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
  • Vorny54
    Re: We Cured Dog's Jealousy of New Baby: A Case Study
    My granddaughter is now 4 months old and my dogs behaviour has not improved ,he pants whines and…
    3 December 2018
  • Vall
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I was at the park today with my 5 month old puppy, who is overly friendly in the sense of she loves everyone. She ran over to play with another…
    2 December 2018
  • Hippopig
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I wondered if you could help... A 'friend' dumped their dog on us a year or so ago. Despite not asking after her or paying towards her care or…
    2 December 2018
  • Joni
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    We have a kitten now 6 months. Female. One of my other adult females keeps attacking her. This has been going on for…
    30 November 2018
  • Violet
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Somebody on this site mentioned that a new dog law came into force on 24/10/18. Apparently the new law states that all dogs must be put on a…
    27 November 2018
  • Sara
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    I have a 4 year old male cat and we got a 8 week old female kitten, at first our older cat would hiss and swat at her…
    26 November 2018
  • Steven
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    My six month old female cat can’t get on with 12 week old kitten, she pins it down and grabs it and kicks with her back…
    28 October 2018
  • Beth
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I split from my husband and in Feb this year I needed support with my dog (4 1/2 years) we got her at 8 weeks old, I was working long days to…
    25 October 2018
  • Gypsy
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I've been told today a new law has come into play about dogs from today 24/10/2018, that all dogs must be put on a lead in communal areas, the…
    24 October 2018
  • Lizzy the Wild Lizar
    Re: How to Train Your Pet Lizard
    im wondering how to tame a wild lizard i found outside but took in because it is severely hurt. i really want it to trust me.
    22 October 2018