Today I’ll be on KXII-TV’s “Pet Talk” discussing holiday safety for pets and that includes pets and poison plants. The video (below) is from last year but today’s segment will address many of the same issues. This blog has already covered a number of tips about protecting the Christmas tree from both your dogs and the kitty-cats. But what are some other plant poisons that happen around the holiday?
PETS & POISON PLANTS
We know today that poinsettia isn’t the demon-child out to get your pets, but it can cause some irritation. And there are some very dangerous plants out there.
The deadliest plants must be chewed or swallowed for the poison to work. Dogs are affected most often, particularly breeds that eat anything that doesn’t move faster than they do. Some cats enjoy grazing opportunities and nibble leaves, but all cats can be affected after clawing the plant, when they later lick their paws clean. Paws, mouths, and sometimes ears and eyes also are vulnerable to spiky parts of plants. Swallowed Christmas tree needles, for example, do damage to the tender insides of the pet, too.
BAD PLANTS FOR PETS
Azalea, for example, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma and death. Eating or chewing caladium, dieffenbachia or philodendron makes the tongue and throat swell up so breathing is difficult. Mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant) causes everything from mouth irritation to collapse. Crown of thorns and English ivy will prompt thirst, vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, and death in one to two days. Holly also causes stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, while lily poisoning prompts kidney failure (excess urination and drinking). Mistletoe can be deadly—only one or two berries can kill your pet, and causes vomiting, diarrhea, slowed breathing and heart rate.
Different poisons require very specific first aid. Usually that will be either 1) induce vomiting, or 2) give milk or water to wash out the mouth and dilute the poison. Make the pet vomit with these tips. But making the pet vomit the wrong poisonous plant, could make a serious situation even more deadly, so you MUST know what to do for each type of plant.
You’ll also need to be ready to give pet CPR and rescue breathing if necessary. When there’s a question about what first-aid to offer, call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center for accurate advice.
Detailed advice for dealing with the most common plant poisoning is available in The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats. The ASPCA Animal Poison-Control Center provides a database of common pet poisons, and is available for telephone consultations (1-888-426-4435) in case of poisoning emergency. The fee can be charged to your credit card. Preventing plant poisoning is ideal. Choose only pet-friendly safe varieties for your garden and home.
What type of plants do you have in your house? How do you keep the fur-kids away? Have you ever had a pet poisoned by plants? What did you do? I hope these tips help prevent any future mishaps!
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