Common garden plants poisonous to cats and dogs

  • Cats and dogs have a penchant for putting things in their mouth to chew or eat.

  • Cats tend to gravitate towards plastic, wool or anything that moves, and dogs – typically whatever it can get its chops around.

  • We need to be vigilant in ensuring that they don’t ingest items that could be harmful to their health.

So what about plants? We all love a beautiful garden, lovely houseplants or fresh cut flowers in the house, but did you know some of these flora are toxic to our canine and feline friends?

In order to prevent poisoning your beloved pet, avoid placing toxic plants in your home where they may have access to, or simply avoid buying them at all. Not allowing them chow down on unknown vegetation is key. Outdoors could be more difficult, especially if your cat or dog has a wide vicinity to roam.

Here is a list of common plants we’ve compiled from various sources as a guide for you to keep an eye out for. When you see your cat or dog suffering from symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, salivation, weakness, abnormal urine and any other abnormal behaviour, rush it to the vet immediately!

Aloe vera
This might be a shocking one. While Aloe vera is great for treating burns on humans, it is toxic to cats and dogs.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, anorexia, depression and change in urine colour.

A common garden ornament, beautiful, but toxic to cats and dogs. The bulbs in this plant contain the most toxins.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, hyper-salivation, anorexia, tremors and depression.

Azalea / Rhododendron
A common garden bush because of its beautiful blossoms. This plant is not only highly toxic and dangerous to cats and dogs, but it is also harmful to horses, goats and sheep. Ingesting just a couple of leaves can cause severe health issues.

Symptoms if ingested:
Acute digestive upset, hyper-salivation, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, colic, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, paralysis, depression, slow heart rate, weak heartbeat, and recumbency for two or more days. After two days, either there’s an improvement or the animal may become comatose and die.

Baby’s breath
Not the most toxic of plants to have in the house, but this sweet filler for many floral arrangements can cause digestive issues.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting and diarrhoea.

This popular garden plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. The tubers contain the most toxins.

Symptoms if ingested:
Oral irritation, intense burning sensation and irritation in the mouth, tongue and lips, hyper-salivation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Pretty and also not the most poisonous in our list. But, this lovely plant will cause some stomach upset and allergic reactions.

Symptoms if ingested:
Dermatitis and mild gastrointestinal signs.

Castor bean
This is a popular landscaping plant used in many parks and public spaces. So watch out for them when you’re walking your dog!

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, hyper-salivation, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. In severe cases, dehydration, muscle twitch, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

The flowers are great for brewing tea, but they will cause discomfort in your cat or dog.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper-salivation and dermatitis.

A very popular flowering plant and is commonly sold. It is toxic to cats and dogs, and the highest concentration of toxins is located in the root.

Symptoms if ingested:
Gastrointestinal irritation, intense vomiting, and death in some cases.

These pretty yellow spring flowers are toxic to cats and dogs. The bulbs contain the highest amount of toxins.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper-salivation, low blood pressure, convulsions if ingested in large quantities, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias.

They come in various colours and are great in the garden or used in floral arrangements. The bulb is the most toxic to cats and dogs.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper-salivation and lethargy.

An extremely popular house plant. Most cats and dogs are not intrigued by them, but they are toxic nonetheless. So, make sure your pet doesn’t try to chew on the leaves.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea and depression.

All varieties of ivy are poisonous to cats and dogs.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper-salivation and abdominal pain.

Curiously, lilies are not toxic to dogs, but these beautiful and fragrant plants are highly poisonous to cats. All varieties are dangerous even when only a small amount is ingested.

Symptoms if ingested:
Kidney failure.

This common garden plant is highly toxic to cats and dogs.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, depression, anorexia are the first symptoms, then followed by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid but weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and death.

Morning glory
Although one of the symptoms is hallucination and it might be funny to see a cat high or dog experiencing rubber reality, they also cause other harmful health issues.

Symptoms if ingested:
Hallucinations, gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia and anorexia.

All parts of this plant contain a toxic cardiac glycoside and can cause severe health problems in most animals and humans.

Symptoms if ingested:
Colic, diarrhoea, bloody stools, incoordination, breathing difficulties, muscle tremors, recumbency and death from cardiac failure.

This festive plant isn’t as toxic as most might think. They will cause some discomfort to your cat or dog, but nothing fatal.

Symptoms if ingested:
Irritation to the mouth, stomach upset and mild vomiting.

Common house plant, but not the most toxic in the list. However, they do cause adverse reactions when a cat or dog chews on it.

Symptoms if ingested:
Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation in the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Sago Palm
A popular landscaping plant and animals think they’re delicious. However, it is extremely poisonous. All parts of the plant is toxic, especially the seeds.

Symptoms if ingested:
Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure and death.

Tomato plant
This is a surprising one. Most of us love tomatoes and they smell great, but they will cause your cat or dog some significant discomfort.

Symptoms if ingested:
Hyper-salivation, inappetence, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhoea, drowsiness, depression, confusion, behavioural change, weakness, dilated pupils and slow heart rate.

Tulip / Narcissus
Beautiful flowering plant, but poisonous to cats and dogs. The bulb of the tulip and narcissus have the highest concentration of toxins. If your dog likes to dig, keep it far away from this plant!

Symptoms if ingested:
Severe gastrointestinal upset, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

Yew tree
Fantastic landscaping evergreen tree and is also the basis for a cancer treatment drug – Paclitaxel. All parts of the tree when ingested can be deadly to animals (except the flesh of the berry). Besides cats and dogs, it is especially harmful to horses.

Symptoms if ingested:
Central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.


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