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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Happy Earth Day, pet parents! Today, billions of people around the globe will take a pledge to live more sustainably. But what does the green movement mean for our animal companions? Just like us, our furry friends leave a lasting impact on our environment. Here are some easy things you can do with your pet to cut down on waste and show a little love for our planet.
Clean Green Clean up pet messes with rags or recycled paper towels to cut down on paper products. And reach for vinegar instead of bleach—this household staple is an eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals.
Buy in Bulk Buy pet supplies in bulk or opt for the largest size available. You’ll save money on your pet’s favorite treats and help cut down on discarded cardboard and packaging. Even better, opt to buy from companies that use sustainable packaging.
Go Natural for Toys and Bedding Protect your pets from toxic chemicals by giving them sustainable toys and products made from recycled plastics and natural materials.
Donate to Animals in Need It’s spring cleaning time. Before you throw away old pet products, call your local shelter. They may need gently used towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes and pet toys.
Scoop Poop the Eco-Friendly Way Swap out plastic and scoop your pup’s poop with biodegradable bags or reusable cloths instead. If you use kitty litter, choose brands that offer plant-based alternatives like wheat and wood chips.
Domestic rabbits are delightful companion animals. They are inquisitive, intelligent, sociable and affectionate. But did you know that cute baby bunny you’re thinking of buying for your child on Easter may still be around long after your child has grown into a teen? Rabbits can live as long as small dogs. Should the novelty wear off, you’ll have an adult rabbit in the house that needs your care and attention every day.
More than 90% of cats and dogs in the U.S. are fed commercial pet food, yet our government does not play a role in overseeing and ensuring its safe production. 2007’s pet food crisis and massive recall (caused by the adulteration of pet food with melamine) showed pet owners and policymakers that like the production of human food, the production of pet food must be regulated for safety.
That’s why we’d like to praise the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for proposing a rule that, for the first time, would create preventive measures to keep pet food safe from the introduction of disease-causing bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants during the production process. The proposed rule targets those who manufacture, process, pack and hold animal food. It creates good manufacturing practices and requires facilities to have a food safety plan and assess and minimize contamination risks.
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.