Killer plants and flowers your pets should avoid – and it’s not just lilies you need to worry about


We don’t want to jinx it, but spring may have actually sprung.

While the Beast from the East Part 5 could very well be lurking around the corner, up and down the country many of us will have noticed warmer temperatures.

The changing of the season is also good news for flora of all sorts.

However, when it comes to what we display in our own homes and back gardens, pet owners need to take care.

Some of our favourite blooms and plants actually pose a serious risk to our pets.

So as we enter the blooming season, BillyOh’s garden experts have warned the nation’s pet owners that whilst certain plants and flowers might look and smell attractive, they can be harmful to our four-legged friends.

The killer plants which are dangerous to our pets – what to look out for.

1. Potatoes

Unripe, green or raw potatoes are dangerous to dogs , and the leaves are toxic too. If you must grow potatoes, make sure your pets can’t get to them.

The humble potato could be bad news for your dog or cat

2. Tomatoes

Tomato leaves are toxic to cats and dogs, so either avoid growing them, or make sure that animals can’t reach them.

As are the leaves on tomatoes

3. Foxtails

Foxtails are spikelets that carry the seeds of the foxtail grass. They are barbed and meant to burrow into the ground to germinate – but this also means they could penetrate an animal’s body instead and damage internal organs.

The ears are especially vulnerable.

Keep an eye on your pets this spring

It’s pretty much impossible to avoid this common weed, but you can check your pet’s body (especially entry points like the ears, mouth and eyes) frequently, especially after a walk, and uproot – not mow – any foxtails you see in the garden.

4. Castor Beans

Ricin is a well-known poison, and it’s present in the bean of the castor oil plant – although all parts of the plant are toxic. Even tiny amounts can poison a cat or a dog and cause twitching, tremours, seizures, comas or death.

5. Heavenly Bamboo

Also known as sacred bamboo or the Nandina plant, this produces red berries that are very pretty, but dangerous. They contain cyanogenic glycosides, which release hydrogen cyanide when chewed.

Heavenly bamboo

6. Autumn Crocus

Not to be confused with the spring crocus (which can still cause vomiting and diarrhoea), all parts of this plant are toxic.

It can cause liver and kidney damage, seizures and death.

Autumn crocus

7. Sago Palm

These ornamental house plants are very poisonous to cats and dogs. The whole of the plant is dangerous, but the nuts are the worst. If you think your pet may have ingested some, take it to a vet immediately.

Sago palm

8. Azaleas

A type of rhododendron, azaleas contain a poisonous substance called grayanotoxin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and even blindness and comas in cats and dogs.

9. Lilies

Lilies are famously toxic to cats

Every part of a lily is toxic to cats (even one leaf or petal can make them very ill) and some kinds are poisonous to dogs as well. They are even toxic to horses.

10. Tulips

They’re a member of the lily family, so it’s not surprising that they are also toxic to cats, dogs and horses.

The toxins tulipalin A and tulipalin B are found within tulip bulbs, but if you think your pet has eaten any part of the plant, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

These may look good n the garden, but they’re toxic to our pets

What to do if you think your dog or cat has been poisoned.

If you suspect your bet has eaten or come into contact with any of the above (or any other harmful substance), the RSPCA has some important guidelines to follow.

  1. Stay calm. Remove dogs from the source of poison.
  2. Contact your vet immediately; inform them when, where and how poisoning occurred. If appropriate, take the packaging, plant or substance to the vet. Don’t expose yourself to any harm.
  3. Follow your vet’s advice.

Stay calm if you think your dog has been poisoned

You must never attempt to treat or medicate your pet yourself, as some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to them.

Never try to make them vomit. Do not use salt water as it’s extremely dangerous. If skin/fur is contaminated, wash with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.

Read More

Man’s best friend

How to preventing poisoning in dogs and cats

At home:

  • Keep an eye on your dog.
  • Keep houseplants where dogs cannot reach them. Collect dropped leaves/petals.
  • Keep pesticides , e.g. rat baits, away from areas dogs can access.
  • If treating pets with insecticides, separate them from other pets.

In the garden:

  • Ensure housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
  • Ensure dogs water supplies cannot become contaminated, and change regularly.



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