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Pretty Poisons

May 17, 2012

Tips from Cardinal Pet Care to Protect Your Pet from the Hazards in Summer Gardens

Fragrant, colorful flowers and lush greenery delight the senses this time of year, but summer’s beautiful foliage can also pose a hazard to your pet.  Some of our most popular garden plants and shrubs can be highly toxic to a dog or cat if ingested.  The sprays and chemicals used to treat lawns and gardens are another potential poison threat for pets during the warm weather months.  Cardinal Pet Care wants to ensure the season is happy and fun for pets and their people, and offers the following advice from the ASPCA to prevent poisonings and what to do if owners suspect their pets have been poisoned.

The website for the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) has a searchable database of plants that are toxic to pets, and some of the most common ornamental summer plants can be harmful – or even fatal – if ingested by pets.  There is even an iPhone app that owners can download so they always have the database at hand.

Some of the more common hazardous plants are:

  • Japanese Yew
  • English Ivy
  • Hibiscus
  • Easter Lily (toxic to cats; non-toxic to dogs)
  • Geranium
  • Rhododendron

The concern is not necessarily having the plant growing in a garden, because most pets aren’t just going to start chewing on the plants.  The issue is with the clippings that get left behind after trimming and pruning.  Pet owners should make sure to clean up all clippings after trimming the shrubbery or flowers to ensure dogs and cats don’t accidentally ingest any part of a potentially poisonous plant. 

If a pet is suspected to have been poisoned by a hazardous plant, chemical substance or any other toxin, it is important not to try to induce vomiting without consulting a veterinarian.  Doing so can cause the pet to rupture tissue in the stomach or esophagus, especially if the suspected toxic substance has caused burns in these areas.  Additionally, if the pet has an empty stomach, vomiting could result in dry heaves, which could cause the poison to be reabsorbed in the larynx and lungs can create even more severe problems.

The bottom line is, if a pet owner suspects any kind of poisoning, whether it’s from a hazardous plant, chemical substance or any other toxin, call a veterinarian or the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 888-426-4435.

Cat image by Dan

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