Pet Owners Be Aware of Harmful Plants

June 21, 2009

Kitty Boni, who “owns” our friend Robyn Harton, loves munching cat grass, but is glad that Robyn keeps dangerous plants out of the way. Plants can cause major problems for your pets. According to Dr. William Buck, director of the National Animal Poison Control Center at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, “a lot of ornamental plants have irritating sap that will cause an animal to salivate or maybe vomit and have diarrhea.” If your pet eats something poisonous, call your vet immediately.

Feb 2002 Baci snow 006Hibiscus and plants in the Easter lily family can cause renal failure, severe diarrhea and dehydration. Holly berries are generally toxic to pets. Mistletoe also causes digestive system upset, irregular heartbeats and possibly cardiac shock. European bittersweet and black nightshade are more erratic in their toxicity. Common houseplants, like philodendron and dieffenbachia (dumb cane) contain oxalate crystals that cause the animal’s mucous membranes to swell, making the animal unable to eat.

Judy Greta July 2007 025

“Although catnip isn’t generally toxic to pets, avoid giving too much of the fresh plant to cats. It causes hyper-stimulation to the central nervous system and the cat can injure itself,” notes Dr. Buck. The dried form usually won’t cause problems for your pet. (Prepared by Linda March.)

Greta, the greyhound, was well-cared for and loved a stroll through the garden with or without her mom. She had a fondness for pink coneflowers. We miss Greta.

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