March 14, 2024

Toxic Beauty: Keeping Your Pets Safe During Springtime, The Plants and Flowers to Reconsider

With Spring just around the corner, plants and flowers are starting to bloom. While many plants bring us great joy, do you know which ones to skip if you have pets at home and the signs to look for if you pets gets into them?

Courtney W. CVT
Dog Sniffing flowers

For ages, our holidays have become synonymous with flowers; Christmas time brings poinsettias, Easter brings lilies, and Halloween brings pumpkins. Recently, even house plants have gained popularity during the pandemic as they reminded us of the world while we were quarantined away from it. They bring much joy and beauty to our lives, but do you know which flowers and plants are safe to have around with our four-legged friends? With Spring around the corner, now is the time to change that! 

Please note that this list is not all-inclusive and that these toxins have been previously reported to have systemic and/or gastrointestinal effects on our pets. If you believe your pet has ingested any of these, seek medical attention immediately with your primary care veterinarian, an emergency veterinarian, and/or call a pet poison control number. 

Toxic Plant List By Family

Family Amaryllidaceae: 

This family includes Daffodil, Amaryllis, and Chives.

Symptoms of ingestion include: vomiting, drooling, and diarrhea. Large amounts can cause blood pressure to drop, tremors, irregular heart beat, convulsions, and blood in urine due to the breakdown of red blood cells. 

Family Apocynaceae:

This family includes the Oleander, Milkweed, and Periwinkle plants.

Symptoms of ingestion include: drooling, abdominal pain, diarrhea and gas, depression, and in worse case, death. 

Family Araceae: 

This family includes the Peace Lily, Monstera, Laceleaf, and Trumpet Lily.

Symptoms of ingestion include: oral irritation, intense burning of the mouth with irritation of the tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Family Asparagaceae:

This family includes Lily of the Valley.

Symptoms of ingestion include: vomiting, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, and seizures.

Family Compositae: 

This family, also known as Asteraceae, contains Mums, Daisies, Chrysanthemums, and Chamomile.

Symptoms of ingestion include: vomiting, diarrhea, severe drooling, incoordination, and skin rashes. 

Family Cycadaceae:

This includes the very deadly Sago Palm and other ornamental palms.

Symptoms of ingestion include: vomiting, bloody diarrhea, yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes (icterus), increased thirst, bruising, liver damage and failure, blood clotting issues, and death. 

Family Ericaceae: 

This family includes the Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Laurels.

Symptoms of ingestion include: vomiting, diarrhea, severe drooling, weakness, coma, depression, low blood pressure, and death. Even a few leaves can cause a problem. Symptoms can start a few hours after ingestion. 

Family Liliaceae: 

This family includes Aloe, lilies like Calla, Clivia, and Fire Lilies, Autumn Crocus, Garlic, Hyacinth, Onions, Leeks, Hostas, and Tulips.

The toxins in this family vary but cause vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and the breakdown of red blood cells. 

Family Myrtaceae: 

This family includes Eucalyptus, and the symptoms of ingestion are often salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and weakness. 

Family Proteaceae:

This family includes Macadamia nuts. The toxic principle is unknown, but ingestion can cause depression, increased body temperature, weakness, muscular stiffness, vomiting, tremors, and an increased heart rate. 

Family Rosaceae: 

This family includes crabapples, apricots, black cherry, peaches, and plums.

The stems, seeds, and leaves, especially wilting, contain cyanide. When eaten, symptoms include bright red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and shock. 

If you think you pet has ingested any of these plants, it is important to contact your veterinarian or a pet poison center (855-764-7661 or 888-426-4435) right away.