Pet owners should avoid growing these potentially deadly plants

Garden centers have increased labeling of houseplants that may be poisonous to pets. Azaleas, castor beans, cyclamens, daffodils, types of lilies and sago palms are considered to be the most harmful to pets.

Spring is here, and that means gardeners will be busy removing plants that did not survive the winter and replacing that dead vegetation with new, colorful life. Animal care experts warn that before you buy new plants, it is essential to know which ones can be potentially harmful to pets.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 8% of inquiries they receive via a hotline are related to indoor and outdoor plant ingestion.

Due to toxins in plants, some can cause temporary discomfort, while encounters with others may be fatal if enough of the plant is ingested. The American Kennel Club has warned that toxins and poisons can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, vomiting, kidney or liver damage and even respiratory failure.

"The toxic plants will make a dog very sick, but the chances of them dying are not high," said an operator at Fawn’s Small Dog Rescue, a Florida-based non-profit. "You would still need to seek veterinary care or medical attention."

Plants that are considered to be poisonous can lead to severe reactions and even death.



In order to help prevent exposure to harmful plants, animal care groups said garden centers over the years have improved warnings and labels that communicate the dangers that certain plant species can cause. Guides found in garden centers typically label plants as either pet-friendly, toxic or poisonous.

Toxic plants include carnations, gardenias, hibiscus bushes and the holiday-favorite poinsettias. Types that are considered even more dangerous to pets, in the poisonous category, include azaleas, castor beans, cyclamens, daffodils, lilies and sago palms.

Many of these plants grow in hardiness zones that are greater than an eight, where temperatures during the winter usually remain above extremely low levels and prevent the ultimate demise of the vegetation during the colder months.


Dr. Jerry Klein, a veterinarian with the American Kennel Club, suggested keeping a close eye on your property to identify any plants that may be poisonous.

In addition to the dozens of species to be alert for, the ASPCA reminded pet owners always to be mindful of fertilizers and mulch. Ingesting some of these outside products can lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, muscle tremors and weakness.

If you think your pet ingested a potentially poisonous substance, the ASPCA operates a 24-hour hotline to answer questions. You can all the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.