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Kind Gardening: Plants Your Pets Shouldn’t Eat

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Have you ever wondered why little Fifi… Fofo… Fumfum, or whatever you call your pooch, comes into the house and vomits all over your precious Persian rug?

Possible causes: motion sickness, infection, allergy or food poisoning, heat stroke or plant poisoning.

It’s interesting what some animals can eat without being affected. Camels eat prickly cacti, seabirds eat ocean plastic (source: National Geographic.org), rats eat car wires and, of course, rhinos eat Volkswagens.

“In general, dogs are more affected than cats, in part because they will eat just about anything, while cats are somewhat protected because they are picky eaters,” according to researchers from the Institute. University of Milan.

Eating the wrong foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, profuse drooling, rapid breathing, and seizures in pets; in extreme cases, even death. Of course, it depends on the amount consumed.

Before you offer your furry family member a sample of your plate, make sure you’re not sharing foods that can cause serious health issues.

“Several foods that are perfectly suitable for human consumption can be toxic to dogs and cats,” according to researchers from the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

“Sometimes owners unknowingly feed these harmful foods to their dogs and cats, but often pets accidentally ingest these foods.” The researchers found that “…reported cases of poisoning of pets involved chocolate and chocolate products, plant foods of the genus Allium (including onions, garlic, leeks and chives), macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, foods sweetened with xylitol (sugar-free chewing gum), ethanol in alcoholic beverages, and unbaked bread dough. (Raw dough creates alcohol in the stomach.)

However, not all pets have the same reactions to these foods, according to the journal.

Even with a jackhammer, macadamia nuts are hard to crack. It is not known how much of these nuts can cause health problems. Our dog handler frequently found these nuts on the floor and ripped them open quite easily. He suffered no apparent side effects. He also ate gophers. He lived to be 200 years old.

Apple, crabapple, apricot and plum trees are also toxic to dogs, cats and horses. Dogs can eat apples, but remove the poisonous seeds and core first.

Cherry seeds contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Also, the pits of peaches and pears contain cyanide; cut completely around the pit first.

While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant is considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a poisonous substance called solanine (Pet Poison Hotline). However, the family pooch would need to eat a large amount of the tomato plant to make him sick.

Sago palms contain a toxin that can cause liver failure. All parts are poisonous, especially the seeds.

Ingestion of just two seeds can lead to diarrhea, convulsions and liver failure.

Azaleas and rhododendrons contain toxins that can cause vomiting and cardiovascular collapse.

All parts of the oleander are poisonous and can cause drooling, diarrhea, and abnormal heart function.

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Castor beans contain ricin, a very potent toxin.

Chrysanthemums, which contain pyrethrin, and kalanchoe can cause gastrointestinal problems and loss of coordination.

Additionally, according to the Pet Poison Hotline, asparagus ferns can cause skin irritation if your pet brushes against them. Eating berries can cause gastrointestinal issues.

The leaves, pit and skin of avocados all contain the toxin, persin.

Citrus fruits contain high levels of citric acid. While lemons, limes, and oranges are safe for humans, they are highly toxic to dogs and felines.

Some herbs that are toxic to cats and dogs include borage, chamomile, lavender, mint, and oregano.

Other plants that can poison your pets according to humanesociety.org include bird of paradise, carnation, clematis, cyclamen, daisy, eucalyptus, foxglove, gardenia, hemlock, hosta, hydrangea, lobelia, milkweed, black nightshade, peony, periwinkle, primrose, rhubarb, tobacco tree, vinca, wisteria and yucca.

Some poisonous holiday plants are Christmas cactus, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias.

Common houseplants that can cause problems for pets include aloe, cactus, caladium, English ivy, jade, philodendron, pothos, snake plant, begonia, dieffenbachia, dracaena, geranium, rubber tree and lantana.

Almost all plants that grow from bulbs or bulbs are poisonous to your pet. These include amaryllis, bluebells, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, irises and tulips.

To cats, the entire lily plant is toxic: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen and even water from a vase, according to the FDA.

To protect your pets, choose your plants carefully. Place them out of their reach. Pick up fallen leaves or petals around your plants. Consider repellents for cats and dogs.

Aspca.org provides a comprehensive, printable list of toxic and non-toxic plants for pets.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison control hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Your Persian rug can be replaced. Your pet cannot.