by Clayton Knowles
Beauty…and the Beast
With many of us living in large metropolitan areas away from nature, it is natural to want to bring nature to us. An easy way of accomplishing this is via houseplants. From reducing stress, boosting mood, and adding life to our living spaces, houseplants have been shown to be beneficial to humans. However, when it comes to our furry companions, some of these beautiful plants can be deadly. A complete list of all toxic plants would be too long, but here are seven of the most common household plants that you may see for sale. You may have them in your home right now.
Quick tip—when interviewing a pet sitter, see if they know about some of these plants, and the correct course of action to take if your dog or cat should become ill! But, even if they don’t, if the pet sitter gets along well with your animals and is willing to become educated, then that is a great situation for everyone!
Some dangerous plants for our pets
Aloe plants are known for having medicinal properties for humans, but for dogs and cats, ingestion of the plant may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, and a change in urine color.
Amaryllis is an easy to take care of bulb that adds a splash of color to a room when it blooms. Named after the Greek word amarysso meaning “to sparkle”, animals won’t be sparkling if they ingest this plant. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, and hyper-salivation.
Another favorite bulb for a home is the tulip. Tulips contain a toxin called Tulipalin A and B. The highest concentrations of these toxins occur in the bulb itself but are present in the stem and leaves. Signs that your animal has ingested parts of a tulip include vomiting, hyper-salivation, depression, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
A beautiful addition to a home is a lily flower. There are many varieties of this plant, some of which may pose a threat to your dog, but all can be extremely deadly to cats. After eaten, a cat may begin to drool, vomit, and lose his appetite. Ingestion may even lead to kidney failure.
Begonias are great as shade plants. but are potentially deadly to our furry friends. This plant contains a substance called oxalate. When this toxin is ingested it induces salivation, vomiting, swelling of the mouth, and oral sores. In sufficient amounts, liver failure may occur. The most poisonous part of the plant is actually underneath the soil in the roots.
The Sago Palm will bring a touch of the tropics to any space. It is however extremely dangerous for cats and dogs. Every part of this plant can harm your furry friend. This plant will cause vomiting, jaundice, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, coagulopathy (impairment to blood’s ability to clot), liver damage, liver failure and even death.
According to NASA the corn plant is one of the best air purifying plants to put in your home. It does not purify animals though. This plant will cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and hyper-salivation. In cats specifically it may cause difficulty breathing and an increased heart rate.
If you or your pet sitter suspect your animal has ingested any of these plants, or if your animal is acting differently than normal, don’t wait! Take the animal for care immediately.
For a complete list of poisonous plants for animals you or your pet sitter may refer to the local veterinarian and ask about poisonous plants. Not all houseplants are dangerous for our furry roommates. A short list of perfectly safe plants includes a money plant, bamboo palm, Boston fern, Dwarf Date palm, and Moth Orchids. With a little research and carefully selected plants cats, dogs and plants can co-exist wonderfully.