Spring has sprung! If you’re anything like us, you’re itching to dust off your green thumb and get gardening. But before you break ground, keep in mind that a number of popular springtime plants can be poisonous to pets. To make sure that you don’t cultivate a danger-zone for your furry friends, we’ve put together a list of ten common toxic varieties:
Azalea/Rhododendron: Members of the Rhododendron species (also known as azalea) contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness, and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning can even lead to death from cardiovascular collapse.
Chrysanthemum: These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contains pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset including drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases, depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.
Cyclamen: Cyclamen species contain cyclamine, a toxin that can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation and intense vomiting. The highest concentration of cyclamine is actually in the root portion of cyclamen, though the entire plant should be avoided.
Daffodil: Yes, even the popular daffodil—aka Narcissus—can cause vomiting, salvation, and diarrhea when ingested. Large ingestions can lead to convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias. And beware: bulbs are the most poisonous part.
English Ivy: Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy, and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, if ingested, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.
Kalanchoe: Commonly referred to as the Mother-In-Law plant, the Kalanchoe species contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.
Lily: While they’re not toxic to dogs, members of the Lilium species are especially dangerous for cats. The ingestion of even a small amount of this plant can lead to severe kidney damage for your feline friend.
Oleander: All parts of Nerium oleander are considered toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Sago Palm: Sago Palm, along with other members of the Cycad family, is highly toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. The ingestion of just one or two seeds from this plant can result in very serious side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Tulip: Tulips contains toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and hypersalivation. Although the entire tulip plant is considered toxic, it is the bulb that is the most poisonous to animals.
Though this list covers ten of the most common springtime toxins, it is important to note that more than 700 plants have been identified as potentially harmful to animals! Please visit our full list of toxic and non-toxic plants to make sure that your garden is safe for your pets.
If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or our 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.
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Thousands of pet parents called our 24-hour poison control hotline last year. Read on to learn more about common household items that resulted in frequent calls to APCC, and find out why they’re so dangerous to our furry friends.
1. Prescription Human Medications
We handled 24,673 cases regarding human prescription medications—the top offender for the sixth year in a row—in 2013. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to include: heart medications, antidepressants and pain medications. Many instances of exposure occurred when pet parents dropped their medication when preparing to take it, and before they knew it, Fido had gobbled the pill off the floor.
Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals, and nearly 16% of all calls to our poison hotline in 2013 were related to insecticides. Always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard.
3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications
Over-the-counter human products, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements, accounted for nearly 15% of calls to APCC in 2013. Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested.
4. Household Products
Our poison hotline fielded nearly 17,000 calls about general household products in 2013. Household toxins range from fire logs to cleaning products.
5. People Food
Human foods are often appealing to pets, especially dogs. In 2013, people foods clocked in as the fifth most common pet poison. Pets can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and the sugar substitute xylitol, among other common food items.
Do you know which pet poisons are lurking in your home? Each year, thousands of pets accidentally ingest dangerous but common household items. Onions, grapes, gardening mulch—the culprits are surprising! In honor of National Poison Awareness Month, we’re holding a live Twitter chat Wednesday, March 5 with Dr. Tina Wismer, Medical Director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Dr. Wismer will be on hand March 5 at 2:00 P.M. (EST) to answer all your questions about protecting pets from harmful substances.
We’ll also test your pet-poison knowledge with a few trivia questions. Three guests will receive ASPCA swag bags—and one grand-prize winner will receive an Emergency Ready Deluxe Pet First Aid Kit!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Here at the ASPCA, we’re excited to spend the day with our loved ones—with two or four legs! By now, most pet parents have heard that chocolate treats pose dangers to dogs, but we wanted to point out a few other tips to keep your pets happy and safe this Valentine’s Day.
Precautionary Petals: While flowers are a Valentine’s Day staple, there are a few types to be wary of. First, all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. Check out our plant library to learn more about plants that are toxic to pets. Also, be mindful of rose stems with thorns attached—when pets bite step on or swallow them, they could develop an infection.
Careful with Cocktails: If you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bottle of wine or champagne, make sure your pet doesn’t try to join in. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause serious illnesses in pets, including vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination and other problems.
Don’t Share Your Sweets: In addition to chocolate, candies and gums that are sweetened with xylitol are unsafe for pets to consume. It’s important to keep sweet treats out of your pet’s reach.
While the holidays are a time for baked goods galore, it’s often unsafe for our four-legged friends to join in on the sugar-filled fun. Just before Christmas, Tinkerbell, a two-year-old, five-pound Chihuahua, wolfed down eight macadamia nut cookies that she found in her pet parent’s backpack. When her pet parent, Joseph C., saw that Tinkerbell was vomiting and lethargic, he brought her to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH).
ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Michael Dugan assessed Tinkerbell, and submitted lab work. Her symptoms and test results were consistent with possible macadamia nut toxicity. AAH staff consulted with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and confirmed that this was a strong possibility.
Tinkerbell was admitted to AAH where she received supportive care in the Intensive Care Unit. Luckily, she responded well to treatment. She went home the next day with antibiotics and antacids, and Joseph reports that she has made a full recovery. He says from now on, he’ll keep sweet treats out of Tinkerbell’s reach. We’re so glad this tiny pup is happy and healthy!