Top 10 Toxic Plants for Pets: What to Look Out For

January 6, 2021

Now that we’ve said goodbye to 2020, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure you are prepared for 2021—at least when it comes to all things pet-related. Throughout the last year, APCC received thousands of calls, many of which pertained to toxic plants and pets ingesting them. And to help pet parents stay prepared, we’ve got a list of the top 10 toxic plants APCC received the most calls about in 2020.

Read on to know which plants to watch out for and how you can protect your pets!

  1. Lilies, including Asiatic lilies and daylilies, can be toxic to both dogs and cats, however the effects are much more severe in cats. Signs and symptoms in dogs tend to be limited to stomach upset, though any eaten bulbs could potentially cause a stomach or intestinal blockage. However, any exposure in cats, including leaves, bulbs, flowers, pollen or water that the flowers have been sitting in, can cause acute kidney injury and even death. While they may be nice to look at, it might be best to leave the lilies in the flower shop!
  2. Azaleas and rhododenrons can have different effects depending on the amount ingested by dogs, cats and horses. In large ingestions, these plants can cause severe signs like irregular heartbeats and seizures. Typically, only a mild stomach upset is seen with small ingestions in small animals.
  3. Sago palms are highly toxic to small animals and overall dangerous to all pets. While the entire plant is toxic, the seeds or nuts, are the most toxic part. Sago palms can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty clotting the blood, liver failure and even death. So, it may be best to keep these out of your yard!
  4. Tulips, though beautiful, can cause stomach upset, which in some cases can be severe. If large chunks of the bulbs are ingested, it can also cause stomach or intestinal blockage.
  5. Hydrangeas have the potential to be very dangerous as they contain cyanide. However, it is most common to only see signs of stomach upset in dogs and cats when they ingest this plant. Although cyanide poisoning in small animals is very unlikely, it’s best to keep your furry friends from eating this plant.
  6. Peace lilies may add a modern flare to your flowerpot, but they are unfortunately toxic to our pets. Luckily, it is unlikely for signs to be severe. Peace lilies contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause stomach upset, drooling and mouth pain. But, since they are not absorbed systemically, they don’t cause organ damage.
  7. Devil’s Ivy or pothos have the same toxic concerns as Peace lilies, meaning the signs are unlikely to be severe and should not warrant medical attention unless the stomach upset becomes more than mild. Nonetheless, be mindful of your pet around this plant, no one likes a belly ache!
  8. Lantana can certainly add a pop of color to your home, but in rare cases, can cause liver failure in cats and dogs. It is very unlikely and uncommon unless the plant is eaten over a long period of time or in very large amounts. Typically, the most common symptom of ingestion is stomach upset.
  9. Daffodils can cause stomach upset if ingested, which in some cases can be severe. If large chunks of the bulbs are eaten, it is possible a stomach or intestinal blockage or low blood pressure can occur. Be sure to keep any daffodils away from curious four-legged friends!
  10. Hostas make for some gorgeous greenery in a backyard. But be sure to pay attention to your pets around them as they can cause stomach upset. Luckily, veterinary care is not typically needed unless the stomach upset is more than mild following an ingestion.

When it comes to plants and pet safety, keeping a close eye on your pet while they are out in your yard or garden and keeping any toxic plants out of their reach is key. While this list includes the top ten most common toxic plants, there are still quite a few to be wary of. APCC’s full list of toxic and non-toxic plants makes it a bit easier to know what else to watch out for.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a toxic plant or any other potentially toxic substance, call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet ate a toxic plant and is showing severe symptoms, it is best to take them into a local veterinarian immediately.