10 common plants and flowers that are dangerous to pets

Azaleas can cause serious problems for cats and dogs
Azaleas can cause serious problems for cats and dogs

The nation’s pet owners are being warned about the hidden dangers of common plants and flowers that may deal fatal blows to furry companions.

The garden experts at BillyOh.com have warned that whilst flowers such as lilies, tulips and azaleas may look pretty, they are potentially deadly to cats, dogs and even horses.

Even tomatoes and potatoes can be dangerous if your furry friends eat them when green and unripe, though it is mainly the toxic leaves that can harm cats and dogs.

The common foxtail weed is largely impossible to avoid, but pet owners can check their animals regularly and uproot it if it should appear in the garden.

A spokesperson for BillyOh.com said: “Flowers can look gorgeous and smell even better, but many can be very dangerous to a beloved cat or dog.

“So, when you’re deciding which plants to put in your garden, or even a pot in the house, do check first to make sure it isn’t toxic to your pets.

“If your pet shows any sign of having ingested poison, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness or confusion, seek veterinary assistance straight away.”

1 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.

2 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.

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.

3 Lilies

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.

4 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.

5 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 at them.

6 Tomatoes

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

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 Sago Palm

These ornamental houseplants 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.