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Plants and flowers that are harmful to pets

Plants and flowers that are harmful to pets

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As the weather warms up and we emerge from the gloom of winter it’s nice to spend time outdoors. The same is true for our pets. Our cats will choose to go exploring instead of curling up by the fire, our dogs will happily romp about sniffing everything in sight. And that’s where the problems can begin. Our unsuspecting furry friends may inadvertently encounter a harmful plant or flower on their travels. Nibbling the petals, leaves or bulbs, or licking pollen of certain garden favourites from their coats can make them ill or, worse still, poison their bodies beyond veterinary help.

In practice, there is little we can do to stop our free roaming pets from finding such plants outside of the home, but there is much we can do to improve the safety of their immediate environment in our own gardens. So now spring has sprung, take a little time to check out your pet’s outdoor pad and make sure their exposure to the following plants and flowers is kept to a minimum.

Common Flowers and Plants that are Toxic to Dogs

  • Daffodils – the bulbs are especially harmful
  • Castor Oil bush – the seeds are particularly enticing to dogs
  • Lilies and Lily of the Valley
  • Laburnum
  • Cherry Laurel
  • Azalea
  • Some species of Ivy
  • Foxgloves
  • Rhubarb

Common Flowers and Plants that are Toxic to Cats

  • Azalea
  • Crocus
  • Foxgloves
  • Lilies and Lily of the Valley
  • Juniper
  • Cardboard Palm
  • Larkspur
  • Lantana
  • Rhododendron
  • Mistletoe
  • Cyclamen
  • Delphinium

These lists are not exhaustive – there are many other plants that can cause irritation and mild-to-severe reactions in cats or dogs. Simply having them in your garden is not a problem – the issue arises if your pet seems particularly drawn to or interested in them. Be vigilant, be prepared to change your garden flowers and plants if necessary, to protect your pet.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

Plants and flowers that are harmful to petsIt’s always wise to keep a watchful eye on the behaviour of your pet- after all, they can’t tell you when they are feeling poorly. But poisons in their bodies present a particular range of symptoms, it’s important that as a responsible owner you know how to recognise the signs, you can arrange for prompt treatment should the need arise:

  • Drooling and rapid breathing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Irritation of the skin or mouth
  • Fever and dizziness or loss of balance
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Seizures and fitting
  • Disorientation
  • Unusual lethargy or depression
  • Weakness
  • Increased need for water

A Note on Chemicals and Pesticides

Be aware that any chemical you use in your garden could be potentially harmful to your pet. Cocoa Mulch, for example, is often used on flowerbeds and can be lethal to dogs. Take care when looking after your garden, make sure you look after your pet too – they are relying on you to help keep them safe.



About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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