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Toxic garden plants that could send your dog into cardiac arrest


With the arrival of spring, pet owners are looking forward to longer walks and more time in the garden. However, experts have warned that some spring flowers and plants can be harmful to our pets.

In line with National Pet Day on April 11, they advise avoiding certain plants which can cause upset stomachs, vomiting, itching and even severe incidents like cardiac arrests in dogs.

Craig Wilson, co-founder, director, and in-house gardening expert at Gardeners Dream, has listed the flowers to be cautious of in your home and garden:

  • Daffodils: These are poisonous to both dogs and cats, containing a harmful compound called ‘lycorine’ which can cause abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Though not common, it can sometimes cause low blood pressure which can cause collapse. Your pet doesn’t have to consume this plant to be affected. Even exposure to vase water that contains daffodils can be toxic if drunk.
  • Tulips: Unlike many other flowers where the poison is primarily in the bulb, tulips contain toxins in all parts including the stem, leaves, and flower. If ingested by dogs, this could lead to symptoms such as diarrhoea, excessive salivation, and even depression. Hyacinths, which belong to the same family as tulips, contain similar compounds and can cause similar symptoms. Due to the high concentration of toxins in the plant bulb, ingestion in large quantities can not only cause irritation to the mouth and throat but also induce vomiting, drooling, and respiratory problems in severe cases.
  • Irises: These can cause irritation if your pet swallows or touches them, and the primary toxic compound that can cause these unpleasant side effects is irisin, most concentrated in the bulb and underground stems. These plants can be especially hazardous to pets that love to dig.
  • Bluebells: The bluebell plant, which contains a toxic chemical known as glycosides, is not only dangerous to dogs and cats but also to larger animals such as horses and cattle. If ingested, it can lead to abdominal discomfort, muscle tremors, and even skin irritation.

Instead, choose non-toxic plants such as sunflowers, roses, snapdragons, and asters. These beautiful blooms are safe for pets, reports the Mirror.

However, there are other plants to be wary of outside of the home. Kelly Dyer, Plant Doctor and Lead Horticulturalist at Patch Plants, warns there are also problematic plants outdoors.

  • Yew: These are perilous to both humans and pets, with all parts of the tree being highly toxic to cats and dogs due to a compound called taxine, which can cause seizures and cardiac arrest.
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons: These contain ‘grayanotoxins’, which are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and difficulty breathing among other symptoms. However, a large quantity of this plant would need to be consumed for the more severe symptoms to manifest.
  • Hydrangeas: These can be harmful to dogs as they contain a compound known as ‘cyanogenic glycoside’, which can release cyanide when chewed. Although a significant amount of the plant would need to be consumed for this to happen, mild side effects can include vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
  • Hardy/Cranesbill Geraniums: The entire plant contains essential oils linalool and geraniol, which can cause discomfort in cats and dogs. The symptoms are usually mild but may include itching, dermatitis, and vomiting.
  • Ivy: Due to ‘triterpenoid saponins’, this common plant can be poisonous to cats and dogs. The foliage on ivy is more toxic than the berries. If ingested this can cause a lot of upset for your precious pets, including hypersalivation, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

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