Plants, flowers, and herbs can make such a wonderful addition to any house or garden. They can brighten up even the dullest of environments, provide mood and concentration boosting properties, medicinal uses and help clean indoor air by absorbing toxins. There aren’t many negative reasons for keeping plants, but have you ever thought about the consequences of keeping them in the home if you have pets?
Many plants, flowers, and herbs are highly toxic to animals and should be avoided at all costs.
Chamomile is one of the most ancient herbs known to man and is regularly used for medicinal purposes to benefit a wide range of health issues. It is most commonly made into a hot drink as a supplement that can help with sleep, relaxation, and reducing inflammation. As relaxing and comforting as Chamomile may be to humans, do not under any circumstances let your cat, dog, or horse anywhere near this herb.
It contains a variety of potentially harmful substances such as tannic acid, bisabolol, chamazulene, and anthemic acid. It is known to be very toxic in large doses, in particular for the feline friends in our life. Anorexia, diarrhea vomiting, and contact dermatitis are all high possibilities from the ingestion of Chamomile.
Aloe Vera is a very common house plant that is part of the Aloaceae family. These succulent, easy to maintain plants make for a great indoor companion. Unfortunately, they are a big no-no for the furry companions in our lives and you should avoid these at all costs if you own a cat or dog. Aloe Vera is commonly used in medication to assist with bowel movements. If ingested by cats or dogs it can result in excessive diarrhea and vomiting as well as other clinical signs such as changes in the color of urine, depression, and anorexia.
For our canine friends in particular Aloe Vera is known to lower their blood sugar levels and in some cases can cause coma and death. These plants are best avoided in the home for the health and wellbeing of your pets or at the very least place well out of reach of our non-human companions.
Lavender is a beautiful flowering plant from the mint family and is well known for its distinctive sweet scent. It is often made into oils and used in aromatherapy promoting calmness and wellness. So, is Lavender safe for animals? This is not necessarily a clear cut answer. It is fair to say that Lavender is not the most toxic plant on our list, but it does contain a small amount of a potentially toxic compound called ‘linalool’.
If your dog were to ingest a small amount of this compound the side effects are likely to be very minimal however if ingested in large doses poisoning could occur. Common side effects for dogs, in particular, are an inability to defecate, fever, reduced appetite, vomiting, and swollen abdomen. Although lavender has a much lower toxicity level than most plants on our list we think it is just not worth taking the risk.
St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is a popular herb that is sometimes known as the ‘Klamath Weed’. It is a member of the Clusiaceae family of plants and is most commonly used medically as a dietary supplement to help treat depression. You can also often find St John’s Wart included in topical treatments as it is a fantastic solution for healing wounds. If you plan on keeping your cat or dog safe and living a healthy, fruitful life you will want to ensure that they do not have access to this herb.
Cats and dogs love to get their noses into absolutely everything and St John’s Wart has proven to be toxic, in particular to dogs. If ingested by your dog the toxicity levels in their system can cause sun sensitivity as well as dermatitis. The presence of ‘Hypericin’ in this herb is the main cause of these symptoms and you will want to ensure your dog stays well away.
There is no doubt about it, Daffodils can really illuminate the home and garden. They are a well-liked flower that is particularly popular with amateur gardeners and are grown in most regions of North America. That being said, these are not your pet’s best friend by any means! Daffodils contain an alkaloid called ‘Lycorine’ which has strong properties that result in vomiting.
These are particularly dangerous for dogs and the ingestion of the flower, plant, and bulb can cause not only severe vomiting but abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmias, and respiratory depression. If you have pets in the home you will want to avoid these at all costs or keep them as far away as possible from those tiny paws and curious noses.
Tulips and Hyacinths
Tulips and Hyacinths make such a pretty combination that they are frequently seen paired together in gardens and indoor displays. As impressive as these plants can be, they are most definitely ones you must keep away from your pets. They are toxic to cats, dogs, rabbits and severe poisoning for all is very possible. Tulips and Hyacinths contain allergenic lactones (alkaloids) which are concentrated within the bulb structure of the plant rather than the leaves or flowers.
Dogs are particularly at risk since they are known to dig up freshly planted bulbs frequently for fun. Once they have the bulb in their possession they can’t help but have a little munch. Usual signs of ingestion include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, and tissue irritation surrounding the mouth and esophagus. Difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, and changes in respiration are common in more severe levels of intoxication.
Yarrow, also called milfoil, comes from the Asteraceae family and contains poisonous toxins that are harmful and injurious to a dog’s health. It can grow to 3 feet high at the most. The leaves appear fern-like and spiral around the stem and they have white flowers though sometimes they are pink. Yarrow can be found along with fields and along roadsides but is also planted in private and public gardens for its medicinal qualities.
The herbal uses for the plant may be beneficial to humans in regulated quantities, but the ingestion of a large amount by a canine can cause illness requiring veterinary care. Toxicity: increase in urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and dermatitis.
Lilies are a very popular group of flowering plants that come in an array of beautiful colors to really add a splash of art to the home. As appealing as this might be if you have pets, these wonderful flowers should be avoided like the plague! The entire lily plant is highly toxic to cats. This includes the stems, leaves, pollen, and the flower itself. Even if your cat chooses to just have a little nibble on the leaves or drink some of the water from the vase the consequences can be lethal. Your cat will likely develop kidney disease within the space of about 3 days. Our feline friends are very prone to diseases of the kidney and the outcome is usually a pretty bleak one.
Lastly, but certainly not least we have Purslane. This is often referred to as a common garden weed however it is edible to humans and is actually much more nutritious than most of the common crops we tend to plant. It is packed full of Omega 3 fatty acids, beta-carotene and vitamin E. Purslane is regularly used as a natural remedy for sleep issues such as insomnia. As wonderful as this herb sounds for human consumption this is not one you want to allow your pet to get within 10 yards of.
Purslane contains soluble calcium oxalates which are highly toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. If you own cattle or sheep it is also a wise idea to remove this herb from their reach. It is just not worth taking that risk.
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