Although the weather outside is still a bit frightful, spring is right around the corner. Whether you’re planning out this year’s bumper crop, preparing to add landscaping foliage, or simply enjoying the beauty of plants year-round, there’s much to be excited about as the season turns.
Curious pets are often fascinated by plants, and many will do whatever it takes to get a nibble of greenery, whether they are inside or outside the home. Because pets and plants often don’t mix, it’s important for pet owners to know which plants pose a poisoning risk and what they can do to protect their furry loved ones.
If you cannot keep your pet away from the following plants, either by fencing or other barrier, it is recommended to avoid planting them:
- Daffodil – A compound in the flowers can trigger abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets
- Crocus – Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, and arrhythmias
- Oleander – All parts are toxic to pets, and symptoms can include irregular heart rate, arrhythmias, vomiting, tremors, seizure, and even death
- Lily of the Valley and foxglove – Potentially fatal heart damage can occur if these plants are ingested
- Tulip and hyacinth – If ingested, the bulbs of these plants can cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing
- Tomato – The leaves and immature fruits of a tomato plant can lead to tremors or seizure, along with nausea and vomiting
Houseplants to Watch out For
The following houseplants should either be placed where pets can’t reach them, or removed from the home altogether:
- Dieffenbachia – Also called Dumb Cane, this plant contains a compound that can lead to oral irritation, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting
- English ivy – Symptoms of English ivy intoxication include abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Philodendron – If ingested by a dog or cat, this common houseplant can result in burns in the mouth, excessive salivation, and vomiting
- Lilies – All plants in the lily family, including Easter lilies, day lilies, and tiger lilies are extremely dangerous for cats, and even a very small amount can cause result in potentially fatal liver failure
- Aloe vera – The aloe gel found inside the leaves can cause vomiting or reddish urine if ingested
- Sago palm – All parts of this common ornamental are highly toxic to pets, especially the seeds (nuts), resulting in severe gastrointestinal distress and liver failure
Pets and Plants in New Jersey
Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are present throughout the U.S., including New Jersey, where our humid summers allow these toxic plants to flourish. Although your pet is not likely to be affected by the caustic oils in the plants, thanks to their protective fur coats, they can easily transfer the substance to human skin.
If you think your pet has come into contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac, put on rubber gloves and wipe them dry with a towel and bathe them immediately. Be sure to change your clothes afterwards.
Another local plant to be aware of is jimson weed, also known as angel’s trumpet, hells bells, or ditch weed. The plant is relatively common in pastures, open areas, and cultivated fields throughout New Jersey and is toxic to both pets and people. It’s recommended to remove jimson weed from the yard if pets or children live in the home.