What plants are poisonous for cats and dogs?

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Filling your home and garden with plants can do wonders for your sense of wellbeing around the house. But while plants can make your home look and feel more inviting, purify the air and even reduce stress, it’s worth remembering that many plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. Over thousands of years, plants have evolved to deter animals from eating them — some produce harmful toxins, while others have physical defences like thorns. According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), there are at least 130 common garden plants that are known to cause injury to pets and humans after being touched or eaten. So, when your inquisitive pets are sniffing around your flowers and foliage, what can you do to keep them safe? Here’s how you can figure out which plants are toxic to dogs and cats to help you nip any problems in the bud. 

Which plants are poisonous to dogs?

You might be surprised to learn that daffodils, tulips and hyacinths are poisonous to dogs. If your pooch is prone to digging in flowerbeds, keep an eye on them — especially in the spring planting season — as ingesting the upturned bulbs can lead to vomiting, salivation and even bouts of fits. You should also keep any vases containing daffodils out of reach in case your dog drinks the water. Other plants toxic to dogs include azalea and nightshade, which can cause digestive problems and may even prove fatal. 

Which plants are poisonous to cats?

Cats are at particular risk of being poisoned by lilies; this is because your cat is more likely than a dog to rub up against the flower’s pollen. All parts of a lily are toxic to a cat if ingested — which sometimes happens inadvertently while the cat is grooming itself. Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, increased thirst and difficulty breathing. Also watch out for bouquet flowers such as sweet pea, ferns and marigold, as well as indoor rubber plants. Berries and leaves found on Christmas plants, like holly and mistletoe, are also harmful to cats. 

Which plants are safe for dogs and cats?

The good news is that dog and cat friendly plants are easy to find. If you’re looking for indoor plants, the money tree, spider plant and potted bamboo are perfectly safe for dogs and cats. In the garden, robust plants like nepeta, viburnum and astilbe are not only non-toxic, but can probably withstand your dog’s digging habits. Cat friendly plants include catmint — a firm favourite among moggies — while the likes of lavender, roses and violets are safe for cats to nibble, if you let them get away with it. 

What to do if your pet consumes a poisonous plant

If your pet has eaten or come into contact with any plants toxic to dogs or cats, you should take them to a vet straight away. You should tell the vet what you think your animal may have eaten, and if possible, bring a specimen of the plant for the vet to examine. Once you’ve determined the cause of the poisoning, you may want to remove the plant, taking care not to kill other nearby plants by leaving excessive traces of herbicide spray.

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