problem caused by the first type. The second type can also cause liver damage, and the third type can cause neurotoxicity. Inspect your yard and remove any mushrooms. Increase your fungus patrols in the days following rainstorms.

When purchasing plants or floral arrangements, keep your pets in mind. For ASPCA’s complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants, click here.

If you suspect that your pet ate any type of toxic plant, contact your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital. You may also contact the ASPCA Animal Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

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