Some of the flowers and plants growing in your garden or blooming in your vases could cause serious harm to your pet. It is important for all dog and cat owners to be extra vigilant about keeping dangerous plants out of their homes and gardens. Here are a few plants that you need to be aware of:
You may be tempted to decorate your home with a beautiful bouquet of lilies, but doing so could spell trouble for your cat. Members of the true lily (Lilium) and day lily (Hemerocallis) families have been shown to cause acute kidney failure in felines. Cats often vomit within a few hours of exposure and become lethargic.
These plants contain lycorine and other alkaloids that can be poisonous for dogs and cats. The toxins are mostly in the plant’s bulb and, if ingested, can lead to vomiting, salivation and diarrhea. If your animal ingests large amounts of the plant, signs of toxicity may include cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), convulsions/tremors and low blood pressure.
Sago palms (Cycads, Macrozamia and Zamia spp.) are often outdoor ornamental plants in warm climates or houseplants in cooler climes. Ingestion of this highly toxic plant can cause liver failure and death in dogs and cats. All parts of the plant are toxic, with the seeds having the highest concentration of toxin. All it takes is one to two seeds to cause clinical signs and possibly death in a dog. Vomiting usually begins within 24 hours, and animals may eventually become depressed and start to seizure. This plant is one of the most toxic, with a mortality rate of around 50 percent.
Most of the toxins in tulips (Liliaceae spp.) are concentrated in the bulbs, so if your dog is a digger or your cat frequents your flower beds, you should be especially cautious about keeping this flower out of your garden. Signs of toxicity can include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling and depression.
You may dream of frolicking through a meadow of buttercups (Ranunculus spp.) with your dog or cat, but should your animal nibble on this flower, it could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, excessive salivation and a drunken gait.
If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested a toxic plant, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435 and contact your Stafford Animal Hospital Veterinarian at 540-659-3811. It’s always better to be safe then sorry!