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It is cold here in New England, so many of our are bringing the great outdoors indoors…………….others are just getting their holiday favorites. Unfortunately many of these common plants can be toxic to our pets.

Poison control centers estimate that 5 to 10% of all inquiries to their centers are related to young children ingesting potentially poison plants, and there is no reason to doubt that the numbers may be similar for our 4 legged children. As you know pets investigate everything with their mouths….puppies and kittens are especially curious. Some chew when they are bored and others just like to chew (we have a cat that loves to chew grass….artificial grass, to be more specific, so providing appropriate chew toys is and other diversions is important.

Many of us have been taught to assume that plants that are poisonous protect themselves with a bitter taste, but this is not always the case, and some plants are safe in limited amounts, so you know what they say about “assuming”….

That being said, here are some of the plants that may pose a risk for pets (and children)..

Century Plant/American Aloe: can cause severe burning on contact, salivation, swelling of the tongue and throat, diarrhea, difficulty breathing.

Barbados Aloe/Curacao Aloe: severe diarrhea which can lead to dehydration, low blood sugars, and possibly vomiting.

Caladium/Angel Wings, Fancy Leaf Caladium: irritation of the mucous membranes, severe pain, swelling of the mouth and throat, diarrhea, difficulty breathing.

Marijuana/cannabis, Pot, Hashish, Indian Hemp: depression of the central nervous system, rapid or slow heart rate, tremors, vomiting, salivation, and depression, changes in gait

Lily of the Valley/Conval Lily/Mayflower: affects are related to amount ingested, but can range from gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, trembling, irregular heartbeats, potassium imbalances.

Cyclamen/Snow-bread/shooting star: lack of appetite, diarrhea, seizures, and paralysis.

Foxglove: painful abdomen, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, increased frequency of urination, slow and/or irregular pulse rte, tremors, seizures (the plant is no less potent after drying)

Dragon Tree: vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Hyacinth: the bulbs of this plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and on rare occasions death.

English Holly/European Holly: abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea.

Kalanchoe/Air Plant/Cathedral-Bells depression, rapid breathing, grinding of teeth, changes in giat, paralysis

Easter Lily/Trumpet Lily: kidney failure, vomiting, depression, loss of appetite

Daffodils: Same as for Hyacinth

Philodendron: irritation and pain to mouth and mucous membranes, excessive salivation, swelling of tongue and throat, difficulty breathing, excitability, spasms, seizures

Mistletoe: vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, rapid and labored breathing, shock, and death due to heart failure.

Azalea, Rhododendron: salivation, watering of the eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, seizures, coma, and death

Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue: vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Umbrella Tree: irritation of the mouth and mucous membranes, loss of appetite, salivation, vomiting, and possibly diarrhea.

Jerusalem Cherry: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, salivation, circulatory collapse, dilated pupils, and seizures, weakness or paralysis, difficulty breathing, slow heartbeat

Now, most of us are not going to remember all these symptoms, but you should be aware of the potential danger some houseplants pose, and be conscious of which plants we want to have in our house if we have pets.

If you would like to view images of the plants noted above, you can go to http://www.mercvetmanual.com