If you plan to spruce up your yard this spring, and you have a pet that likes to spend time outdoors, you should take care to avoid certain plants which can be toxic when ingested. The ASPCA estimates that there are over 700 species of plants which are toxic to pets. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the reaction to toxicity ranges from mild discomfort to life-threatening, depending on factors such as the species of plant, the amount ingested, and type of animal which was exposed. Here is a list of the most common plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. For a more exhaustive list, or to search for a particular plant, please visit the ASPCA Toxic Plant Gallery List.
Daffodils – Daffodils are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. They are usually yellow or white, but some varieties are also orange and pink. The most toxic part of the plant is the bulb, but the petals can also make your pet sick. The most common symptoms are vomiting, extreme salivation, diarrhea, and tremors.
Hibiscus – Hibiscuses are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. They are tropical flowering plants which come in a wide range of colors. The element that makes the plant toxic to pets is unknown, but symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and anorexia.
Aloe Vera – Aloe is toxic to cats and dogs. It is a succulent plant species which has soothing and healing properties. Symptoms to look for are vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, and a change in urine color.
Tulips – Tulips are toxic to cats and dogs. They are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. There are about 75 species of tulips which come in a wide range of colors. The bulb contains the highest concentration of toxins, but the plant itself can also make your pet sick. Symptoms include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, hypersalivation.
Cycads (sago palms) – Cycads are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. They have a stout and woody trunk with a crown of large evergreen leaves. All parts of the plant are highly toxic to pets. Symptoms include vomiting, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, and even death.
Ivies – English Ivies and Devils Ivy are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. They are evergreen climbing or ground-creeping plants which are primarily used as ground cover. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and diarrhea.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the plants listed above, call your veterinarian immediately!! Do not wait to see if symptoms appear, because in some cases of poisoning, by the time symptoms appear it is too late to save the animal. If you are unsure what your pet has ingested, you can contact the Animal Poison Control Center Hotline 24/7 or search their pet poison list.
Yard Maintenance Products
Most common yard maintenance products such as fertilizer, mulch, insecticides, and herbicides are highly toxic to our pets and children. Luckily, there are many nontoxic organic alternatives on the market. For example, EcoSmart, Espoma, and Safer are brands which specialize in organic gardening supplies. These brands and many others can be found in stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Target, and Walmart. If your pet spends a significant amount of time outdoors, it is recommended you use an organic option when possible. Eco-friendly products are just as effective and your furry friend will be safe.
- Pet Poison Safety Kit
- ASPCA Guide to Pet-safe Gardening
- Household Hazard Pamphlet
- Spring Toxins Overview PDF