As pet owners, we want our furry friends to live long, healthy and happy lives. To ensure that happens, we feed them the best food we can afford, we take them to regular vet visits, we play with them, and we love them unconditionally.
However, many people aren't aware that there are more than 700 types of plants that are toxic to our pets, and many of them can be found in and around our homes.
Here is a list of the most common plants that are toxic to pets.
1. Aloe Vera
This succulent is a popular houseplant because of its medicinal uses, particularly for helping heal burns. Unfortunately, it's highly toxic to household animals. The gel inside isn't harmful, but there is a layer of yellow juice just below the outer skin of the leafy parts that contains a natural chemical called aloin. Aloin is can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even tremors in cats and dogs when ingested.
This flowering shrub is harmful to both cats and dogs if it is ingested. Grayantoxin is the poisonous element in the azalea plant; it disrupts nerve and muscle function. If your pet consumes any part of the azalea plant, symptoms can range from vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, depression, cardiovascular collapse, and even death in some cases.
3. English Ivy
English ivy is a very common houseplant because of how decorative it is, but it is toxic to cats and dogs if they eat it. These pretty vines contain triterpenoid saponins and polyacetylene compounds. Although sometimes these compounds aren't highly toxic, the ones that are can be very dangerous when consumed. If your cat or dog chews on or swallows English ivy, it could cause excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.
These beautiful flowers are popular in gardens and as bouquets, but some of them are extremely toxic. The lilies that are toxic include tiger, day, Easter, Asiatic hybrid, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies. All of these are highly toxic to cats; even the tiniest ingestion amount can cause severe, acute kidney failure. In fact, they are so toxic that even consuming 2-3 petals or leaves, the pollen, or water from the vase can harm your cat. Common signs to look out for include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, seizures, and loss of appetite.
Poinsettias are most commonly known as a Christmas plant. Because they are super popular around the holidays, it's a good idea to know that they are toxic to cats and dogs, even if only mildly. Poinsettias have a milky sap that can irritate your pet's skin, causing redness, swelling, and inching. If consumed, poinsettias can cause vomiting, drooling, and diarrhea.
As far as tulips go, the toxic principle is more concentrated in the bulbs than in the leaves or flowers. As we all know, dogs love digging, but if they eat enough tulip bulbs, they can get seriously poisoned. Tulips bulbs are also poisonous to cats, though cats aren't as likely to dig them up. Common signs to look for include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing.
7. Sago Palms
Sago palms are tropical plants but also can commonly be found indoors as houseplants. All parts of this plant are considered poisonous to cats and dogs, but the seeds are the most poisonous. Ingestion can result in drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. This can happen within 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion. It can also affect the central nervous system, with signs including weakness, seizures, and tremors; even liver failure can be seen within two to three days later.
Hydrangea flowers come in many colors like pink, blue, purple, and white, and they are very beautiful. Don't let that fool you, because they're also toxic to pets when ingested and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
Oleander shrubs are usually found in warm locations like Hawaii, California, and Texas, but they are also poisonous to multiple animals including cats, dogs, horses, cattle, and even humans. Every part of this plant is toxic, containing naturally-occurring poisons that affect the heart. Side effects of consuming oleanders include drooling, nausea, vomiting, abnormal heart rate, weakness, tremors, seizures, and death.
This popular houseplant contains insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate called raphites. If your cat or dog bites into this plant, the crystals will be released and will penetrate tissue causing injury. The signs are immediate and include pawing at the face, drooling, foaming, and vomiting. Your pet's face may swell, making it difficult for them to breathe or swallow.
11. Dieffenbachia (Dumb Canes)
Dieffenbachia is another common indoor plant that is also toxic to animals. Its toxic properties are similar to the philodendron plant, because it also has insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate called raphites. The symptoms are exactly the same as well when it is ingested.
Warning: If you think your pet has consumed any of these, it's important to seek medical help immediately.