Live Well

The Most Toxic Plants for Pets

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an average of 150,000 cases of pet toxicity are reported by concerned pet owners each year. A quarter of these potential pet poisoning calls are due to plant ingestion. As a pet owner, it’s important to ensure the plants you bring inside your house, are non-toxic for your beloved cat or dog. Several varieties of indoor houseplants, garden variety and wildflowers, and even trees and shrubs may lead to vomiting, weakness, and death if inhaled or ingested.

According to the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the following plants are toxic to dogs and cats:

  1. Tulips
    Considering that the SPCA lists tulip bulbs as toxic to horses, you should take extra precautions around cats and dogs, which are prone to digging up your garden. Just chewing and ingesting a small portion of a tulip bulb may lead to mouth and throat irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, and depression.
  2. Lilies
    If you’re considering a lily for your home, or for a gift for a pet owner, steer clear of lilies in varieties such as Amaryllis, Day lily, Easter lily, Tiger, stargazer, calla lily, red lily, western or wood lily, Japanese lily, Rubrum, Asiatic, and lilium or lily of the valley. All of these lily variations contain oxalate crystals, which may irritate the throat, mouth, tongue, and esophagus of pets, resulting in lethargy, dehydration, and diarrhea. The most fatal are Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese lilies. If your cat ingests even a few petals or leaves, he or she can suffer severe kidney failure and death.
  3. Oleander
    This ornamental shrub is a popular indoor decoration. However, when you consider that just 10 little leaves can kill a cow or human being, oleander poses a more serious threat to cats and dogs. All parts of the oleander plant contain glycoside, a cardiac toxin that can lead to colic, diarrhea, muscle spasms, breathing difficulty, heart failure, and death
  4. Daffodils
    This bright spring flower may be welcome in your garden, but don’t bring them indoors or let your cat or dog dig them up in your garden. Daffodil flowers, like hyacinths, contain a vomit inducing alkaloid, known as lycorine. Plus, crystals contained in the outer layer of the bulb may lead to excessive drooling, diarrhea, abdominal pain, respiratory issues, and heart arrhythmias.
  5. Sago palm
    Often referred to as a King Sago, this ornamental tree is common as an indoor decoration. However, according to SPCA records, almost 75% of pet poisonings are a direct result from cats and dogs ingesting this specific palm tree. In fact, calls to the SPCA after sago palm ingestion by pets has risen every single year. All parts of this plant are toxic to pets, particularly the seeds.