With summer in full effect, you will likely be spending most of your time having fun with your pet outside—whether in your backyard, taking them for a stroll through the neighborhood, or taking them to new and exciting places.
However, as your furry friend spends more time outside, pet owners must take proper precautions regarding plants and flowers. Yes, you heard right! Summer with your pet comes with its own unique dangers—not only do you need to make sure your pet is staying safe from the summer heat, but you will also need to keep them safe from typical household, garden, and wild plants that would be very toxic for your pet if ingested or touched.
Plants and flowers are a great way of keeping your place looking lively and feeling refreshing. Whether you keep some in your living room or on window sills, they are a great addition to your home and add a touch of nature. So, if you’re a pet owner who loves gardening and keeps beautiful plants decorating the inside and outside of your house, this is important for you!
Pet parents should consider the types of flowers and plants that would be safe to keep in their house and plant in their garden. Before purchasing or planting any flowers or plants, pet owners should familiarize themselves with the ones that can be harmful to their furry friends in order to keep them safe.
If you have any of these plants in your home or garden, you can choose to either get rid of them or monitor your pet closely and take immediate action if you suspect they have eaten any part of the plant. Always pay attention to your pet’s health and behavior and promptly seek medical attention from their vet or poison control when needed.
Have you ever seen a lily in full bloom? These stunning flowers come in various colors like red, orange, yellow, pink, and white and have historical and cultural significance worldwide. They are also widely known for their large, eye-catching flowers, and some plant varieties have a pleasant fragrance! However, as pretty as these flowers are, it is important to be aware that certain types can be harmful to pets, so caution is advised.
Let’s discuss it below!
The entirety of Lily plants in the “true lily” and “daylily” families are poisonous to cats, including the stem, leaves, flowers—and even the water in a vase if you have them as a tabletop arrangement. Unlike dogs, daylilies are highly toxic for cats, and even the smallest amount of consumption can lead to an array of problems for your furry friend. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, such as vomiting, loss of appetite, kidney and liver failure, dehydration, hiding, rapid/irregular heartbeat, and more.
Though Daylilies are non-toxic to dogs, they can still cause mild gastrointestinal upset or other reactions. There are many variations of lily plants, so it may be challenging to know which are dangerous and which are relatively benign. If you plan on enjoying these lovely flowers in your home, keep them out of your pets reach!
Lily of the Valley
As opposed to daylilies which are mostly toxic for cats, lily-of-the-valley are extremely toxic to both dogs and cats, and consuming any part of the plant such as the leaves, flower, or root can be poisonous and harmful—even to children! This plant contains cardiac glycosides which are gastrointestinal irritants that can adversely affect your pet in different ways, such as slowing their heart rate, seizures, severe arrhythmias, diarrhea, weakness, and more.
So if you're a pet owner who wants to enjoy the beauty of these flowers, it's important to think twice before planting them in your garden or bringing them inside your home.
Considered one of the earliest signs of spring's arrival, daffodils—a vibrant, cheerful, and fragrant (depending on the variety) flower—are among the first and most popular flowers to emerge and blossom during spring. With their bright and sunny yellow petals and trumpet-shaped center, they are a symbol of hope, rebirth, and new beginnings for many. Though ubiquitous in the spring, daffodils can last and are visible in the summer.
However, despite its beauty, these flowers are very toxic to pets! If your pet ingests any part of the daffodil plant, particularly the bulb, it may experience gastrointestinal issues because it contains a poisonous alkaloid called "lycorine." The crystals in the flower's bulb can cause serious health issues such as vomiting, tremors, excessive salivation, breathing difficulties, seizures, heart complications, and more.
Morning glory plants are alluring flowering vines that produce trumpet-shaped flowers in a range of colors, including blue, purple, white, red, and pink. True to its name, these plants open up in the morning and close in the afternoon, requiring sunlight to thrive and bloom to their fullest potential.
It's worth noting that some species of morning glory plants have seeds that contain lysergic acid, a compound that shares similarities with natural LSD, albeit with less potency. This substance can be harmful to both dogs and cats. If your furry friend happens to consume the seeds or root of this plant, it can lead to a range of symptoms, including vomiting, lethargy, lack of coordination, disorientation, hallucination, agitation, and more. Moreover, consuming substantial amounts of these seeds may result in severe health issues such as liver or kidney failure.
