Every year, thousands of dogs and cats are rushed to the vet after ingesting poisonous plants. While the following list is by no means all-inclusive, we will focus on plants commonly used for South Florida landscaping and holiday decorating.
Holly, Poinsettias, and Amaryllis
These Christmas favorites are very attractive to pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and ulcers. Keep out of your pet’s reach and call your vet immediately if you think they may have eaten some.
Carnations, Baby’s Breath, and Chrysanthemums
Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. But these particular varieties, whilst very popular, can cause illness in cats and dogs.
Asters, Lilies, and Tulips
These cut flowers are popular at Easter, but contain toxins that can sicken our pets. Keep these springtime favorites well away from curious pets.
Common House Plants
Spider plants, Dieffenbachia, Scheifflera and Pothos Ivy all contain toxins that can sicken our pets. Additionally, castor beans, while rarely grown indoors, are often used to make ornamental jewelry sold as souvenirs in Africa and the Caribbean. The ingestion of just a single bean can lead to organ failure and death! It is best to avoid bringing any jewelry made of beans or seeds into your home.
In The Garden
Oleander, Sago Palms, and certain species of Lantana can be be deadly if ingested by our pets. While some Lantana species are beneficial to our environment, the variety with multi-colored flowers and small purple berries should be avoided. In addition to being a problem for our pets, they are an invasive species that should not be planted in South Florida.
While many mushrooms are harmless to our pets, identifying individual species requires years of training and expertise. The false morel is highly toxic, and the bright yellow flowerpot mushroom is poisonous as well. Since mushrooms can literally pop up overnight, and pets seem naturally drawn to them, it is wise to be on the lookout for them, and to teach our pets to leave them alone.
If you suspect your pet has eaten a toxic plant, bring the plant with you when you take her to the vet. If your pet is NOT in distress, you can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. A nominal fee is usually charged for this service.