Plants Toxic for your Pets

By: Dr. Ryan Bullock

Found in the Mid-April Issue of The Canyon Lake Views

Spring has sprung in the Texas Hill Country and I’ll bet that many of you have taken advantage of the nice weather to do a little gardening. But, did you know that some of the plants you may be planting are poisonous to your pets if eaten? Here is a list of some plants commonly used in landscaping that are toxic to cats and dogs.

Sago Palms: This has become a very popular plant for landscaping in this area because they are low maintenance and the deer don’t seem to eat them. Unfortunately, they are extremely poisonous to dogs and cats. The seeds or “nuts” contain the highest concentration of the toxin and ingestion of just 1 or 2 seeds can have serious effects. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and liver failure are likely outcomes to ingestion of these seeds. I have seen 3 dogs poisoned by this plant over the past 3 months. One seems to be doing OK, but unfortunately the other 2 have died of liver failure. If you have pets I highly recommend you remove your Sago Palms from your landscaping.

Lilies: Members of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species are considered highly toxic to cats. Ingestion of just 1 leaf can result in severe kidney damage and death in cats. If you have cats, do not have lilies! Its just too risky that your curious cat may try a leaf or two.

Oleander: All parts of this plant are considered toxic for pets. Results of ingestion are GI irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and death.

Castor Bean: These beans are commonly made into necklaces. The poisonous component here is Ricin. Chewing on these necklaces can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, seizures, coma and death.

Some other plants that are toxic to pets include Tulips, Azaleas, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Yew, Chrysanthemum, Amaryllis, English Ivy, Autumn crocus, Pothos, and Schefflera. I don’t have enough room to list EVERY toxic plant in this article, but a more information is available with the Animal Poison Control Center at: or 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.

I would be especially careful if you are or plan to be the proud new owner of a puppy or kitten as these youngsters will literally eat anything and have a higher risk of getting into trouble. Take a list of toxic plants for pets with you next time you go to the nursery to spruce up your landscaping.


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