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Common plants that can be toxic to your pets

January 29, 2013
Some plants could be poisonous to your pets

While heading out to the great outdoors to the beach or bushwalking with your dog is encouraged, especially in the warmer months, we often don’t realise there are quite a number of plants that are actually quite toxic to our pets. The expression, “if it’s good for me, it must be good for my pet” is not always true. There are in fact, a number of common plants and foods that can lead to some very expensive vet bills and tragically, can be fatal for your pets.

New poisons are still being discovered each year and some of the most common plants can be fatal to your pets. A few examples are:

Grapes – The toxin in grapes, sultanas or raisins has yet to be detected but even a small handful of grapes can be potentially fatal to your dog. Consuming grapes can cause renal failure in dogs, which means that their kidneys fail to filter waste products from their blood.

Macadamias – Also like grapes, macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that on consuming even just a few nuts results in locomotory difficulties. Dogs can develop muscle tremors and weakness or paralysis of their back legs causing distress and pain. Most dogs will recover well, but it is quite a painful experience for them.

Onions and Garlic – Both contain a toxin known as thiosulphate which is potentially fatal for both dogs and cats. Garlic contains a smaller amount and would need to be eaten in large quantities for it to have an affect whereas small amounts of onion can cause health issues. Pets affected will develop a condition known as haemolytic anaemia which means they have a reduced number of red blood cells and therefore have limited oxygen carried through their body.

Lilies – All parts of the Lily are potentially toxic to cats and even the smallest amount can cause acute renal failure. Any exposure to lilies, including just licking the pollen from their coats or drinking the water that the lilies are in can cause toxicity and should be treated immediately.

Cocoa – While not exactly a plant, chocolate and cocoa powder can be quite dangerous if ingested by your pet. Cocoa contains a compound called theobromine which is a cardiac stimulant and diuretic. If ingested this can lead to an increased heart rate or an irregular heartbeat which can be potentially fatal.

If you think you pet has consumed anything hazardous, it is crucial you get them to your local vet or animal emergency centre straight away as the consequences can quite often be rather sudden.

You can also contact The Lost Dogs’ Home Frank Samways Veterinary Clinic.

For more information about foods that are toxic to your pets please visit