Spring is in the air and we can’t wait to see flowers, flowers everywhere! Nothing says ‘winter is over’ like a patch of freshly sprung daffodils in the front yard or a pot of Easter lilies on the kitchen counter. Just remember that our four-legged friends may find them just as enticing, but instead of sitting back and admiring their beauty they may, of course, just want to eat them! Cats are notorious for sampling household flowers, though young puppies and busy, nosey adult dogs are also prone to indulge in potted plants and freshly planted flowers in the garden. Some plants are harmless, while others can be very dangerous when ingested, mainly due to their naturally occurring organ damaging toxins.
The following is a list of some common household plants that can cause organ damage when eaten:
- Azaleas– Any part of the plant can damage the respiratory system and/or the kidneys.
- Juniper– Berries and leaves can cause kidney failure.
- Crocus– Any part of this plant can damage the respiratory system, the liver, and/or the kidneys.
- Lily– Any part of this plan can cause kidney failure.
The plants listed below are even more dangerous, as they can lead to death when eaten:
- Cyclamen– The tubers and roots of cyclamen, when ingested in large amounts, can create heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures, and death.
- Dumb Cane– Any part of these houseplants can cause convulsions and death.
- Agapanthus– Any part can cause oral irritation, intense burning, vomiting, and death.
- Sago Palms– Any part can cause convulsions and death.
- Azaleas– When any part of this plant is ingested in large amounts it can cause kidney failure, convulsions, and death.
- Delphinium– This plant and its seeds can cause convulsions and death.
- Foxglove– The leaves, stems, and roots can cause heart failure and death.
- Oleander– Any part of this plant can cause liver failure, convulsions, and death.
- Larkspur– This plant and its seeds can cause convulsions and death.
- Rhododendron– Any part of this plant can cause kidney failure, convulsions, and death.
- Lantana– The leaves, flowers, and berries of this plant can cause multiple organ failures, convulsions, and death.
Of course, this is only a select list, there are other plants out there like daffodils, carnations, hydrangeas, and tulips, that can cause minor or severe digestive upsets, while other milder effects like topical irritation can occur from primrose and chrysanthemums. If your pet seems to be having complications from any of these, please call poison control or your veterinarian right away. For a more extensive list of plants and flowers, visit the ASPCA’s useful reference guide on plant toxicity!