Plants Toxic to Animals

Every year hundreds, if not thousands of beloved pets ingest toxic plants and suffer from serious illness or even death. Many plants that humans think of as harmless can be lethal to our furry friends. Often times when pet owners are planting gardens in their backyards or buying a bouquet of flowers, they aren't realizing that they might be putting their pet in harm's way. While the majority of poisonous plants won't cause much much of an issue for your animal, there are a few that can be lethal, so it is important to know and be able to identify which plants are safe, and which are not.

One of the most well known plants that are toxic to both cats and dogs are Poinsettias. While Poinsettias make a beautiful holiday decoration, they can make your pet very sick. Poinsettia plants are not lethal to animals but will cause vomiting and irritation if ingested by your dog, cat, or rabbit. Other holiday plants that might make your pet sick include Holly and Mistletoe. If your pet ingests any of these plants, you should call your veterinarian because it is always better to be on the safe side.

Lilies, Azaleas, and Castor Beans are among the most dangerous plants for dogs and cats to eat. If your pet ingests Lilies, the flowers can potentially cause severe kidney damage in a dog, and death in a cat. If your pet eats a large amount of Azaleas, which are wild flowers found in the woods and on mountains, there is a large chance of coma and death. If your pet eats a small amount of Azaleas, it will result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and nervous system depression. Castor Beans are ornamental plants that grow in the south. The seeds, leaves, and stems of the Castor Bean plant contain Ricin. Ricin is an extremely toxic protein which is lethal if ingested by your pet. In fact, Ricin is even lethal to humans, and it has been found that the amount of Ricin that you would have to ingest for it to be lethal is about 500 micrograms, approximately the size of a grain of salt. Signs of Castor Bean poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, loss of appetite, and excessive thirst. Other common household plants that you need to keep away from your pets are Tulips, Daffodils, Ivy, Aloe, Daffodils, and Geraniums. All of these plants at the very least will cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested by your pet.

Reptiles are becoming increasingly popular as pets, and they too are affected by a number of toxic plants. Azaleas and Oleanders can be dangerous if eaten by your lizard or turtle. Buttercups and Jimson Weed will affect your reptile's nervous system, while Flax and Soybean plants contain dangerous levels of toxic nitrates. Reptiles require veterinarians that specialize in their care, and if your reptile ingests something that you believe to be toxic you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

If your pet ingests a toxic plant, it is important to be able to identify the plant so that your veterinarian can give your pet the proper care. If you cannot identify the plant that your pet ingested, it is important to take a photograph of the plant to bring with you to your vet's office. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a 24-hour emergency poison hotline that you can call for help with not only the ingestion of toxic plants but any object that you believe may harm your pet: (888) 426-4435.

Toxic Plants And Companion Animals an article published in a science journal about plants that are dangerous to common pets