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Plants Poisonous to Dogs & Cats

Protecting your Pet from Harmful Substances

Spring Has Sprung...

The gardens, flower beds and trees are in full bloom, but did you know that behind all the pretty colours there could be danger lurking for your cat or dog?

When it comes to deciding which plants to put in your garden, or even a pot/vase in the house, do check first to make sure it isn't toxic to your pets.

The Common Signs of Poisoning:

  • Oral irritation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Depressed behaviour
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry mouth and/or eyes
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • High heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Stiffness
  • Blood in stool or vomit
  • Increased thirst

If your pet shows any sign of the above signs, then contact your veterinary surgeon immediately.

Plants & Flowers Harmful to Your Pet's Health

Tomato Plants

These are commonly grown in allotments and gardens; whilst dogs aren’t affected by the ripe red fruit, did you know that the leaves and vines can be incredibly toxic to dogs and cats?

The green parts of tomatoes, including stems and vines, as well as un-ripe tomatoes, contain a toxin called solanine. Generally, they have small amounts of solanine that won’t harm dogs. However, when eaten in large quantities, they can cause problems.

The most common sign of tomato poisoning in pets is gastrointestinal upset, but they may also suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, confusion, an abnormal heart rate and other symptoms. If you see signs of tomato poisoning in your pet, get to the vet ASAP.

Daffodils

The toxic compounds in daffodils are called glycosides and alkaloids and they are present in all parts of the plant but are most concentrated in the bulbs – this is bad news for dogs who enjoy digging up flower beds! Cats are also known to dig up flower beds to foul potentially leaving the bulbs exposed, so do keep an eye and make sure your garden is well maintained.

Eating daffodils can cause irritation to the stomach resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea with abdominal pain and lethargy. You may also notice your dog starting to drool more than usual. These signs can occur very quickly after ingestion, normally within two hours. Dogs and cats usually recover within 12-48 hours but this can be longer in severe cases (although they are rare in our experience).

If skin comes into contact with the sap of the bulbs and stems this can also be a problem. It causes irritation called ‘daffodil itch’ resulting in itchiness and redness of the skin but it is much more common in people who are regular gardeners than it is in pets.

The severity of the signs your pet shows will depend on which part of the plant has been eaten and the quantity. If several bulbs have been ingested then this will be a greater problem particularly in smaller dogs and cats – contact your vet for advice if you suspect daffodil bulbs have been ingested.

Autumn Crocus

Not to be confused with the Spring crocus (although this can still cause gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting and diarrhoea) – All parts of the Autumn Crocus are toxic and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, seizures and in some cases, death.

Lilies

Every part of a lily is toxic to cats (and some kinds are also toxic to dogs!)

The primary toxic effects are on the kidneys. Within minutes to hours of ingesting part of the lily plant, your cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. As the toxin begins to affect the kidneys, these signs continue and worsen as the kidney damage progresses. Without prompt and proper treatment by a veterinarian, the cat may develop kidney failure in approximately 36-72 hours.

If you see a cat eating lilies, contact a veterinarian immediately. If emergency treatment is begun within 6 hours of consumption, the chances are good that the cat will recover.

Prevention? Unfortunately, the only way to prevent your cat from eating lilies, and to ensure they're don't suffer any of these effects is simply not to have lily plants in your home.

Tulips

These are members of the lily family and harmful to cats and dogs.

Potato Plants

It is becoming increasingly popular now for people to grow their own veg – potato plants including leaves and growing potatoes are toxic to dogs if they eat them.

Azaleas

This beautiful type of rhododendron contains a substance called grayanotoxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even blindness and coma in dogs and cats.

Hyacinths

If chewed, the bulbs, flowers and leaves can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Cyclamen

While several parts of this plant are poisonous to cats and dogs, it is the root which is especially dangerous. Keeping cyclamen as a house plant and out of reach of your pets should mean you are unlikely to experience any problems, but if your pet is able to dig up the root in the garden and take a few nibbles, severe reactions and even death is highly probable.

Hydrangea

These pretty shrubs are a popular choice as a garden plant. Despite their appeal, the bulbs contain cyanide that can be toxic to humans as well as dogs and cats.

Sweet Pea

This very pretty and hugely popular plant normally blooms in the springtime. The entire plant can be poisonous to cats and dogs and reactions can be severe; so a quick visit to the vet is essential if the plant is eaten.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb leaves are toxic to dogs and cats whether they are consumed cooked or raw.

Whilst this list is not exhaustive, we hope that you have found it helpful in keeping your furry friend safe around your indoor and outdoor plants. Please feel free to download the PDF by clicking the link above which will allow you to acquaint yourself with how the names and pictures of poisonous plants.

We would also like to recommend a very good blog on 9 common causes of diarrhoea and when you should be concerned by Your Dog Adviser. Please do take a look at this brilliant article!

Happy Gardening

TEAM GR

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