We are true advocates of beautiful gardens and helping you get the most enjoyment possible out of your plants. However, enjoyment and beauty must always be balanced against safety and, unfortunately, many common plants and flowers are poisonous when consumed. This might not be a problem to most people, who are capable of understanding that something poisonous should not be eaten. But our pets, including cats and dogs, are less able to comprehend this danger and, on the contrary, rely on their nose and tongue as a way to explore their surroundings.
Pet specialists James Wellbeloved have identified many of the UK’s most popular house and garden plants which are toxic to cats and dogs. Some of them are so poisonous that only a nibble of a few leaves can be fatal. Therefore, in the interest of ensuring your cat and dog stay healthy, we recommend pet owners avoid the following house and garden plants.
Caladium is a popular house plant in the UK because it grows in a variety of beautiful colours and requires low light. Unfortunately, our pets find them just as attractive as we do. Any part of the plant is poisonous and cause painful irritation in the mouth, throat and tongue. This can lead to the airways swelling and difficulty breathing. Nausea, vomiting and dizziness are also common side effects.
Ivy and lilies are other common house plants (as well as outdoor plants) which cause toxic reactions. The latter is especially dangerous as cats and dogs sometimes don’t even mean to eat them, but brush up against the lilies only to later ingest the pollen while grooming themselves. However, more dangerous still is oleander; consuming just a few leaves can be fatal to large mammals, let alone cats and dogs.
The smell of plants, the buzzing of insects and the bright-coloured flowers are all attractive to cats and dogs and invite them to taste the plants in your garden or in nearby fields. Some plants, like the potato plant or cyclamen, are more dangerous to dogs because the root is the most toxic part of the plant and some dogs can’t resist but to dig these up.
Hyacinths and tulips are a notable risk because they are such popular plants in UK gardens for their sweet smell, but consuming any part can result in severe reactions in cats and dogs.
Other popular but toxic plants include:
- Daffodils and azaleas (if consumed in large quantities)
- Autumn Crocus
- Grape vine
Consider Safe Alternatives
The full list of toxic plants is extensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe alternatives you can plant instead, giving you peace of mind that your pet is safe, while still allowing you to enjoy a beautiful home and garden. The majority of cats and dogs don’t eat plants, especially after they have explored them once or twice already. However, considering how toxic and potentially fatal some plants can be, they aren’t worth the risk to your pet’s health.
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