House plants provide us with beauty and enjoyment, but some can also cause major problems for your pets.
According to Dr. William Buck, director of the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, “a lot of ornamental plants have irritating sap that will cause an animal to salivate or maybe vomit and have diarrhea.”
He says that plants like the hibiscus and those in the Easter lily family, which are not toxic to people, may be very harmful to pets. Two or three days after cats have eaten a few leaves of a Tiger lily or Easter lily, they will go into renal failure. After ingesting hibiscus, a dog will vomit persistently, may vomit blood and have bloody diarrhea. “The loss of body fluid may be severe enough to be lethal in some cases,” Dr. Buck cautions.
Holly berries are another plant that is generally toxic to pets. Just a few berries ingested by
a pet will cause it to vomit, have diarrhea, and become generally depressed. Mistletoe also causes digestive system upset as well as irregular heartbeats and possibly cardiac shock. Azalea plants are very toxic to sheep and goats, but are not common problems in cats or dogs.
Plants in the nightshade family, such as European bittersweet and black nightshade, are more erratic in their toxicity. In some individual animals it may cause digestive problems, confusion, weakness, sleepiness, depression, and decreased heart rate, but plants of the nightshade family don’t affect all animals alike. Common houseplants, like philodendron and dieffenbachia (dumb cane) contain oxalate crystals that cause the animal’s mucous membranes to swell, making the animal unable to eat.
“Although catnip isn’t generally toxic to pets, owners should guard against giving too much of the fresh plant to cats. This plant causes hyper-stimulation to the central nervous system and the cat can injure itself,” notes Dr. Buck. However, the dried form usually won’t cause problems for your pet.
Cats may chew on plants as a form of entertainment if they are bored. One safe release for their boredom is to plant lawn grass in a pot for them. The grass isn’t harmful, and cats may also enjoy digging in the dirt. Dr. Buck recommends covering the soil of other houseplants with aluminum foil to keep the animal from digging in it and decrease the likelihood of the pet eating the plant.
If your pet does eat something that is poisonous, you should call your veterinarian. You may also want to call the NAPCC at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. This center is a 24-hour, animal-based poison service.
“Many times an animal’s system will react differently to substances than a human’s will to
that same substance. That is why it is important for the owner and the veterinarian to contact the NAPCC in case of an animal poisoning,” explains Dr. Buck. The NAPCC is accumulating a large database that will aid owners and their veterinarians in treating animal poisonings.
Article Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
By Linda March ~ Information Specialist
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the premier animal-oriented poison control center in North America. So it’s the best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Make the call that can make all the difference: (888) 426-4435.
Here’s the listing of poisonous plants by common name
Bulbs: Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Daffodil, Day Lily, Elephant Ears, Gladiolas, Hyacinth, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, Orange Day Lily, Tulip
Ferns: Aparagus Fern, Australian Nut, Emerald Feather (aka Emerald Fern), Emerald Fern (aka Emerald Feather), Lace Fern, Plumosa Fern
Flowering Plants: Cyclamen, Hydrangea, Kalanchoe, Poinsettia
Garden Perennials: Charming Diffenbachia, Christmas Rose, Flamingo Plant, Foxglove, Marijuana, Morning Glory, Nightshade, Onion, Tomato Plant, Tropic Snow Dumbcane
House Plants: Ceriman (aka Cutleaf Philodendron), Chinese Evergreen, Cordatum, Corn Plant (aka Cornstalk Plant), Cutleaf Philodendron (aka Ceriman), Devil’s Ivy, Dumb Cane, Golden Pothos, Green Gold Nephthysis, Marble Queen, Mauna Loa Peace Lily, Nephthytis, Peace Lily, Red-Margined Dracaena, Striped Dracaena, Taro Vine, Warneckei Dracaena
Lillies: Asian Lily (liliaceae), Easter Lily, Glory Lily, Japanese Show Lily, Red Lily, Rubrum Lily, Stargazer Lily, Tiger Lily, Wood Lily
Shrubs: Cycads, Heavenly Bamboo, Holly, Jerusalem Cherry, Mistletoe “American”, Oleander, Precatory Bean, Rhododendron, Saddle Leaf Philodendron, Sago Palm, Tree Philodendron, Yucca
Succulents: Aloe (Aloe Vera)
Trees: Avocado, Buddist Pine, Chinaberry Tree, Japanese Yew (aka Yew), Lacy Tree, Macadamia Nut, Madagascar Dragon Tree, Queensland Nut, Schefflera, Yew (aka Japanese Yew)
Vines: Branching Ivy, English Ivy, European Bittersweet, Glacier Ivy, Hahn’s self branching English Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy
Misc/Uncategorized: American Bittersweet, Andromeda Japonica, Azalea, Bird of Paradise, Buckeye, Caladium hortulanum, Calla Lily, Castor Bean, Clematis, Fiddle-Leaf Philodendron, Florida Beauty, Fruit Salad Plant, Golden Dieffenbachia, Gold Dust Dracaena, Heartleaf Philodendron, Horsehead Philodendron, Hurricane Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Mother-in-law, Panda, Philodendron Pertusum, Red Emerald, Red Princess, Ribbon Plant, Satin Pothos, Spotted Dumb Cane, Sweetheart Ivy, Swiss Cheese Plant, Variable Dieffenbachia, Variegated Philodendron, Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow