The weather in St. Petersburg has been absolutely gorgeous and before it gets too hot, many of us are turning our attention to our gardens. But before we grab the giant cart at our home improvement store or nursery, (I prefer to stick to the places that will refund my money when, not if, I kill my plants.) and load up with what looks pretty, take a few minutes to think about any pets that will be spending time in your garden or flower beds. Many plants are toxic to cats and dogs. Here is a basic list of ones to steer clear of:
- Lilies and Oleander. Lilies are especially toxic to cats. We wish they came with a warning label, as many lily plants are sold to be houseplants. Even in very small amounts, ingesting them can cause severe kidney damage in kitties. Oleander can cause serious health problems as well, including gastrointestinal tract irritation, cardiac abnormalities, hypothermia and even death.
- I happened to see some of these seemingly growing wild by the seawall along Northshore Blvd. Always popular for spring, tulips can add much color to our gardens, but if the bulb is ingested, it can cause gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and even abnormal heart function.
- A favorite as a shrub because of its colorful flowers, azaleas contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system. Severe poisoning could lead to coma and sadly, death.
- Sago Palm. All parts of this plant are considered poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” are highly toxic. Even one or two seeds can result in vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and liver failure if ingested.
If you notice your pet enjoying the great outdoors and getting a little too up close and personal with your plants, be sure not to leave them unattended or unsupervised. For a complete list of toxic plants, and those that are safe to plant, visit the ASPCA’s website.