Yes, they can! Garden shops and catalogs are pretty good at telling you what kind of sun and water exposure a plant will need, when to sow and how to care for it, but they rarely tell if it’s safe for your pet. The best way to save your pet from poisoning is to know what plants are not safe and to keep them away from your pet’s reach. Here are the most common poisonous plants:
Lilies – Highly toxic to cats. Ingestion of very small amounts of the plant, or even the pollen, could result in severe kidney damage and possibly death.
Marijuana – Can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizure and coma.
Sago Palm – All parts are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. Ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Tulip/Narcissus bulbs – Contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.
Azalea/Rhododendron – Contain substances know as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system. Severe case could lead to coma and death.
Oleander – All parts are considered to be toxic, as they have the potential to cause serious effects – including gastrointestinal irritations, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Castor Bean – Contains ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.
Cyclamen – Contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, it can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation and intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.
Kalanchoe – This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.
Yew – Contains a toxin known as taxine, which causes 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.
Amaryllis – Common garden plants popular around Easter, contains toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.
Autumn Crocus – Can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.
Chrysanthemum – Contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of the plant is consumed.
English Ivy – Contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.
Peace Lily and Schefflera – Contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue.
Pothos – If chewed or ingested, can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Please note that this plant list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. Always find out if each specific plant you have is safe for your pet.