Common Homestead Plants and Household Items That can be Toxic to Your Pets
Please note, this list is not going to be exhaustive nor specific to your location, I'll include some resources for your own further research at the bottom of this post.
The sign outside of the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle in Ireland. I took this during our last trip there.
I wanted to cover in this post some of the most common plants and substances you may have in and around your home that have varying levels of toxicity to your dogs. Most of these are also toxic to cats and other small animals, but for the purposes of this post I'm just covering canines.
VERY Toxic Plants:
Ingestion of any of these can be fatal (sometimes in small amounts) to your pet.
In no particular order:
3. Castor Bean
5. Morning Glory
7. Lily of the Valley
11. Sago Palm
13. Jerusalem Cherry (typically grown as a houseplant)
14. Precatory Beans (Abrus precatorus) aka Rosary Pea. Found mainly in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Hawaii, but are sometimes used to make jewelry and rosary beads - they are very poisonous to people and animals if the live plant or dried fruit (used as beads in jewelry) are consumed.
Toxic to Mildly Toxic Plants
Source: Cesar's Way, Inc website
1. Aloe vera
8. Baby's Breath
11. Tomato Plant (the plant itself as well as unripe fruit, ripe tomatoes are not known to be toxic)
Common Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning
According to PetMD, the signs and symptoms of toxic ingestion/poisoning in your pets can vary and depends largely on what and how much was ingested.
Common symptoms include:
Here are two animal poison control numbers you can call if your pet ingests something (both charge a fee for use). The best thing you can do is get your animal promptly to a veterinarian.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435
They also have a mobile app that list common plants and substances that can be harmful to your pets.
Pet Poison Helpline®: (855) 213-6680
Common Household Pet Toxins
There are quite a few things in our homes that can be toxic to our pets and should be kept out of their reach, some common items include:
This substance is a sugar alternative and deserves a separate mention as it is found in many common items and can be lethal to dogs in very small quantities.
According to PetMD:
"Xylitol, a sugar compound sourced from the Birch tree, has been recently discovered to be 100% lethal to dogs. In many cases, the quantity of Xylitol-containing food was small--as in a box of sugar-free Tic-Tacs (really), a Jell-O sugar free pudding snack or one sugar-free cupcake."
If you suspect your dog ingested something containing xylitol, contact your Vet immediately!
Common Products that Contain Xylitol (not a complete list, check the labels yourself!):
-Peanut Butter-->read labels!
-Candies (especially sugar-free)
-Throat Lozenges, Sprays and Cough Syrup
-Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Other Common Homestead Plants that can be toxic to your pets (that you may not think of)
Apple/Cherry/Apricot: the stems, leaves and seeds
Lemon/Lime/Orange: mostly the skins and leaves
Bay Laurel: vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal obstruction if a large amount is consumed.
Aloe Leaves: vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea. The gel is reportedly not toxic.
Borage: vomiting, diarrhea, skin reactions.
Caraway: vomiting and diarrhea.
Chamomile: vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, skin irritation.
Chives: bleeding, vomiting, weakness, elevated heart rate, panting.
Dock/Sorrel: kidney failure (reportedly rare), tremors, excess salivation.
Eucalyptus: excess salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness.
Lavender: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite.
Marjoram: vomiting and diarrhea.
Mint: vomiting and diarrhea with large ingestions.
Oregano: mild vomiting and diarrhea.
Parsley: sensitivity to the sun (with large ingestions).
Yarrow: increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation.
Tomato Plant: the leaves, stems, and unripe fruit. Ripe tomatoes are reportedly not toxic.
Rhubarb: kidney failure, tremors, excess salivation.
Potato Plants: vomiting, diarrhea, confusion. The leaves and stems.
Garlic: vomiting, bleeding, weakness, high heart rate, panting.
Leeks: vomiting, bleeding, weakness, high heart rate, panting.
Onion: vomiting, bleeding, weakness, high heart rate, panting.
One Final Note About Orchards
In many states, orchardists deal with small rodents, mainly voles, that can destroy their trees. In order to combat this, a lot of them rely heavily on rodenticide use (aka rodent poison). The bulk of these rodenticides contain a compound called zinc phosphide, when ingested, causes cells to die - specifically cells in the heart, lungs and liver. It's been an approved component of many pesticides since the 1940s, and can be especially toxic to all animals, as well as humans.
Orchards typically use these products in the form of pelleted bait or mixed in grain for bait. They will either broadcast it throughout the orchard, or set up 'bait stations' using things like old cans and tires, or at the opening of the animals burrows (an area that may be especially appealing to our dogs).
Your pets can get exposed to these poisons either by directly eating the bait or by eating an animal that has consumed it.
If you border or live near an orchard, this is something to be aware of and perhaps is an area you want to make sure your pets have no access to. The most common time for use of these rodenticides seems to be in the Fall.
How do you keep your pets safe from common homestead and household toxins?
Thanks for reading,