In the long days of summer, we all want to enjoy relaxing in our beautiful gardens or walking through blooming meadows. The colours and smells don’t only serve to attract us, but birds and insects which add to the allure. Consequently, all these attractive sights, sounds and smells are as thrilling for our pet cats and dogs as for us.
While you might appreciate the sweet scent of a flower and prettiness of a plant and then move on, for cats and dogs, this is an invitation to have a taste. Pet experts at James Wellbeloved explain that cats and dogs explore the world through their nose and their tongue, so some of the plants and flowers that we grow in our garden can be as irresistible to them as a bowl of food. Unfortunately, many of these are toxic to our beloved pets and can cause severe poisoning.
Whilst we all strive for a beautiful garden, those of us with pets must be responsible and ensure they are safe. Thus, you take steps to ensure your pet cannot access the following plants and flowers in your home or garden.
Signs your pet has ingested something poisonous
The list of toxic plants and flowers below is by no means complete; there are too many for one article. And that’s not to mention how some plants (e.g. potatoes) are poisonous for dogs but not for cats.
However, instead of refraining from planting anything altogether, pet owners should keep an eye out for the most common symptoms that your cat or dog has been poisoned:
- Bloody stool
- Diarrhoea, constipation and/or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Drooling more than usual
- Dry mouth and drinking more than usual
- High fever
- Irritation in and around the mouth
- Loss of appetite or sudden emaciation
- Rapid heart rate
Any one of the above symptoms can be considered serious in dogs or cats, while two or more should be treated as extremely urgent. In all cases, visit your vet as soon as possible.
While the full list of plants which can induce toxic symptoms is much longer, the following plants and flowers are considered the most common offenders for causing poisoning in cats and dogs in the UK. Thus, these are the plants and flowers we recommend pet owners take the most consideration before planting in your own gardens.
Entire flower or plant is poisonous
The following flowers and plants are considered entirely poisonous for cats and dogs. Owners should take their pet to the vet if they suspect any part of these plants has been consumed.
- Autumn Crocus
- Lily of the Valley
- Sweet Pea
- Daisy (in high quantities)
Poisonous roots, bulbs and sprouts
While all parts of these flowers and plants might cause poisoning in your dog or cat (especially tulips and daffodils), it is the roots, bulbs and sprouts which are especially dangerous.
Poisonous leaves and berries
Similarly, it should not be assumed that eating any part of these plants or flowers is healthy for your pet, but it is the leaves and berries which are most poisonous.
- Caladium (in high quantities)
- Azaleas (in high quantities)
- Grape Vine
- Lilies (especially Asiatic, Day, Easter, Japanese Show and Tiger lilies)
The majority of cats and dogs eat plants and flowers in such small quantities that only the most lethal are a cause for concern. So, rather than utterly avoiding the above flowers and plants, instead, consider your pet’s behaviour.
If they eat a lot of your plants, you should either avoid planting toxic flowers or else find a way to keep your cat or dog away from them. Only if you cannot do this should you consider avoiding these plants and flowers altogether, and instead finding less toxic alternatives.
For all other cats and dogs, simply be aware of which common plants are toxic to your pet and, if your cat or dog show any of the symptoms of poisoning, be ready to take a quick visit to the vet.