Watch out for your house and garden plants!


Did you know?

Many of the plants in our environment represent a real danger for dogs and cats. They ingest them usually out of curiosity and for their particular taste. Whether they are potted plants, fresh cut flowers or garden plants, these plants contain a wide range of toxic molecules that can induce digestive, urinary or neurological symptoms.


Common toxic plants

 Azalea (Rhododendron ssp)

When ingested, the toxin in this plant will cause neuromuscular signs (weakness, paralysis, seizures) as well as digestive upset (salivation, vomiting) and heart arrhythmias in both the dog and cat.


Oleander (Nerium oleander )

The toxic molecule in the oleander is present in every part of the plant and the ingestion of only a few leaves can cause sudden death secondary to cardiac arrhythmias. Other symptoms can include: vomiting, weakness and ataxia. Both the dog and cat are sensitive to the toxin.


Lily (Lilium spp)

The exact component responsible the Lily’s toxicity is not known but seems to be present in every part of the plant including the pollen. Dogs will mainly develop digestive signs such as vomiting but cats are particularly sensitive to the toxin and only a few leaves can rapidly lead to neurological signs, kidney failure and death.


Ognons, garlic, chives (Allium ssp)

The toxin from the Allium family will cause damage to red blood cells with resulting anemia (decrease in red blood cell number). Symptoms include: weakness, pale mucous membranes, rapid breathing reddish urine. Dogs and cats are equally sensitive to the toxin.


Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)

The toxalbumine in this plant is extremely toxic. The ingestion of very small amounts can cause very severe symptoms. The bean is the most toxic, often lethal, part of the plant. Rapidly, within 24 hours, both dogs and cats will develop severe vomiting and abdominal pain, hemorrhagic diarrhea and weakness and staggering.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of plants that frequently cause signs of intoxication:

  • Marijuana
  • Sago palm tree
  • Tulip and Narciss bulbs
  • Cyclamen
  • Amaryllis
  • Fall Crocus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Soaring pothos
  • Ivy
  • Schefflera


Steps to take in case of intoxication: 

  • Stay calm!
  • Take a moment to write down the product/plant that is possibly the cause as well as the amount ingested. Bring the product/plant to your veterinarian with your pet.
  • Immediately call your veterinarian and /or Poison Control Center.
  • DO NOT induce vomiting without talking to a medical professional first.
  • Bring any vomitus or stool that could contain the toxic plant /substance.


Better late than never!

Clinical signs of intoxication can occasionally take quite some time to appear. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect that your pet has ingested a plant or potentially toxic substance.


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