Oleander is an outdoor evergreen shrub commonly seen along highways and used in many gardens and landscapes. Popular for its varied colors and delicate flowers, oleanders bloom from spring to fall and are very heat and drought-tolerant. But beware—all parts of the oleander plant are highly toxic to pets and humans! It contains multiple naturally occurring poisonous compounds in a group called cardiac glycoside toxins. These toxins affect pets' gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurologic systems, and even small ingestion of this plant can be fatal. Signs of poisoning include colic, lethargy, excessive drooling, depression, abnormal heart rate, vomiting, seizures, tremors, death, and more.
If you let your pets outside, make sure to keep an eye on them and avoid letting them near any areas where oleanders could be growing. When walking your dog, please keep them on a leash and be sure they are not chewing on any plants they come across. While oleanders may be pretty, they sure are poisonous!
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Brunfelsia)
Often called the “Lady of the Night” or the “Noon and Night” plant, this gorgeous flower offers a fascinating display of color as it blooms open purple and changes its color every day depending on how long it’s been open. From purple, the flower fades to turn lavender and then to white as it matures. Not to mention, it has a delightful fragrance throughout its entire blooming season!
Despite its attractive appearance, this plant, like others on the list, can be harmful to your pets due to its toxins. Brunfelsia contains two toxins found in all parts of the plant, especially the berries where it's most potent—brunfelsamidine, a stimulant, and hopeanine, a depressant. Combined, these two toxins can cause your pet to fall seriously ill. If ingested, your pet may face symptoms like vomiting, anxiety, restlessness, tremors, seizures, incoordination, and death if left untreated.
Most of us are likely familiar with the aloe vera plant—a favorite among many people for its diverse uses. While some use it for its incredible skincare benefits, many others use it because it boasts a range of impressive medicinal properties. If you're anything like me, you might even use it for both! As beneficial as aloe vera is for us, it is the same for our pets—with caution!
The aloe vera plant's gel is safe for pets if applied topically; however, do not let them ingest it, especially in large amounts. The aloe plant leaves contain saponin, glycosides, and other compounds that are mildly toxic to pets. If large amounts of the plant are consumed, your pet may experience mild to moderate symptoms such as dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, urinary changes, weight loss, depression, etc.
Azaleas are among the most popular gardening shrubs and a staple in many yards due to their wonderful fragrance and bright and beautiful flowers. Petals come in many colors ranging from bold reds and bright pink to yellow, purple, orange, or a combination of those colors. But don't let their beauty fool you! This plant's flower petals, stem, nectar, and leaves contain the poison grayanotoxin, a neurotoxin that affects your pet's sodium channels. In turn, this impacts their cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues. When ingested, symptoms include depression, abdominal pain, abnormal heart rate, diarrhea, weakness, temporary blindness, etc.
Sago palm is a popular landscaping shrub and houseplant. With its feathery foliage and appearance similar to a palm tree, this plant is easy to grow and care for. But, despite their pretty look, they are quite deadly for your four-legged pals. All parts of the sago palm plant are said to be highly toxic, especially the seeds. If consumed by your pet, it can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, blood clotting disorders, bruising, and more. Each year, according to the ASPCA, hundreds of calls are received from states all over the U.S. regarding the ingestion of sago palm-related plants, and 50% of reported ingestion cases end up fatal.
Castor bean—also known as castor oil— plants, are extremely common in landscaping around buildings and in some homes. Castor bean plants are highly desirable not only for their aesthetically pleasing appearance and towering height, but also for their numerous practical applications in various industries. These include jewelry making, cosmetics, medicine, and more! You can even find them as decorative plants in gardens and parks.
However, the raw seeds of this plant are toxic for your pets if consumed due to the high presence of the toxin ricin—one of the most deadliest and potent poison in the world. If the seed is chewed, the toxin is released from the shell and ingestion of even one ounce is enough to be lethal for your pet. According to the ASPCA, abdominal pain, nausea, sweating, fever, convulsions, kidney failure, excessive thirst, muscle twitching, loss of appetite, and more are symptoms of poisoning. In severe cases, it can lead your pet into a coma or even death.
Yew is another common evergreen shrub that is extremely toxic to animals and humans alike. It is a mainstay in landscaping and remains a luscious green all-year round with seasonal red berries. Consumption of its berries, cones, or a nibble on any part of the tree can be fatal for your furry best friend as it contains a toxic compound known as taxine—an alkaloid that can make them fall ill. Their central nervous system can be affected if they ingest any part of the tree, and it can cause difficulty breathing, dehydration, abdominal pain, vomiting, dilated pupils, drooling, and more.
To ensure your pets' safety, removing any yew plants you may have is essential. Don't take any chances when it comes to the well-being of your beloved furry companions!