Plants are easy prey for herbivores. Unable to evade hungry predators, many botanicals developed chemicals in order to stay safe and alive. They look so beautiful, and yet, many plants are capable of causing various maladies in both animals and people. To keep your pet safe around poisonous plants (inside the home and in the great outdoors), we offer some effective strategies:
You have to hand it to plants. Their methods of self-preservation are nothing short of incredible. Unfortunately, when pets are exposed to certain chemicals found in poisonous plants, their lives can be at risk. Depending on the plant, and how much of it is ingested, symptoms range between minor irritation and death.
While many pets ignore plants, all it takes is one uncharacteristic sampling to land them in hot water. The removal of all toxic plants in their environment, regardless of whether or not a pet has shown interest in eating them, is the best place to begin. This means potted plants inside the home, as well as varieties grown in landscaping beds, should be completely eliminated.
Behavior Around Plants
Sadly, you cannot control what grows wild or in nearby lots. That’s when training your pet to avoid plants comes in handy. Notice if your pet likes to munch on grass, leaves, stems, and sticks. They may also like to roll around in garden beds or dig around fence lines.
Reward them with a high-value, delicious treat to deter them from anything green. Over time, you should see them naturally bypassing even the most innocuous plants.
The Who’s Who of Poisonous Plants
The following poisonous plants are the most common specimens found in and around American homes:
- English ivy
- Sago palm
- Castor bean
- Spanish Thyme
Noticeably absent from the list above? Lilies, of course! Known to be one of the most dangerous plants for pets, they are also one of the most universal. Dogs can become very sick if they eat lilies, but cats can face death if not treated immediately. Simply inhaling pollen from lilies can be toxic to pets.
Effects of Poisonous Plants
Poisonous plants can cause various symptoms, but the following signs should never be ignored:
- Lethargy, depression, or withdrawal
- Trouble walking or breathing
- Not eating or drinking
Among other long-term issues, the consumption of poisonous plants can cause irreparable kidney damage.
If you know or suspect that your pet got into some poisonous plants, try to gather up any evidence. It may be helpful to diagnose and treat your pet effectively if we know exactly what we’re dealing with.