Common Household Plants Which Can Cause Big Problems for Pets
Plants are a wonderful addition to our homes. They are not only beautiful, but research has shown that having plants around us is healthy and encourages a sense of well-being. However, a surprising number of common household plants and flowering plants are downright toxic to our four-legged friends. Some cause pretty severe digestive problems which translates into super major puking episodes, or worse (no fun) and others can have terrifying results such as tremors, seizures, lethargy, and can even be fatal. My cat Harlow is big on snacking on houseplants, flower arrangements, and pretty much whatever she can get her chubby little paws on, so we have to be very careful about what we bring home. She's a sneaky ninja about it too, so we're vigilant about making sure everything that comes in is safe for her to potentially ingest. Our lab Zoey, has not yet shown an interest in plants, but I'd hate to have her exposed to anything that could make her violently ill. The plants listed below are a few of the common ones, and later, you'll find great web resources for more exhaustive and comprehensive lists.
Daffodils*, Iris*, Hydrangea*, Poinsettia*, Philodendron, Marijuana*, Tulips, Peace Plants, Stargazer and Tiger Lillies, English Ivy*, Calla Lillies*, Chrysanthemum, Aloe, and Lilly of the Valley*.
*indicates plants which are known to be toxic to both dogs and cats
As far as cats go, potentially toxic plants include: Geranium, Impatiens, Morning Glory, Nutmeg, Potato, Sweet Pea, Tobacco, Wisteria, and Lilies. Lilies are particularly scary as they can cause renal failure in cats, and not a whole lot of exposure/consumption is needed to become acutely toxic. Researchers are still trying to figure out what is going on chemically that makes lilies so dangerous to cats.
Cats in the wild get nutrition from undigested plant matter in the bellies of their prey, so many inside cats turn to munching on plants to get some nutrients, and I'm guessing it can be pretty fun for them too, as many houseplants have cool textures and probably feel nice for the cat to rub his or her face against. Many cat foods formulated for indoor cats are fortified with plant derived nutrients, which definitely meet their nutritional needs but might not be as interesting and appealing to our feline friends as having an actual plant to play with. Cat grass plants are a great way to supplement your cat's diet and to encourage safe grazing behavior. They're not so bad aesthetically either.
If you think your pet has ingested something dangerous contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Poison Control Center takes calls 24 hours a day and charges approximately $60 for their services.
If you are ever unsure about the safety of a plant, double-check with a trusted resource. It's always way better to be safe than sorry, and no one wants to have their pet go through unnecessary distress. The ASPCA website listed below is a fantastic resource which has exhaustive lists of dangerous plants as well as a list of plants that are safe for dogs and cats.
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