Common Plants that Could Poison Your Pets

Before you plant your garden or buy some new houseplants, do you know which plants are harmful or deadly to your pets? Don’t make your selection until you’ve consulted the professional at your plant nursery. If you’re still not sure, or if you buy from a store that doesn’t employ specialists, the ASPCA provides a printable list for handy reference at ASPCA.org. Your pet’s life may depend on it.

Also remember that lawn chemicals can be poisonous to your pets, especially for dogs that like to eat grass. If you have to spray some kind of pesticide, ask your veterinarian for one that won’t harm your pets.

You may discover that you already have some plants that could be poisonous. If so, you might be able to keep your pets away from them by spraying the plants with a lemon juice and water mix. But keep a close eye on the pets to be sure they are not eating them anyway.

You can also distract your cats away from toxic greenery if you plant a patch of catnip or catmint, which should draw their attention away. They can munch on these leaves without problems.

Beware of Holiday Plants That May be Deadly

It’s easy to forget about your animals when you bring in the traditional holiday plants of the season. Here are some tips from the Michigan Poison Control Center concerning holiday plants to avoid or at least guard:

– Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats.

– Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.

– Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems. However, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset.

– Holly ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

If You Suspect That Your Pets Might Have Eaten Something Poisonous, ActImmediately

Symptoms can include dizziness, drowsiness, troubled breathing, abnormal thirst, mouth irritation, depression (or excitement) drooling, staggering, tremors, loss of coordination, seizures, and collapse. Or, if you notice any behavior that is highly unlike your pet, call your veterinarian right away.

In extreme cases, death can occur in as little as 15 minutes, so act fast. However, take a few seconds to collect what your pet vomited or chewed in a plastic bag, and also some of the original plant, since the only certain way to diagnose the pet’s symptoms is if the plant can be definitely identified.

If you can’t reach your vet, call the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Poison Control Center (MPCC) 800-222-1222. They ask that you be prepared to tell them:

– Your name, address and telephone number
– Information about the substance your pet consumed, the type plant, how much was ingested, and how long since the pet was exposed to the plant
– The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
– The agent your animal(s) has been exposed to, if known
– The problems your animal(s) is experiencing

According to MPCC it is a good idea to keep a pet safety kit handy. Here is what they recommend:

– A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% (USP)
– Can of soft pet food
– Turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe
– Saline eye solution to flush eyes
– Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing
– Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid to bathe an animal after skin contamination
– Rubber gloves to prevent exposure while you bathe the animal
– Forceps to remove stingers
– Muzzle to control the animal you while it is excited or in pain
– Pet carrier for transporting to veterinarian

If you love your pets, protect them from plants that may seem attractive to them but can prove deadly. Also be aware of plants in areas where you walk your dogs or other pets.

If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, that is probably because he or she did not inherit the tendency which is passed down from the parent cats.Here is an alphabetical list of toxic plants from the ASPCA.org, key in “toxic plants.” The ASPCA also sells a book you might find handy, The Household Plant Reference, available on their Web site. ASPCA: List of Toxic Plants

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