Aha, well, did you know that some plants are poisonous to pets? Heck, I was today years old when I learned this, and honestly, I only found out when I became a fur parent. As we see more and more people fill their homes with plants over the years, it’s easy to forget that some of these aesthetically pleasing additions double as poison-in-a-pot for our fur babies. It’s difficult to train our pets not to consume plants; they have a natural urge to chew on plants – my cat would spend hours nibbling on my plastic IKEA plant if I let him. And while not all plants are poisonous, some happen to be poisonous for cats, some for dogs and some for both. Some of the more common plants that are poisonous to pets to watch out for are:
While some species of lilies are more toxic than others, it’s always safer to keep the flowers – no matter what species they may be – away from your pets, especially your cat. Lilies in the “true lily” and “daylily” families are very dangerous for cats. The entire lily plant is toxic: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in a vase. The plans contain a toxic, yet to be formally identified chemical that can ultimately lead to severe kidney failure. Early signs of lily toxicity in cats include decreased activity level, drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Dogs that eat lilies may have minor stomach upset but they don’t develop kidney failure. Even the common houseplant, giant Dracaena or palm lily, are deemed dangerous.
2. Tulips and Hyacinths
As beautiful as tulips and hyacinths are, they do not have a place in your home if you have pets. Tulips contain allergenic lactones while hyacinths contain similar alkaloids. Ingestion of these flowers can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea (sometimes with blood), depression, excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, and tremors.
Although only mildly toxic, chrysanthemums can use adverse reactions in both cats and dogs – incoordination, hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhoea and a lack of appetite. The flower contains pyrethrins — one of the key ingredients in flea and tick medication – as well as sesquiterpene, lactones, and other potential irritants.
According to the ASPCA, eucalyptus is toxic to pets no matter if it’s in plant or essential oil form. That’s right, even eucalyptus in essential oils affect your pets! Pets who eat the leaves off this plant or accidentally consume the liquid may start pawing at the mouth (burning in the mouth) and may experience rapid or shallow breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea, or weakness. It is also a neurotoxin and can cause neurological symptoms as well, such as depression, confusion, and seizures.
5. Aloe Vera
You may love to reach for aloe vera but do keep in mind that the aloe vera plant contains glycosides, anthracene, and anthraquinones, toxic compounds that are poisonous to pets. The plant contains saponin, which is toxic to animals and children. Ingestion of aloe vera can cause excessive vomiting, severe diarrhoea, and low blood sugar.
And while these are technically not in pots, we have them in our kitchens:
Onions, Chives, and Garlic
Fur parents should never allow your cats or dogs near onions in any form – whether cooked or raw or even free-dried – as it can break down their red blood cells and lead to anaemia. Both garlic and chives share the same toxicity with onions, as all three contain the compounds disulfides and thiosulphates, which lead to the damaging of red blood cells.
If you’re unsure of whether or not your pet has ingested something hazardous, the Pet Poison Helpline website has a long list ( classified into categories like foods, fertilizers, herbals, household items and more). If you believe that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact either your preferred veterinarian or any of these vets open 24-hours or till late.
*Cover image credits: Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash / PETMD