Pets and Plants: Keeping Your Furry Loved Ones Safe

pets and plantsWhether you’re an avid gardener or simply enjoy keeping a houseplant or two, there’s good reason to be concerned about pets and plants. According to recent statistics, 25% of the total pet poisoning cases each year are caused by ingestion of a toxic plant.

There are currently more than 700 plants identified that produce compounds that can be toxic to pets, with effects ranging from mild stomach upset to death. Greenery can be tempting to dogs, cats, and other pets, making it of vital importance to identify and remove any potentially toxic plants from your pet’s environment.

Pets and Plants: Top Toxins

The Humane Society of the United States has compiled a list of all of the plants that are toxic to pets. Some of the worst offenders include:

  • Lilies (Day, Calla, Easter, etc. are all toxic to cats, and even a small amount can be fatal)
  • Yew
  • Amaryllis
  • Daffodil
  • Ivy
  • Philodendron
  • Hyacinth
  • Aloe vera
  • Mistletoe
  • Crocus
  • Sago palm (extremely toxic, can cause liver failure)
  • Corn plant
  • Dieffenbachia (also called Dumb Cane)
  • Pothos

If growing vegetables is your thing, keep in mind that several popular garden items can pose a danger to your pet, such as:

  • Tomatoes (leaves and immature fruits)
  • Rhubarb (leaves)
  • Garlic and onion
  • Cocoa mulch, compost, and other soil amenders (not plants, but can include compounds that are toxic to pets)

Responding to a Pet Emergency

The symptoms of plant poisoning vary, but common behaviors include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive salivation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors or convulsions

If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, or you suspect they have ingested a toxic substance, give us a call for emergency assistance or bring your pet to see us immediately. Heart of Texas is open 24/7 and fully staffed to meet your pet’s emergency needs.

Protecting Your Pet

Even if you make sure that all the plants in your home, garden, and lawn are perfectly pet-safe (and you should!), tummy troubles can still occur if your furry friend decides to sample your greenery. To avoid emergencies and ailments, take the following precautions with pets and plants:

  • Make sure that your pet can’t access any plants in your home. This can be accomplished with the creative use of hanging baskets or high shelves, or by dedicating one room in your home to plants, and keeping it off-limits to pets.
  • Provide cat grass for your kitty’s nibbling pleasure. This can be purchased pre-grown at most garden supply stores, or is easily cultivated at home.
  • Supervise your pet when visiting other people’s homes and when outdoors.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Heart of Texas with your questions about plants and pets!