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Toxic Plants -Protecting your pet part 3

Toxic Plant. Protecting your pet

When your pet is in the garden, don't think just because a bird or other mammal or insect is safe on a plant that your pet will be safe if they eat that plant.

Some animals stomaches have evolved to be able to resist toxins and can digest some very strange things.

Your dog couldn't eat the amount of grass a cow or sheep can (although I sometimes believe my Beagle does try).

The following plant is toxic to cats, dogs and horses, livestock, insects and also humans (althought a human would probably not try to consume it).



Rhododendrons spieces are used in parks and gardens but Rhododendron ponticum grows wild. Athough it's quite beautiful, it is a bit of a pest -or invesive speciies and threatens UK native species.


Photo credit - Authors own photo library

Rhododendron are available in many sizes and flower colour but they are all potential threats to your pet if they nibble the leaves regularly or eat any part of the plant.

Insects can't eat Rhododendron as they have a toxin called grayanotoxin which effects sodium in cell membranes and causes nerve issues.

Symptoms are salivation, vomitting, shortness of breath and seizures to list a few. Your pet will need immediate veterinary care.


Plant you could use instead...



If you want a plant that can grow almost to the same size as Rhododendron, has green leaves, evergreen, pretty flowers and is safe for your pet, try Choisya. 

Photo credit - Authors own photo library

It is quite a resiliant plant if your pet likes to run around your garden. It can take quite a bashing and will grow back.

If cut down or bits are broken off. Maybe don't let your pet eat leaves or nibble plants but this one should not effect your pet like toxic plants can if they do eat a bit.



Another plant you need to be wary of with pets is Lupins.

Lupins are very pretty, come in a vatiety of flower colours have a tall flower spike but as they have a quinolizidine alkaloid they are toxic to many pets.

Again, if your pet likes to nibbles plants, Lupins are something you want to avoid or if you really must grow them, as they are quite beautiful, put in a part of the garden your pet is not going to get in to if they like eating things they should not.

If your pet does ingest part of this plant, get veterinary advice immediately. Your dog may suffer with nausea, diarrhoea, confusion and will need to be treated urgently.

There aren't any plants that I can suggest that look as stunning as Lupins in flower as most of the perennials with tall flower spikes are toxic in one form or other.

These will appear in another blog another day.