7 Plants That Can Harm Your Pets

by abrown


Your pet is vomiting, seems lethargic, and has tremors. Most likely, your pet has been poisoned. Of course, seeking immediate veterinary care is the first step. However, in the aftermath of the situation, you might reconsider the plants you have growing in your yard or potted in the windowsills of your home. Many popular, beautiful plants that we keep around our homes are poisonous to dogs and cats. Our animals may have an uncanny sixth sense for some things, but they can’t always know what they shouldn’t eat. It’s up to us to decide whether it’s worth the risk of letting potentially lethal plants grow in areas accessible to our pets.


Lilies are toxic to all your pets — dogs, cats, and horses alike. But outdoor cats may be the most prone to nibble on lilies, and even the smallest amount is poisonous. The toxin in lilies is soluble in water and deadly, although it isn’t known exactly what causes it to be poisonous. Consuming a tiny bit can cause kidney failure, as well as gastrointestinal and nervous system complications. What’s worse, every single part of the plant, including the pollen, is poisonous. Thus, if a cat or dog gets the pollen on their coat and then bathe or lick themselves, they will ingest the toxin. If your pet is left untreated for more than 18 hours after consuming parts of the lily plant, the mortality rate is 100%, so immediate veterinary care is essential. There is no antidote, but vets can monitor the gastrointestinal tract and keep your pet hydrated, and immediate treatment is usually successful.
Sago Palm

Sago palms are also known as cycads, and are very popular plants both standalone and potted. They also contain cycasin, a deadly toxin that causes liver failure. The toxin can be found in the seeds, fruit, and base of the plant and a dog can die by merely eating one seed from the plant. Within just a few hours, your dog will be vomiting, have diarrhea, and seem out of sorts. One-third of all dogs that consume parts of the sago palm die once the symptoms begin to show, even if given aggressive treatment. It takes about 24 hours for lab work to indicate abnormalities, so it can be tricky to diagnose, but you should always inform your vet of whether or not your yard has sago palms or if your pet likes to chew or dig up plants.

Both the azalea’s leaves and flowers are toxic to animals. The toxicity varies depending on how much of the plant is consumed paired with the animal’s weight. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has deduced the symptoms of poisoning to be vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, hypotension, and coma. If not treated, this could be followed by death. The cardiac glycosides and grayanotoxins found in azaleas are compounds that affect sodium channels on cell membranes. Treatment for azalea poisoning is the same treatment you would conduct for any poisoning; giving the animal something to help it vomit, giving it activated charcoal, and doing anything in your power to get the remaining azalea bits out of their system is the best way to handle it. Recovery is likely so long because there are no complications during the time that the animal is expelling the Azalea, such as cardiac arrhythmias and aspiration pneumonia. Unfortunately, many dogs or cats can become addicted to the toxin in azaleas, which could easily become fatal. Removing this plant entirely from areas that your pet is allowed to go may be necessary.

Daffodils are in the lily family, which explains why they are so toxic. All parts of the plant are poisonous, including the bulbs, leaves, and flowers. Moreover, if your dog consumes just one bulb, the consequences can be fatal. Even the water that the daffodil plant stands in, if ingested, can cause poisoning. A lethal dose for dogs is 15 grams of this plant. Easter time is peak season for toxicity due to daffodil consumption, as the spring time brings on this seasonal flower. Even in humans, contact with parts of the flower can cause dermatitis. Humans have also mistaken the bulbs on daffodils for onion bulbs in the past, causing poisoning upon ingestion.

The begonia plant’s juices and sap contain microscopic poisonous, needle-shaped crystals. All species of begonia are toxic to pets. If the animal consumes it, he will develop the common signs of poisoning, including drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting. However, treatment is typically not necessary unless an inordinate amount of its poisonous parts has been consumed, as this plant is one of the more mild poisonous plants. The tubers are the most toxic component of the plant. The toxicity of a begonia comes from its insoluble oxalates, which come from oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is one of the strongest acids found in nature. Although the rootstock, tubers, and roots are poisonous, the flowers of the begonia are edible and are still used in some cultures for their tart flavor. They may be used to treat fevers and syphilis, or in cleaning weapons.

