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Poisonous Plants for Pets – Be certain that flowers and plants are safe for pets

Plant a Beautiful Spring Garden and Keep Pets Safe

by Jo Singer Published April 8, 2013

Be certain that flowers and plants are safe for pets


The expression, “April showers bring May flowers” heralds the arrival of a wealth of beautifully colored florets that many of us have been looking forward to all winter. At the same time however many of these gorgeous blossoms are dangerous to pets. Since spring is the time that folks get busy planting and gardening, it’s wise for green-thumbed pet guardians to familiarize themselves with the varieties of toxic spring plants that are highly toxic to cats and dogs.

Tulips and hyacinths are one of the most popular bulbs that many gardeners choose to use to decorate around their homes. The leaves and flowers of Tulips and Hyacinths aren’t toxic, according to veterinarian, Karen Becker, but the bulbs of both varieties contain allergenic lactone which is toxic to dogs and cats. Symptoms of pets being poisoned by these two plants are vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, changes in breathing and an increase in their heart rate. Since there is no antidote for this toxin, Dr. Becker cautions that severe symptoms must be treated immediately.

The bulbs, flowers and leaves of daffodils contain an alkaloid called lycorine. If a pet licks or ingests any part of this plant, it can cause mouth irritation and excessive drooling. This alkaloid can also trigger gastric symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. More serious reactions to lycorine can range from heart problems and upper respiratory distress, and also must be treated immediately Some varieties of lilies (the Calla, Peace and Peruvian) are relatively harmless to cats. If they are ingested some minor digestive upsets and drooling may result. However lilies that are extremely toxic to cats are the Day Lily, the Japanese Show, Tiger, Asiatic, Easter and the Stargazer. If a kitty ingests just a miniscule amount of these plants or their pollen, it can result in kidney failure and even death. This is an extreme emergency situation; prompt medical treatment is essential in order to save the cat’s life.

The Lily of the Valley is toxic to both cats and dogs, with a toxic level of moderate to severe. Symptoms of Lily of the Valley poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, slowed heart rate, and severe heart arrhythmias.

If a cat or dog has been exposed to this plant, contact your veterinarian, an emergency clinic or contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.

Jo Singer Shortly after retiring as a social worker and psychotherapist, I discovered my “writer’s voice”…

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