For most, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. This warm weather means more time outdoors for people and their pets. The warm weather also raises the risk of pets being exposed to dangerous plants. According to the ASPCA and the Pet Poison Helpline, the top 10 most toxic plants are commonly found in backyards and gardens all across the nation.
Spring and autumn crocus both cause gastrointestinal upset and vomiting. The autumn crocus is more toxic and can also cause respiratory failure, kidney or liver damage and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Azaleas and rhododendrons are in the same family and both can be lethal if not treated immediately. Rhododendrons are considered to be more toxic than azaleas, but this depends on the hybridization of the two plants.
The cyclamen or Persian violet is a seasonal house plant normally sold in supermarkets. When chewed or ingested, can cause vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling. Ingestion of large amounts can cause cardiac issues, seizures or death.
The kalanchoe, also known as the chandelier plant is a house plant with hundreds of flowers that range in many colors. The kalanchoe is one of several plants that cause heart arrhythmias and other cardiac issues.
The oleander is an outdoor shrub that has small flowers and evergreen qualities. The leaves and flowers are the most toxic parts and cause a decreased heart rate and cardiac issues if ingested.
Dieffenbachia are commonly found as home or office plants. The plant contains crystals of calcium oxalate that are released when chewed. These crystals penetrate the tissues of the mouth to cause pain and injury, swelling of the mouth and throat or difficulty breathing and swallowing.
Daffodil ingestion usually causes severe symptoms and should always be treated immediately. Ingestion of the daffodil bulb, plant or flower can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory depression.
Ingestion of the Lily of the Valley plant causes respiratory depression, cardiac arrhythmias and possible seizures. Veterinary treatment should be obtained immediately if suspected ingestion has occurred.
The Sago palm is an indoor and outdoor plant. All parts of these plants are poisonous with the seeds being especially toxic. The sago palm contains an active ingredient known to cause liver damage and failure in dogs. Even with aggressive treatment, there is only a 50 percent chance of survival.
Tulips and hyacinths have very concentrated levels of toxins in the bulbs and when chewed or ingested can cause irritation to the mouth or esophagus. If ingested in large amounts, the toxin can cause increased heart rate or changes in respiration and should be treated immediately.
If you think your pet may have chewed on or ingested any of these plants, seek veterinarian care as soon as possible. You can call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. Please be aware that both agencies may charge a consultation fee to your credit card.
You can view the ASPCA’s full list of toxic and non toxic plants here and the Pet Poison Helpline’s poison list here.