Birds are chirping, butterflies are fluttering and the promise of warmer days is just ahead. Springtime is known for its symbolism of rebirth and new life, but this season can also become a time of loss if you are not aware of the toxic plants growing in your backyard. There are a lot of potential dangers awaiting your pets outside, which, if ingested, can cause serious harm. The side affects from these toxic plants can range from nausea to possible death. Here is a helpful guide to identify which springtime plants could be harmful to your family pets:
This flowering plant is commonly pink, red or white and has burgundy markings. It is known by many other names, such as Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily, Cape Belladonna and Naked Lady. It is toxic to both dogs and cats. Signs that your pet has consumed an Amaryllis plant are depression, abdominal pain, vomiting, tremors, hypersalivation and diarrhea.
There are many varieties of daylilies with colors ranging from yellow to purple to pink, but all are toxic to cats. Oddly enough, day lilies are not toxic to dogs. All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, even small portions. If your cat has consumed a daylily, it can result in kidney failure.
This plant, also known as monkey grass, looks a lot like long grass and is found in many southern yards. Though it is part of the lily family, monkey grass is toxic to both cats and dogs. However, symptoms are minor and include stomachache and nausea/vomiting.
Asparagus ferns are evergreen herbs that contain red berries and are often hung on porches in baskets. This plant has many other common names: Emerald Feather, Sprengeri Fern, Asparagus, Emerald Fern, Lace Fern, Shatavari, Plumosa Fern, Racemose Asparagus. Asparagus is toxic to both dogs and cats. Symptoms include gastric upset (stomachache, diarrhea, vomiting) with berry ingestion.
Sago Palms, also known as cycads, Coontie Palm, Cardboard Palm and zamias, are year-round plants. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. Symptoms of toxic consumption include hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, increased thirst, vomiting, icterus, melena, liver damage, coagulopathy, bruising, liver failure and even death.
These white or yellow six-petal flowers are also known as Jonquil, Paper White and Daffodil. This plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. The bulbs of these plants are the most poisonous parts to pets. Clinical signs of poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting and salvation. If a large amount is consumed, low blood pressure, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias and tremors can occur.
Tulips are six-petaled flowers that have colors ranging from peach to lavender to yellow. These plants are poisonous to dogs and cats with the most toxic part being the blub. Symptoms include depression, hypersalivation, vomiting and diarrhea. Since tulips are grown both indoors and outdoors, it is important to keep these potted plants out of reach of your pets.
As suggested by the name, elephant ears are huge, elephant ear-like leaves that can grow up to 6 feet long. Elephant ears, also known as Pai, Via, Caladium, Taro, Ape, Via sori, Cape and Malanga, are toxic to dogs and cats. If consumed, intense burning and oral irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty in swallowing and vomiting may occur.
Whether your pets are outdoors or indoors, it is advised to keep them away from plants and place potted, indoor plants out of reach to avoid possible poisoning. If you suspect your pet has consumed a toxic plant, please contact your local emergency vet or the ASPCA 24-hour poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
Disclaimer: The Albrecht Center is not an emergency Veterinary Care Center.
Claire R. Grimes is the Albrecht Center’s Development Director. She is an Aiken native, but spent some college years in Charleston, graduating from CofC and interning with Charleston Animal Society. She is excited to now be working in the animal welfare field in her hometown and is proud of the community efforts to better the lives of Aiken’s animals. Her family includes her husband, Logan, an adopted black lab, Ozzy, an adopted Siamese mix, Luna, and Claire’s first love, Anakin, a 17-pound rescued Maine Coon mix.