Hemlock is highly poisonous to both people and animals. A biennial herb, Hemlock is from the parsnip family and is found typically in less tended to areas including roadsides, railroad tracks, ditches, and waste areas. The volatile alkaloids, coniine and gamma-conicine, are what give Hemlock its toxicity. An animal that has consumed Hemlock will become sick in stages — first, they will be anxious and uncoordinated, second, they become depressed, cold, and bloated. When lethal, Hemlock usually kills the pet with respiratory failure, between 5-10 hours after symptoms become present. However, some pets may recover after feeling ill for several days. Hemlock thrives mostly in the spring, which is also when animals may find it to taste the most appealing. Drying out the Hemlock may lower the toxicity slightly, but not entirely eliminate it. If your pet consumes Hemlock and shows the signs of poisoning mentioned above, veterinary care should be sought. A fatal dose for a sheep is around half a pound, meaning a dog’s lethal dose could be less and a cat’s lethal dose even smaller.

Buttercups may be easy on the eyes, but not so much on the digestive systems of your pets. Buttercups have an acrid taste that most pets will avoid, but if your pet is just curious enough to chew on your plants or will eat anything without a care, keeping buttercups at bay might be your best option. If a pet has been poisoned by buttercups, they may drool, get blisters, undergo abdominal pain, and get diarrhea. The toxin within it, protoanemonin, is not very stable. Thus, if it is dried, the toxicity is significantly lower. If your yard has become overrun with buttercups and you’re trying to eradicate them, make sure to remove all parts of the flower, including the runners and roots. Buttercup can sprout from nodes along the stem and root fragments, so if you aren’t thorough when you get rid of them, they may pop right back up.

Thank you Isabell Davila for emailing this submission. 🙂 For more from Isabell go to: http://www.flowerdelivery.net/7-plants-that-can-harm-your-pet/

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14 Responses to 7 Plants That Can Harm Your Pets

  1. jillianna says:

    Thank you for this article. It is very informative and answered my question. Good work!!!! ?????

  2. Sallie says:

    I had no idea!! And, here we were just about to design a terrace full of Rhodies, Azaleas and daffodils!
    We have young cat that loves chewing on plants — so out goes our plan. THANKS so much.

  3. Dorothy Harvey says:

    Thank you so much. I was just about to put a big begonia in my bay window.

  4. Mrs Chiles says:

    Thank you for this information it will absolutely help me decide what best for my pets.

  5. S.Klein says:

    Thank you, that was timely and helpful. I have 3 cats

  6. Harley says:

    Thank you for your very clear begonia information. My cat was interested in that new plant and mouthed/licked the leaves. He was sick 3 times in 9 hours. He is drinking and eating again. WHEW!

  7. Brandy Foss says:

    My fur baby is a husky and she’s older probably around 11 years old she’s been sick for a while now and I’ve had her to vet several times now since she’s been sick. She’s been sick around six months, and I’ve taken her to the vet at least once a month. Every time we have been to the vet they have prescribed her antibiotics or some type of different medication and nothing has worked. They can’t find out what is exactly wrong with her or what’s causing her to be sick. For the past five months she has had a hiking or coughing this sounds horrible like she’s trying to hack up something and sometimes she will vomit a little bit and at times she will vomit a whole lot if she’s just ate her food.The past month she is gotten worse and started to slobber or drool hanging from her mouth. I just read that azaleas are poisonous to dogs and she lays under the azalea bush every day. I really don’t think she eats it but if this plant is so poisonous wouldn’t her laying under the Bush each day and then getting all that stuff on her fur and dogs lick themselves and itch the hair also couldn’t she get the poison and her sister from that if she was laying under the tree every day ? It seems like that it could eventually make her sick if she was exposed to it that closely each and every day. Please can someone help me and let me know if this is what could be making my baby sick. Thank you so much

    • abrown says:

      You might ask your vet if that scenario is a possibility, I try to pass along information to pet owners as it comes available to me. I am not a licensed vet.

  8. Sarah Sherrell says:

    Is there a weed that can have the same reactions as pepper spray in dogs?

  9. Linda Millican says:

    Thank you so very much for the information! I was about to bring 2 different kinds of begonias in to winter; guess I’ll find homes for them. But Boston Fern, purple wandering jew, spider plant, and Swedish Ivy should be fine, right?

    One of our cats started nibbling the Swedish Ivy right off. Glad to know all this info!!

    I try to keep the plants in a separate room, but we do have 1 sneaky male, who will do anything to chew on plants.

    Thank you again!!

  10. M.G.Lockwood says:

    Very informative. Thank you!

  11. Mary Condit says:

    Very informative and helpful. Due to your advice, I closed off the room in which I placed my beautiful, huge hanging begonia I brought in to protect from frost. My three cats are far too precious to me to risk illness or death!

  12. Scarlet says:

    Thank you so much for the information . You’re a life saver. May I know what plants I can plant in zone 9b to scare deers away from my roses but not to kill them or harm them. Thank you so so so much .

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