The weather’s (finally) getting nicer as Spring is approaching, so as expected, everyone’s taking advantage of this and buying new flowers to make their garden look nice. Dogs are able to romp around the yard more often, people are more willing to walk their dog for further, and everyone’s able to enjoy the outside without shivering and sniffling noses. Even the outside kitties can finally enjoy the lack of snow and slush on their paws as they scale the roofs and fences of the neighborhood. Best of all, there’s finally long green grass available for both pets to munch on like fat cows! Ahhh… the smell of fresh-cut grass, the shining sun, and the poisonous flowers; how enjoyable! Wait, “poisonous flowers”?! That’s right! Here’s a quick list of some of the common not very pet-friendly, flowers your neighbors may decorate their yard with and that your dog and cat should avoid!
Day Lily & Easter Lily – It’s hard to believe that these spring beauties are deadly to cats! Ingestion of any part of this plant, even the early green shoots, can cause kidney failure, so prevent your cat from having any access to these plants. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, kidney failure, and possible death. Although they’re harmful to cats, they’re non-toxic to dogs and horses.
Castor Bean Plant – This tropical plant is often grown as an ornamental plant and as a crop in North America. In my opinion, this plant doesn’t look very friendly anyway, and as expected, ingestion of either the beans or the foliage is lethal to both cats and dogs. Signs of ingestion usually develop within 12 to 48 hours; the nasty list of symptoms include burning of mouth and throat, increase in thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, stomach pains, trembling, sweating, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, progressive central nervous system depression, fever, coma, and death.
English Ivy – This is a very common decorative plant, and unfortunately, it’s toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Be aware that cats are often drawn to displays of this plant as it often drapes and dangles from its planter.
Garden Hyacinth – These beautiful and colorful spring bulbs are toxic to cats and dogs. The actual bulbs themselves are highly toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to triggering dermatologic and allergic reactions as well.
Buttercup – These little yellow flowers may sound yummy, but are toxic to horses, cats, and dogs. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, hyper-salivation, and wobbly gait.
Begonia – This common houseplant is toxic to both cats and dogs, and although it’s not necessarily deadly, eating this plant will cause intense burning of the mouth, tongue, lips, and gums, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, and vomiting. The tubers of the plant are the most toxic. Interesting note: Although the rootstock, tubers, and roots are poisonous, the flowers of the begonia are edible, and are used in some cultures for their tart flavor.
Of course, this isn’t a complete list of all the flowers and plants that can make your pet sick. Unfortunately, there are many many plants out there that can be dangerous to your pet, so for a complete list of what you should keep out of your garden this Spring, and want to avoid during your walks in the park and through the neighborhood, feel free to check ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants list just to be safe! And remember: If you think that your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance, be it a plant or something from under the sink, contact your local veterinarian or ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435. Although your garden may be lacking in a few pretty flowers this Spring, at least you can be 100% sure that Fido, Kitty, and Mr. Ed are safe!