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Common Garden Plants That Are Toxic to Pets

August 1 2015

You may be surprised to learn of some of the common garden plants that are potentially toxic to our animal companions. Don’t inadvertently introduce a poison to your pet’s environment—read on as a McHenry, IL vet tells you about a few of the most common offending flowers and plants.


Almost all species of the lily flower are toxic to cats, and they may prove harmful for dogs as well. Ingesting even small amounts of the lily flower—or any part of the plant—can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, and more. Check your garden and any bouquets in your house for this flower, as lilies are often included in festive bouquets.


Chrysanthemums contain poisonous agents known as pyrethrins. Pyrethrins may cause drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, and other serious symptoms like depression and coordination loss can occur without treatment. Mums are quite common in many gardens and landscaping areas, so check yours to make sure your pet will stay safe.


The rhododendron plant, often referred to as azalea, contains toxins known as grayantoxins. These substances can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and depression in cats and dogs. There have even been reported cases of death from azalea poisoning; it’s important that you keep your pets far away from these plants. If your pet goes outdoors at all, it’s safest to remove rhododendron entirely from your garden or landscaping.


The tulip seems innocent enough, but the truth is that it has toxic properties that affect pets. The bulb of the plant is the most poisonous part, but any part of the plant can prove dangerous. Signs of tulip poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, and depression.

Tulips are another common bouquet flower. If you’ve recently received a floral bouquet as a gift or for a special occasion, be sure to check it if your pet is the curious nibbler type.


Daffodils are another common garden flower that can be harmful when ingested by a pet. Similarly to the tulip, the bulb area is the most toxic part. Minor poisoning will result in vomiting, diarrhea, and excess salivation, while severe daffodil poisoning can result in low blood pressure, heart palpitations, and even convulsions.

Keep your McHenry, IL veterinarian’s number on hand to call in the event of an emergency. Also be sure to visit the ASPCA’s website for a full list of toxic garden plants and flowers.