Many of us have pets, or as I call them, four-legged children. But did you know many common flowers and plants are poisonous to animals? We all know cats and dogs are prone to eating weird things. We have all seen dogs and cats both eat grass. I have a dog that loves LEGOs. I once fostered a cat who ate cardboard (so much for that scratching toy). That same cat regularly ate one particular plant in my house. Even though he was adopted months ago, my plant still has his teeth marks. Today, I'd like to discuss some common plants and flowers that are toxic to dogs and cats, as well as the symptoms you can expect if your beloved pet eats one of these plants.
Please note, if your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea, or exhibits any signs that something is wrong, there are several 24-hour vets in the Oklahoma City Metro: Animal Emergency and Surgery Center at 931 W. I-240 Service Road (405.631.7828), Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Hospital at 1800 West Memorial (405.749.6989), All Hours Animal Hospital and Emergency Center at 609 NW 8th Street, Moore, OK (405.237-1055).
Alocasia, more commonly called elephant's ear, are very toxic to dogs and cats. Symptoms: Excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
Aloe vera: great for cuts, burns and scrapes, but it is best to keep it away from your pets. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and depression.
Amaryllis are beautiful bulb flowers, and I've written about them in the past. These are toxic to dogs and cats (the bulbs contain the most toxins). Symptoms include excessive drooling, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.
Azaleas, popular for their bright, beautiful colors, are extremely toxic to pets, and they do not have to eat much to become very sick. Symptoms include diarrhea, loss of coordination, excessive drooling, stupor and leg paralysis.
Baby's breath. Who would have thought such a sweet little flower would be poisonous? Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.
Begonias. I have a covered, raised flower bed that I plant begonias in every single year. I had no idea they were poisonous! Symptoms include oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Carnations. They are beautifully fragrant. I wonder if the scent entices animals to have a little nibble. Fortunately, symptoms from carnation poisoning are mild digestive upset and mild dermatitis.
Castor bean. These won't be included in a florist's bouquet or planted in most people's gardens, but please be aware of these plants. The beans of the plant are highly toxic to pets and humans. The beans contain ricin, which is one of the nastiest naturally occurring poisons. Symptoms include drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and in severe cases, tremors, seizures and death.
Chrysanthemums. Popular fall flowers, if ingested these plants can cause excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.
Please note I have not listed all of the symptoms for each particular plant or flower. If you fear your pet has been poisoned, go immediately to the nearest vet.
This concludes part one of this blog series. Please check back next week for more plants and flowers that are toxic to your family pets.
Stay warm and safe, Oklahoma!