If you have pets or small children and like to keep a garden or indoor houseplants, it's important that you know which varieties of plants are dangerous to have around. While there are some well known toxic plants such as Poinsettias and Deadly Nightshade, there are also many common household plants that are potentially deadly to both pets and humans.
Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Narcissus plants can all cause serious stomach upset, high blood pressure, tremors, and irregular heartbeats if the bulbs are eaten. In some cases, digestion of the bulbs can even be fatal.
Ingesting Lily of the Valley shrubs, Rhododendrons, and Azaleas will cause nausea and vomiting, and can go on to trigger cardiovascular collapse, coma, and death.
Oleander is well known for its toxic properties, as is Foxglove. These plants cause gastrointestinal upset, affect the heart, and are deadly. Just handling these plants can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals, so it's best to avoid direct contact with these plants. Foxglove is especially dangerous because their bell shaped buds are very attractive to children. Ingesting just a small amount can be deadly, and prior to death, the toxin can cause severe abdominal pain, hallucinations, and tremors.
Castor Bean seeds and the Rosary Pea are extremely dangerous to have around the house if you have pets and small children. It takes just a few seeds to cause death in both animals and humans. The berries on the ornamental Daphne plant are also very toxic-especially to children-and touching the twigs can cause skin irritation.
Even the childhood favorite, Buttercup flowers, can cause gastrointestinal disorders if eaten and can trigger blistering if the sap makes contact with the skin.
The Yew tree has poisonous berries and foliage, which are very attractive to pets and livestock. Symptoms of Yew poisoning may include convulsions and difficulty breathing, but death has been known to occur without warning.
If you have some of these plants in your house, and you have pets or small children, try to keep the most dangerous plants out of reach by setting them on high shelves or on plant hangers. As soon as your children are old enough to understand, teach them to always check with you before anything from a plant or tree.
To keep your cats from devouring toxic greenery, keep edible grass in the house so that they have something safe to nibble on. Then, either keep hazardous plants out of reach, or make them less enticing. You can try rubbing something bad tasting on their leaves, or spray your pet with water every time they go near the offending flower. They'll soon associate the plant with unpleasant consequences, and leave it alone.
Outdoors, dangerous plants and shrubs should be fenced off to protect your pets from accessing them.
If your pet exhibits some of the following symptoms, then you should suspect poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and shivering. If you think your pet has come in contact with something toxic, call your veterinarian right away. The Animal Poison Control Center is also available for assistance for a fee over the phone. Their 24-hour emergency line can be reached at 1-888-426-4435.
If your child has ingested something toxic, they whll likely exhibit pain around their mouths, vomiting and stomach cramps, convulsions, and an irregular heartbeat. In the case of ingestion, you should immediately call Poison Control or call 911.
Plants are a lovely addition to any home or garden, but they can be deadly if precautions aren't taken. Do your research before purchasing a plant to make sure that it won't put your children or pets at risk. If you do have a plant or shrub that's toxic, do your best to teach your children and animals to stay well away from it.