- About Us
- Our Veterinary Services
- Informational Pages
- Pet Library
- Contact Us
Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets
Tips from Pet Poison Helpline to Help Keep Your Pet Safe!
Every day, Pet Poison Helpline receives dozens of phone calls from dog owners and cat owners saying, “My cat ate a lily!” or “My dog ate a plant. Is it poisonous?” Some of the most poisonous plants for dogs and cats are reviewed below. While there are thousands of species of plants and flowers, only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous and poisonous to your pet. Make sure you know which plants are most deadly to avoid your dog or cat from getting into these poisonous flowers and poisonous plants!
There are two Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring and the other in the autumn (Colchicum autumnale). The spring plants are more common and are part of the Iridaceae family. These ingestions can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. These should not be mistaken for Autumn Crocus, part of the Liliaceae family, which contain colchicine. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure. If you’re not sure what plant it is, bring your pet to their veterinarian immediately for care. Signs may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days.
In the same family as rhododendrons, azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) can have serious effects on pets. These plants contain grayanotoxins which disrupt sodium channels affecting the skeletal and cardiac muscle. All parts of the plant are considered poisonous, and as little as ingestion of 0.2% of an animal's body weight can result in poisoning. Eating even a few leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling; without immediate veterinary attention, the pet could fall into a coma and possibly die. The overall prognosis is fair with treatment.
The cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) is a beautiful houseplant commonly sold in supermarkets. It is also called the Persian violet and Sowbread. Cyclamen contains irritating saponins, and when any part of the plant (especially the tubers or roots) are chewed or ingested by dogs and cats, it can result in clinical signs of drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. With large ingestions, these plants can result in cardiac problems (e.g., abnormal heart rate and rhythm), seizures and death.
These flowers found in the genus Narcissus contain lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties (something that triggers vomiting). Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression. Crystals are found in the outer layer of the bulbs, similar to hyacinths, which cause severe tissue irritation and secondary drooling. Daffodil ingestions can result in more severe symptoms so if an exposure is witnessed or symptoms are seen, we recommend seeking veterinary care for further supportive care.
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is a common, beautiful houseplant with hundreds of flowers (which range from yellow, red, pink, etc.). All parts of the plant are generally considered toxic - even the water in the vase has been reported to cause toxicosis. Clinical signs from ingestion include cardiovascular signs (e.g., abnormal heart rhythm and rate), electrolyte abnormalities (e.g., a life-threatening high potassium level), gastrointestinal signs (e.g., nausea, drooling, vomiting, etc.), or central nervous system signs (e.g., dilated pupils, tremors, seizures). In severe cases, an expensive antidote, digoxin-specific Fab fragments, can be used for severe, life-threatening cases.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) is an outdoor shrub, popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate flowers. All parts of the plant are generally considered toxic - even the water in the vase has been reported to cause toxicosis; however, the leaves and flowers are extremely toxic if ingested and can cause severe vomiting, slow the heart rate and possibly even cause death.
About Pet Poison Helpline: Pet Poison Helpline is a service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary technicians that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Staff can provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline's fee of $39.00 per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.