Toxic plants and pets

Tasker, a rescue dog owned by Lore Fogle, sits beside a pair of bromeliads that are indoor plants as well as pet friendly. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – There are quite a few common household plants that can be harmful to cats and dogs.

Karen Deskins, salesperson at Fort Valley Nursery in Woodstock, said many people are fearful of owning a poinsettias if they have pets, but she said these plants are only mildly toxic and if they are kept away from the pet, they don’t pose a danger to them.

Other plants that are not pet-friendly include bulbs, elephant ears, asparagus fern, corn plants, Easter and stargazer lilies, aloe, and the jade plant.

Poisonous plants may cause reactions from mild nausea to death. Reactions can include redness, swelling, salivating, difficulty breathy, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking and urinating, and fast, slow or irregular heartbeats.

She added that the weight of the animals and toxicity of the plant will determine the reaction a pet can experience if a toxic plant is ingested. Young puppies and kittens could have more severe reactions to the plants and should be monitored around plants more closely.

She said to keep any potentially harmful plants out of reach of the animals and to be aware of “diggers,” referring to dogs digging up planted bulbs or other plants.

Plants that do not pose any serious concerns for pets, she said, include spider plants, most palms, African violets, wandering Jew plant, Christmas cactus, prayer plants, Boston fern and orchids.

Deskins added that keeping toys easily available for pets can keep their attention focused on playing rather than eating plants.

If your pet has ingested a toxic plant and is having serious reactions, call your local veterinarian.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com