Today’s Solutions: September 28, 2023

The pandemic has created a surge in houseplant popularity, which is a lovely way to make an indoor space greener and even has its fair share of health benefits. However, if you also care for pets such as dogs or cats, then it’s best to be selective when bringing plants in to join your personal ecosystem.

How to recognize a toxic plant

As a responsible pet owner, you are probably already familiar with a few plants that are dangerous for your animals to consume. However, there are probably several other common household plants that you wouldn’t be able to identify. According to the Human Society, there are more than 700 poisonous plants that produce enough physiologically active or toxic substances to cause harm to animals. Fortunately, many of these won’t be sold by your local nursery, but knowing how to discern which plants are toxic and which are safe will put your mind at ease.

Experts from Garden Knowhow advise pet-parents to avoid plants with:

  • Milky sap
  • Naturally shiny leaves
  • Yellow or white berries
  • Umbrella-shaped plants

These factors are the most obvious visible signs of toxicity, however, if you have your eye on a certain plant then it’s best to supplement your knowledge by doing your own research or ask those working at the nursery.

What plants are known to be toxic to cats and dogs?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a list of ten plants that pet-owners should be wary of because of their prominence as decorative plants in homes and gardens:

  • Lilies can be toxic to both dogs and cats, but cats in particular experience much more severe effects.
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons can have different effects depending on how much of the flower has been ingested.
  • Sago palms are dangerous overall to pets but are highly toxic to smaller animals. The entire plant is toxic, but the seeds or nuts have the highest concentration of toxicity.
  • Tulips can cause severe stomach upset.
  • Hydrangeas contain cyanide, which could be incredibly dangerous.
  • Daffodils can cause severe stomach upset.
  • Hostas can also cause severe stomach upset.

Being well-informed and able to recognize toxic plants from pet-safe plants is the best way to keep your pets safe from intoxication; however, if you do see them chowing down on a plant that you suspect or know is dangerous, then be sure to get to a vet or emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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