Warning! Toxic Plants: Is Your Pet Safe?
We all love our pets and want what it best for them. Keeping them safe can be a big responsibility and dangers to our pets are not always obvious. With owners spending more time at home than ever before, there has been an influx in home renovations and improvements. Plants, both indoor and outdoor have become popular decorations in Australian homes.
While a little extra foliage can make a lovely addition to homes, not all greenery is safe for pets, with some varieties causing serious illness or even death. Here is a list of the most common toxic plants that may pose a risk to your pet plus some pet-friendly options that are worry-free.
Is a poisonous plant lurking in your backyard?
Warning: If you believe your pet has consumed or has been in contact with a toxic plant please immediately contact your local vet, 24hr vet emergency centre or call the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 TOX PET (1300 689 738). Delaying treatment may worsen the symptoms.
Common Household Plants Toxic to Pets
It is a little known fact that cats and lilies do not mix. Lilies are commonly found in gardens, flower arrangements and indoor plants with those of the Daylily (Hermerocallis) or True Lily (Lilium) families the most dangerous. The consumption of any part of the plant, including the leaves, stem, flower, pollen or even the water from a vase can result in fatal kidney failure. If you have a cat at home it is best to avoid lilies completely!. Lilies are very common in flower arrangements, so if you are giving a gift to a friend with cats, ensure it does not contain lilies!.
A very common indoor plant that also contains the name 'lily' is the Peace Lily. This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals and when chewed on by a dog or cat, causes severe oral irritation. Ingestion results in immediate discomfort with symptoms including pawing at the face, drooling foaming at the mouth, vomiting or breathing issues.
Many pets enjoy eating fresh grass. If you have an indoor cat you may want to consider the addition of a Catit Grass Planter so they can graze on grass at their leisure!
2. Japanese Sago Palm
The Japanese Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta), also known as a Cycad is a common ornamental garden plants in Australia. This plant is incredibly dangerous to dogs when consumed, with the seeds or 'nuts' being particularly toxic. Symptoms usually occur within 12 hours of ingestion and can include vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and liver failure. Puppies are particularly at risk as they are attracted to eating the seeds.
3. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Commonly found in Australian gardens due to its beautifully coloured flowers, the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Brunfelsia) is incredible dangerous to pets. All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested containing two different toxins, brunfelsamidine and hopeanine. The berries which seem to be highly palatable to dogs are especially toxic. Clinical signs after ingestion include uncontrollable seizures lasting days, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea and incoordination. If you have a dog, it is recommended to remove this plant from your garden immediately.
Don't let these pretty flowers fool you, the Oleander (Nerium oleander) is extremely toxic to all animals when consumed. Clinical signs can quickly develop and include vomiting. diarrhoea, heart abnormalities and neurological signs.
5. Aloe Vera
Commonly grown in backyards around Australia, Aloe Vera is known for its medicinal properties with the sap or gel a common ingredient in many beauty and medicinal products. The Aloe Vera plant contains saponins and anthraquinones, which when ingested can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
Azaleas are a species of Rhododendron and are a pretty addition to many gardens along the east coast of Australia. These plants contain grayanotoxins which when ingested can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness and cardiac abnormalities.
FACT: In some areas of the world such as Turkey, people have suffered from Rhondodendron poisoning when they have consumed 'Mad Honey'. This honey is collected by bees from the nectar of Rhondodendron flowers, high in grayanotoxins which accumulate in the stored honey.
7. Snake Plant
Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law's Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) is a very popular indoor plant and thrives in low light conditions. These plants contain saponins to protect them from insects and when ingested by dogs or cats can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea.
The Philodendron is a large family of tropical plants that is very popular for indoor use. Common names include Fiddle Leaf, Split-leaf, Heartleaf and perhaps the most common the Monstera. These plants contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals and when consumed by a dog or cat, causes severe oral irritation. Ingestion results in immediate discomfort with symptoms include pawing at the face, drooling foaming at the mouth, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
9. Other Toxic Plants
Other toxic plant species that are dangerous to pets include, but are not limited to:
- Asparagus Fern
- Rubber Tree Plants
- Jade Plant
- Bird of Paradise
- Fiddle Leaf Fig
Warning: If you believe your pet has consumed or has been in contact with a toxic plant please immediately contact your local vet, 24hr vet emergency clinic or call the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 TOX PET (1300 689 738). Delaying treatment may worsen the symptoms.
If you are wanting to add some foliage or flowers to your garden or indoors without any risk to your pets, here are some safe options:
- Spider Plant
- Blue Echeveria
- Mistletoe Cactus
- Birdâs Nest Fern
- Hoya Wax Plant
- Jasmine or Star Jasmine
- Native Bottlebrush
- Golden Palm (Areca)
For a comprehensive list of Toxic and Non-toxic plants for dogs, cats and horses, visit the ASPCA Website.