It’s that time of year for gift giving and, if you are a gardener, then the gifts usually included a plant or two. Forget that the giver thinks you already have way too many plants already, he/she knows that your face will light up if you get another one (or three).
But let’s have a hint of caution – what about you pets and that new plant? So here are some of the things to avoid if you have a pet who likes to chew on the occasional plant.
Aloe (and creams with aloe) can
cause vomiting and diarrhea with weight loss. Tremors have been noted in dogs and cats.
The leaves of the caladium contain tiny crystals that cause irritation and pain in the mouth and can cause digestive problems.
The tubers of the cyclamen cause vomiting and diarrhea. Fatal seizures have also been noted.
Dracaena fragrans, also called the corn plant, can cause salivation, vomiting and depression.
Like the caladium, the dieffenbachia contains small sharp crystals that cause irritation and burning in the mouth, drooling, vomiting, and some swelling that makes swallowing difficult.
If your cat or dog chews the leaves of the jade plant it can also causes vomiting and depression.
You probably knew that many lily bulbs could cause kidney failure in cats (not dogs), but did you know that the pollen has been known to kill cats as well? If you bring a lily inside, snip off the anthers (pollen producers) to avoid the problem.
We have a lot of philodendron species on our property, and you may have as well, or perhaps you have one as a balcony or house plant. The leaves can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, drooling, problems with swallowing and vomiting. The leaves of the pothos vine contain needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate called raphides which cause the same symptoms as the philodendron.
A new one for me, the pregnant onion, Albuca bracteata, is grown for its flowers but the sap can cause contact dermatitis when handled and the leaves and flowers can cause heart problems.
We have a sego palm in the garden, a gift from a friend who had just gotten a new puppy and was afraid that she would chew on it. In addition to vomiting and thirst, it can cause hemorrhaging of the stomach and intestines, blood problems, liver damage, liver failure, and death. If we ever get a new puppy, it will have to go.
Finally, watch out of poinsettias, amaryllis and daffodil bulbs and those Christmas cacti, not as bad as the others, but not good for pets.
Oh, and watch out for toddlers who put anything in their mouths, if it’s dangerous for pets, it’s dangerous for kids.