Having an array of beautiful plants surrounding your home can help to heal and relax any person residing there or be inviting for your friends, however, certain commonly known plants can cause real dangers to your loved pets. From simple gastrointestinal upsets to more life-threatening incidents can occur from chewing or licking them. Here is a short list of the common plants seen in most gardens in Australia that may affect your pet if ingested.
The Australian Ivy Palm, commonly known as The Umbrella Tree, can be seen in numerous backyards and often extremely toxic to dogs, cats and horses. You can tell if your pet has been chewing on this plant by having much oral irritation - excessive drooling, throat and tongue swelling and difficulties breathing.
Barbados Aloe, sometimes known as the Medicine Plant kept around the house for treating sunburn and minor skin inflammations. It does not require much watering and is great for the arid regions. The gel substance within, also considered edible but definitely not for your pets, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea in dogs and cats.
Baby Doll Ti Plant, one of the Cordyline family of plants, commonly known as the Good Luck Plant. A pretty plant that give great splashes of colour to any garden. By ingesting this plant, your pet may experience vomiting with blood, depression, hypersalivation and your cat may also have dilated pupils.
Begonia's are delicate flowering plants that are typically grown in pots.There is over 1,000 different species and more than 10,000 hybrids available. This plant contains soluble calcium oxalates which contributes to kidney failure, vomiting and drooling. The most toxic parts are of the roots.
Charming Dieffenbachia, is one of those plants that survive well indoors and helps to filter out the excess carbon dioxide and other household pollutants that lurk in our homes. But for a cat or dog, this beauty has not only the soluble calcium oxalates, but also a proteolytic enzyme which causes vomiting, oral swelling and pain of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling and difficulty swallowing.
Dracaena's, also known as The Ribbon Plant, is a great starter plant that provides wonderful colour and shape. As you cut the stem, it produces more shoots from the side and the cut portion can be placed straight in the soil without rooting mix. This plant has a principle toxin called Saponins. For cats and dogs, vomiting with blood is seen as well as hypersalivation and in cats the pupils will become dilated.
Heartleaf Philodendron, also called Panda Plant, is a very easy plant to care for. Typically grown in water or soil for indoors, but watch it grow if you place in the garden. The vines can reach new highs in a very short time. The insoluble calcium oxalates are responsible for oral irritations, swelling of the tongue, lips and mouth, excessive drooling and difficulty swallowing. Same can be said for the Peace Lily (spathiphyllum), tulips, azaleas and oleanders.
Periwinkle, commonly known as Running Myrtle or Vinca, used as a ground cover that flowers colour all year round not dependant on climate variations. This special plant also has the ability to enhance our health, typically used in folk medicine for a wide variety of illnesses like ocular inflammation, stings and bite, diabetes and cancers. But for dogs and cats, they can be made sick from the vinca alkaloids displaying low blood pressure, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, coma and ultimately death.
As you can see, there is some pretty hazardous substances found within our common plants that most gardens will have on display. A website for poisonous plants can be found at ASPCA.
If you suspect your animal has been affected by a plant toxin, it is important to seek medical care from a veterinarian and call APCC 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.