Most pets use their sense of smell and taste to investigate things that are new to them,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “When they come across interesting plants or other items, their first reaction is to smell it, which often leads to tasting it.”
Being aware of poisonous plants and substances can help avoid potential dangers that can result in emergency trips to the veterinarian.
4 of the most dangerous summertime plants:
Popular in warmer climates, this household and outdoor plant can be extremely harmful to pets. All parts of the plant, including the fronds/leaves, nuts and seeds are especially poisonous to dogs. Ingesting just a small amount can cause severe vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death. This plant is one of the most deadly to dogs and long-term survival is poor when ingested. Without treatment, sago palm poisoning can result in severe, irreversible liver failure. Prompt treatment is essential for the best prognosis.
Lily of the Valley
When ingested by pets, the Convallaria majalis plant, also known as Lily of the Valley, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures. This plant contains cardiac glycosides, which are also used in many human heart medications. Any pet with a known exposure should be examined by a veterinarian and treated based on their symptoms. Treatment may include blood pressure monitoring, heart monitoring, and, in severe cases, an expensive antidote to bind the toxin.
There are two types of Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring and the other in the autumn. The spring plants are more common and cause only gastrointestinal upset accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. However, the autumn Crocus, also known as Meadow Saffron or Colchicum Autumnale, are highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, and multisystem organ failure with bone marrow suppression. Symptoms may be seen immediately but can also be delayed for days. If you witness your pet eating a crocus and you are not sure what variety it is, it’s best to seek veterinary care immediately for decontamination and treatment.
Fertilizers or soil additives
In addition to flowers and plants, there are other gardening-related dangers that pet owners should be aware of, such as fertilizers and pesticides. While fertilizers are typically fairly safe for pets, those that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron may be especially tasty – and dangerous – to them Large ingestions of these products can form a concretion in the stomach, obstructing the gastrointestinal tract and causing severe pancreatitis. Also ingestion of pesticides and insecticides, especially if they contain any organophosphates, can be life-threatening, even when ingested in small amounts.
Enjoy the outdoors with your dog, but always be aware. If you think a pet may have ingested something harmful, take action immediately and contact your veterinarian. Learn more at Pet Poison Helpline.
See also, 10 Plants that Can Poison Pups.