Home > Pet Proof Your Home > Toxic Plants and Pets

Toxic Plants and Pets

By: Sandy Bolan - Updated: 27 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Poisonous Plants Dumb Cane Dieffenbachia

A green thumb and pets do not always mix. But with some pre-planning on the garden's design and research into which plants are toxic to pets, the two can co-exist in relative harmony.

More than 700 plants have been identified as having enough toxicity in them to harm pets. Symptoms of plant poisoning include excessive drooling, head shaking, gasping, repeated swallowing and depression.

While a plant may not be toxic to pets, the cat or dog may be allergic to the plant material, and therefore, exhibit the same symptoms. Contact your veterinary clinic immediately if you suspect your pet has gotten into your garden and is feeling ill as a result. Remove any leaves, stems, flowers, etc. from the pet's mouth. And bring a sample of the plant to clinic so the veterinarian is fully aware of what he/she is dealing with.

Poisonous Plants

The most dangerous plant is the Dieffenbachia or dumb cane. The Dieffenbachia only has to come in contact with an animal's mouth, tongue or throat to cause a serious reaction. Symptoms of Dieffenbachia poisoning include: mouth irritation, upset stomach, asphyxiation, tremors, seizures and death. This is obviously a plant that must be avoided if you have pets.

Other toxic garden plants include the Aconite, Autumn Crocus, Bird of Paradise, Christmas berry, Christmas rose, Daffodil, Holly, and Narcissus. Poisonous root vegetables include the Potato and Rhubarb.

Herbs

If you are planning to cultivate a herb garden, there are some herbs you are best to continue buying in the store - Atropa belladonna, Bloodroot, Buttercup, Cowslip, Fan weed, Field peppergrass and Flax.

Outdoor Gardens

To cats and dogs, a garden is a little piece of heaven. The soil is nice and soft - a perfect litter box for your cat, the plants are tasty - to both cats and dogs, and there are lots of things to find when digging under the soil - like roots and bulbs.

Spraying a cat or dog with water to get it out of the garden is only useful when you catch the animal in the act of trespassing. It is not, however, a long term solution. However, since cats are adverse to water, motion-activated sprinklers may do the trick as the sprinklers go into action as soon as movement is detected around the garden.

A safer deterrent strategy is to grow plants that cats and dogs don't like the smell, flavour or texture of.

Herbs known to be of no interest to cats are the Absinthe, Lavender and Lemon-thyme. Flowers of disinterest include Fuchsias, Petunias and Roses (because of the thorns). Dogs, on the other hand, are not all that picky. So planting anything prickly is probably the best bet.

If your plant choice still does not keep them out of the garden, try sprinkling pepper (not cayenne as it gets on their paws, then into their eyes), citrus peels, pine cones, blood meal fertilizer and tea leaves around the garden. These are all scents most pets don't like.

To further secure your garden, place items such as skewers, sharp sticks or toothpicks - all with the pointy end up, pebbles or crushed rock, throughout the garden bed. Chicken wire (lay it down before the plants sprout) will also make digging difficult, while thorny/spiny branches placed around the garden perimeter will help keep the animals at bay.

If all of this fails, then a fence may be necessary. Also, train pets not to go near the garden area when it is being constructed.

Indoor Plants

We love to bring the outdoors inside, but when it comes to fresh flowers and plants, some are better left outside, and in someone else's garden.

Christmas plants - poinsettias and mistletoe - are both wonderful additions to the season, however, they can be deadly to our pets. So when your guests are considering a suitable hostess gift to bring, let them know poinsettias and mistletoe are unsuitable.

Some other toxic indoor plants include: Caladium, Castor bean, Dumbcane/Dieffenbackiar, Easter Lily, Elephant's ear, Hyacinth, Lantana, Philodendrons and Rosary pea.

Keeping toxic plants on table or countertops may not be enough to keep them out of the cat's reach as they can get pretty much anywhere. As for dogs, the larger ones can reach on top of tables and counters. Use hanging baskets, however, do not place them over something, i.e. the back of the couch, which can be used as a launching pad into the basket. Place planters in rooms the animals are not allowed into or on very high surfaces - tops of bookshelves or mantels for example.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Claire
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    Hi I've just rescued a five month old male kitten from a family who could no longer look after him turtle to health…
    21 February 2019
  • Mady
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    Our family has an older cat, maybe 14 years, and she can't get along with the kitten, almost 6 months. We crate the kitten…
    12 February 2019
  • Tom
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hi there, I had someones dogs for two years straight now while owner went away on hollidays, it was only meant be to be few weeks and looked…
    6 February 2019
  • zoey
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    I got a female kitten 8 weeks ago and my older cat of 12 years keeps hitting and swatting at the kitten. Ive tried…
    31 January 2019
  • Chris
    Re: Keeping Mammals in an Aviary
    Good day. I’m in the prowess of building a biggish outdoor enclosure (for lack of a better word “cage”) It will have a running…
    17 January 2019
  • Lofty
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    My dog has ripped his dew claw off its not bleeding but it's a bit swollen what can I use to help with infection
    14 January 2019
  • Kickinkell
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    My cat had kittens four month ago and I kept a male kitten now the cat has had another litre will the four month old…
    26 December 2018
  • Star Indigo
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Where are replies to the above comments?Am I missing the advice/ reply section.I can't see any/one. There are important questions being asked…
    17 December 2018
  • Starchild
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Why are there no replies/advice to any of the above questions? Or is there somewhere else you can go to on this site that I'm missing for…
    17 December 2018
  • Concerned citizen
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    A man regularly visits one of my neighbours for hours at a time and leaves his dog tied up outside in all weather including icy nights like we…
    15 December 2018