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14 Deadly Toxic Plants to Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs chew on plants for different reasons. It may be due to an appetizing scent or taste, an instinctive need for roughage in the diet, hunger, or plain curiosity.

While it’s normal for cats and dogs to chew plant materials, it’s not always safe. The plants on this list range from mild to moderate to severe toxicity. Some affect only cats, some only dogs, and some affect both.  If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant, take a sample of the plant with you to the veterinarian.

1. Amaryllis 

Also known as Narcissus, Liliacea, and Belladonna Amaryllis, this flowering plant is common in spring gardens. It’s poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to moderate toxic reactions. All parts of the plant, the stem, leaves, and bulb, contain phenanthridine alkaloids, with higher concentration in the bulbs. Reactions can include depression, slowed breathing, drop in blood pressure, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, excess drooling, and tremors.

2. Azalea

Also known as Ericaceae, and Rhododendron. This flowering plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to severe toxic reactions. The Azalea is a member of the Rhododenron spp., which contain substances known as grayantoxins. Only a small amount is required to result in severe toxicity. Ingestion can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, drooling, tremors, seizures, weakness, abnormal heart rate, and depression of the central nervous system. With treatment, the effects can be minimized, but severe toxicity or non-treatment can result in coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.

3. Castor Bean

Also known as Ricinus, African Wonder Tree, and Euphorbiacea. This plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with moderate to severe toxic reactions. The highly toxic substance ricin is found in the seeds and leaves of this plant; only a small amount is required to result in severe toxicity. Effects include severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weakness, tremors, loss of appetite, and sudden collapse. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

4. Chrysanthemum 

Also known as Mum, and Daisy. This flowering plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with moderate to severe toxic reactions. This popular Spring and Summer plant can be found in a variety of shapes and colors. The toxic ingredients lactones, pyrethrins, and sesquiterpene are in all parts of the plant. Effects can include excess drooling, vomiting diarrhea, and loss of coordination.

5. Crocus

Also known as Spring Crocus, Autumn Crocus, Colchium, Meadow Saffron, and Naked Lady. This flowering plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to severe toxic reactions. Ingestion of the Autumn Crocus, Colchicum autumnale, has more severe effects than the Spring Crocus. Spring Crocus effects include excess drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Autumn Crocus effects can be much more severe. All parts of the plant are highly toxic. Effects include respiratory failure, oral irritation, excess drooling, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, internal bleeding, seizures, liver and kidney damage, and bone marrow suppression. Signs may be immediate or delayed.

6. Cyclamen


Also known as Persian Violet, and Sowbread. This flowering houseplant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to severe toxic reactions. All parts of the Cyclamen are toxic, but the highest concentration is located in the tuber and root parts of the plant. Effects can include excess drooling, intense vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and abnormal heart rate.

7. Kalanchoe 


Also known as Chandelier Plant, Mother of Millions, and Devil’s Backbone. This flowering houseplant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with moderate to severe toxic reactions. The common Kalanchoe is a popular houseplant and can be found in a variety of colors. The toxic compounds found in this plant are cardenolides and bufadienolides, naturally occurring cardiac glycoside toxins that interfere with the electrolyte balance in the heart. Effects can include abnormal heart rate, excess drooling, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and high potassium levels.

8. Lilies 


Also known as Easter Lily, Day Lily, Japanese Lily, Stargazer, Tiger Lily, Red Lily, Western Lily, Lily of the Valley, and Wood Lily. This flowering plant is poisonous to cats, with moderate to severe toxic reactions. Not all lilies are toxic, so it is important to know the difference. True lilies, such as those noted here, are highly toxic and can result in death with only a small amount ingested.

The toxic component of the lily is not known, but very small amounts of any part of the plant can result in sudden and severe kidney failure. The toxins can also be carried by the pollen of the plant, and in the water the plant is placed in. Immediate and aggressive veterinary care is necessary for survival.

9. Marijuana


This leafy plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with generally mild reactions. Ingestion of Cannabis sativa can produce effects that include loss of coordination, stumbling, agitation, over excitement, glassy eyes, excess drooling, and urinary incontinence. Excessive ingestion can result in seizures, increased heart rate, and even coma in some cases.

Death is not common with this type of poisoning, but toxicity can be exacerbated when it is ingested as part of a food item, like chocolate cookies or brownies. Veterinary treatment is required.

10. Oleander 


Also known as Nerium Oleander, and White Oleander. This flowering plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with moderate to severe toxic reactions. The toxic compounds found in this plant are cardenolides and bufadienolides, naturally occurring cardiac glycoside toxins that interfere with the electrolyte balance in the heart. All parts of the Oleander are toxic. Effects can include abnormal heart rate, excess drooling, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and sudden collapse. You may also see mouth and throat irritation.

11. Pothos


Also known as Golden Pothos, Araceae, Marble Queen, Scindapus spp., Devil’s ivy.  This leafy plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to moderate toxic reactions. This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals in both the stem and leaves, which are released when the plant is chewed, causing injury to the mouth tissue. The Pothos is a popular houseplant belonging to the Araceae family. Effects can include pain and swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, excess drooling and foaming, vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, and trouble breathing.

12. Sago Palm


Also known as Cycads, Zamias, Macrozamia, Cycas cirinalis, Japanese Cycad, Cycad Revolute, Coontie plant, Zamia Pumila, Cardbord Palm, and Zamia Furfuracea. This leafy plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with severe toxic reactions. The Sago is a popular house and outdoor plant, mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Sago palm contains the toxin cycasin, which can fatally damage the liver. All parts of the Sago Palm are poisonous, with the nuts, or seeds, containing the largest amount of toxin. Ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in severe effects, which can include vomiting, diarrhea, black-tarry stools, swollen abdomen due to fluid accumulation, depression, seizures, loss of appetite, yellow eyes (jaundice), and liver failure. Immediate and aggressive veterinary treatment is necessary, but because of the extreme toxic nature of this plant, survival is low even with immediate treatment.

13. Schefflera 


Also known as Umbrella Plant, and Brassaia actinophylla . This leafy plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to moderate toxic reactions. Like plants in the Araceae family, the Schefflera contains calcium oxalate crystals in the stem and leaves, which are released when the plant is chewed, causing injury to the mouth tissue. Effects can include pain and swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, pawing at the mouth, excess drooling and foaming, vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, and trouble breathing.

14. Tulip and Narcissus Bulbs


This flowering plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs, with mild to moderate toxic reactions. The bulb of Tulipa/Narcissus spp. contain allergenic lactones or similar alkaloid toxins that can cause severe irritation of the mouth and throat, excess drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased or abnormal heart rate, increased breathing, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, and convulsions . The poison is concentrated in the bulb of the plant, not so much in the stem and petals, and is usually ingested when a dog digs up planted bulbs from the ground, or has gotten into a bag of bag of bulbs. The more a dog ingests, the more severe the reaction.

Also known as Taxus, Japanese Yew, English Yew, Chinese Yew, Tree of Death, Taxine. This evergreen plant is highly poisonous to both cats and dogs (and all species), with moderate to severe toxic reactions. All parts of the plant are toxic, including the red berries. The yew is a common outdoor plant, labeled an “evergreen” for its year-round life, and is used by some florists for holiday wreath arrangements. There are several varieties of Taxus spp., all of which contain the toxic compound known as taxine. Effects can include dilated pupils, weakness, trembling, loss of coordination, seizures, vomiting, excess drooling, difficulty breathing, and abnormal and life threatening heart rate and blood pressure changes. Coma and death can also result.