Pet Health: Cats, dogs and poisonous plants

Pet Health: Cats, dogs and poisonous plants

1. Lively indoor spaces usually contain indoor plants and flowers and this is where pets spend much of their time so it is important to know if the two do not go together. Cats and dogs are curious, exploratory, and can chew on and ingest ornamental household plants and flowers which in some cases can lead to illness or in the most serious cases, death.
Young or old, your dog and cat can be vulnerable, so it pays to check whether your household plant or bouquet of flowers is safe.

Symptoms

Symptoms of poisoning from plant and flower consumption may vary, however you may notice the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Depression or other abnormal behaviour
  • Fast or slow heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Stomach pains
  • Rashes
  • Mouth ulcers or swollen mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of or no appetite

Diagnosis and care

  • If you suspect that your pet has ingested a plant or flower and you are not sure if it is poisonous, or if they are displaying any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately for further advice and instructions as a first point of call.
  • Diagnosis by your vet relies upon accurate information provided by the owner and relevant blood testing. So, make sure to bring along a piece of the plant that your pet ingested.
  • Lilies need to be treated with particular care as they can be fatal to cats. If you suspect your cat has ingested any variety or part of the lily flower, which is life threatening, go to the vet immediately as they may suffer acute kidney failure. Time is of the essence.
  • Follow-up care plans will be advised by your veterinarian. Treatment usually involves inducing the animal to vomit up any pieces of toxic plant, blood testing to check kidney and liver parameters, hospitalisation and fluid therapy. The vet may send you home with medications and may want to do a follow up blood test a week or so later.

Some common poisonous plants and flowers include:

  • Amaryllis
  • Aloe
  • Apricot
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea & Rhododendron
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • English Ivy
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lilies
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily, Pothos, Schefflera
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulips & Narcissus Bulbs
  • Yew
  • View a full list of toxic plants here

List of safe household and garden plants and flowers

Click here to view ASPCA’s list of non-toxic plants and flowers.

Prevention

  • Before you purchase or display gifted flowers or plants, use the above resources to check if they are safe for your fur-babies.
  • Keep vases of flowers out of reach of dogs and cats, especially puppies and kittens who see most objects as a chewable toy.
  • If cats show interest in any household plants or flowers, remove them from the space altogether to err on the side of caution.
  • Ensure that there are chewable toys readily available for your pet to play with so curiosity does not get the better of them.
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