Plants and Your Pets

Spring and summer bring budding plants and multiple potential risks for your pets. What kind of hazards can they pose? The most common side affect for pets chewing on plants will be gastrointestinal related. This means it may cause vomiting or diarrhea. Some will cause sores to occur on the muzzle and inside the mouth.

Some plants will also cause allergies in pets, just like humans. So depending on what your pet may be allergic to, will determine what time of year you will see symptoms. Topical irritants will cause intense itching at the site of contact, runny eyes and sometimes sneezing. True allergy inducing plants will cause symptoms related to the skin in pets. About 1 in 4 dogs will have some sort of allergy. Skin allergies general show as very itchy skin. That rolling in the grass or on their back in the living room may not be for peer enjoyment, but for relief from the itchiness. Chronic licking of the feet or other areas of the body with a change in the coloration of the hair or skin will be noticed. This tends to be more noticeable in lighter haired dogs. Ear infections, “hot spots” and general skin infections are also signs of allergies from the trauma to the skin and change in the normal skin environment.

There are also plants that can be more toxic to your pet and can potentially be fatal. For instance plants in the lily family are toxic to cats, they can cause kidney failure. There are many that have different levels of toxicity. The ASPCA has a good site that contains many of the more toxic indoor and outdoor plants. You can check their Website at www.aspca.org . It also has good information on other toxins to be aware of for your pet’s sake.

Any questions or if you are concerned about something your pet may have gotten into, please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.