Responsible owners know they need to take steps to ensure the home is a safe and relaxing environment for their pets. However, there are so many plants in the US or UK which are toxic to cats and dogs that it can be hard to know how to keep your pet safe without sacrificing your beautiful garden. Fortunately, there are harmless alternatives that are both safe for pets and will enable you to maintain a beautiful and sweet-smelling home and garden.
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KNOW THE SIGNS OF POISONING
The first thing any owner should do when considering toxic plants and their pets is to learn the common signs of poisoning. We can do everything in our power to protect our cats or dogs from consuming something toxic in our homes, but they might still find something while they are out exploring or on a walk.
- Blood in stool or vomit
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Dry mouth and/or eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Oral irritation and excessive drooling
The more you can identify if your pet has been poisoned, the more quickly you can seek help from a vet.
REPLACE TOXIC PLANTS WITH SAFE ALTERNATIVES
While keeping your pets separate from your plants can work if you are vigilant, there is still the risk your dog or cat might get into a garden patch when you are not looking, or nibble at a houseplant while you are out of the house. Thus, pet nutrition experts James Wellbeloved recommend households with pets should avoid planting or potting plants which are poisonous to pets altogether.
Fortunately, having pet-friendly houseplants and garden plants doesn’t mean only having to use artificial plants. There are a number of easy-to-maintain alternatives which will not harm your pet if they happen to get curious.
Use instead of: Amaryllis
Amaryllis bulbs are brightly coloured and quick to bloom. Sadly, our pets find them attractive, too, and are poisonous in large quantities.
Achiras are similarly shaped, with large leaves and bright red blooms. And best of all, they aren’t toxic to animals.
Use instead of: Holly
Holly is another popular plant and it is traditional to bring it into the house to use as a Christmas decoration. However, it is highly toxic and can cause severe abdominal pain and digestion problems.
Autumn Olive has a comparable look, with long green leaves and red berries, without any of the risk.
Use instead of: Poinsettias
Poinsettias are vibrant, eye-catching, and sweet-smelling, but so are roses. The benefit of planting roses is that the former contains a toxic sap which irritate the lips, mouths, and throats of cats and dogs if they try to ingest them.
Use instead of: Lilies
Lilies are one of the nation’s most popular and most-loved flowers. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most toxic common plants, and just a few petals can be enough to cause extreme pain or even death. If you suspect your pet has eaten any part of a lily, seek help from a vet immediately.
A far safer alternative is the white orchid. They are equally beautiful, will make your garden or home smell great, and will give you peace of mind that your pet is safe around them.