Plants are great additions to any house or apartments.
Whether inside or outside, a lot of plants and pets can live alongside in harmony. However, there are plants that pose some kind of threat to pets.
Oftentimes some curious pets venture to try the plants and suffer the consequences.
Sadly, educating pet animals to keep them away from this kind of danger is nearly impossible.
Over the holidays, that is exactly what happened. My Dachshund ‘Rooga’ chewed on the African Evergreen plants I had on my balcony.
I had no idea that African Evergreens were poisonous to dogs and even worse I didn’t even think my dog would take a bite of the plant.
I mean she didn’t just take a bite of it; she devoured the whole plant and half of another one like it was her favorite treat or something.
The first thing I hear is Rooga making funny noises all crouched down, in a corner of my living room.
I had never heard my dog make a funny noise like that so I started getting worried.
Soon after that I saw her puke white long thick foamy substance. That vomiting seemed very unnatural to me. I knew she ate something.
I looked around for a minute and next thing I noticed is that my African Evergreen on my balcony was chewed on.
Putting them two together, I knew the dog was poisoned so I immediately called my veterinarian.
I am so glad my dog is fine now. The vet told me that Rooga was lucky. There were just a couple of small plants of African Evergreen at my place. Had there been more plants and had the dog eaten more, the whole incident could have been very disastrous.
I learned a great big lesson from the incident. Now I have the plants put up where Rooga can’t reach it.
All it may take to be out of danger and potentially save your pet’s life is just moving the plants out of the reach of your pets.
A lot of times however, especially if the plant is growing in your yard, that might not be possible. Or even worse, you don’t really know what plants are dangerous to your pets.
The reason I wanted to write this ‘series’ post is to raise awareness on how dangerous some of the plants we have in and around our house can be for our pets.
This ‘Pet poisonous plants’ series is going to list and describe all the possible plants that is potentially dangerous and should be kept away from your pets.
Hopefully, these greatly illustrated and descriptive posts in this series will help you enhance your knowledge to gain as much information as you need so one day it might save you and your pet from potential disasters.
That is the ultimate aim of this ‘Pet Poisonous Plants’ series.
So let us get started, in alphabetical order, with the plant African Evergreen which coincidentally is also the same plant my dog Rooga got poisoned eating.
African Evergreen is a climbing herbal vine with pretty distinctive features like arrow-shaped leaves which are also mottled in color.
The color of the leaves ranges from burgundy to bronze green with varicolored veins. The texture of the leaves is smooth, shiny/glossy and leathery.
These unique features along with hooded singular flowers make the plant pretty attractive.
These plants also do come in lots of varieties. Some really popular ones are:
Holly Nephthytis, Cream Allusion, Berry Allusion, Bold Allusion, Exotic Allusion Nephthytis, Julia Allusion, Painted Arrow, Pink Allusion, White Butterfly Arrowhead Vine etc.
A lot of these popular varieties are a cultivar. A cultivar is a plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation. These varieties may not be found in the wild unless they were discarded.
Plant enthusiasts categorize these plants as ‘Tropicals’ and ‘Tender Perennials’ in ‘Vines and Climbers’ category.
These types of plants are perennial evergreen plants. (A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years and evergreen plants keep their leaves year round.)
Found in the following regions:
They are native to Mexico and South America. However nowadays, they are typically grown as indoor houseplants throughout the world.
In the United States (especially in states like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Idaho, California, Tennessee) they may also grow freely as a noxious invasive weed.
Here are the pictures of some of the varieties of popular African Evergreen plants:
Alternative names for African Evergreen:
They are alternatively also known as Nephthytis, Syngonium, Goosefoot Plant, American Evergreen, Goosefoot Vine, Arrow Leaf Plant, Arrowhead Vine, Arrowhead plant, Trileaf Wonder, Five Fingers, Emerald Gem etc.
Please note that these names are just common names or farmer’s names given to this plant family and is based on the normal language of everyday life. The geographical range over which a particular common name used may vary. A plant called by a certain name in one location may represent a totally different plant in another location.
Poisonous to pets:
This plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs and only affects them if the plant is ingested.
The varicolored veins of the African Evergreen have insoluble oxalate crystals which is the most toxic part of the plant.
Even if your pet takes a small bite of the plant it can pose a great threat to their health.
When the plant is chewed, the crystals are released which penetrates deep in the tissues in their mouth.
Symptoms in poisoned pet:
The moment they taste the plant, they will start vomiting, drooling and pawing at the mouth. They will suffer from acute mouth irritation and have a difficult time swallowing anything.
What you should do?
The first thing you need to do is calm yourself down and possibly anyone else that is getting agitated at the scene. Getting agitated only makes matters worse.
The second thing you need to do is to remove your pet from the area of exposure and make sure no other pets or anyone else including kids are exposed to this vicinity.
If the poisonous materials are on the ground, remove them out of reach as well.
Then calmly check to make sure your pet is breathing normally and acting fine (or not).
After that, collect some samples of the evidence (parts of plants including the leaves) which the animal ingested. This will help the vet or poison expert identify the root of the poison fairly quickly.
Remember the more quickly the poison is identified, the more swiftly help can be rendered.
Any home remedies including food, milk, salt, oil etc. should NOT be given to the pet.
Another thing to remember is NEVER to induce vomiting unless told by a pet poison expert or a vet.
Contrary to popular belief, inducing vomiting may be more disadvantageous and deadly during the time of poisoning.
Another popular belief is giving your pet hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.
It is not wise to give hydrogen peroxide to your pet unless a pet poison expert or a vet actually says so in your particular case.
For cats, hydrogen peroxide does not help to induce vomiting. It just causes huge salivating and foaming making matters worse. Prescription medications are necessary for a cat to throw up the ingested poison.
The most important thing you need to do is get help. If you get help early, your pet can be saved.
Always have your vet’s phone number or phone number for Pet poison helpline saved in your phone for immediate access.
Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour animal poison control service available throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.
If you live in the U.S.A and Canada, you may call Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 for assistance.
If you’re calling from Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, you can reach Pet Poison Helpline toll-free at 877-416-7319. Other Caribbean islands can call 011-1-952-853-1716.
Diagnosis and recovery is always quicker when sickness is reported immediately. Therefore, please don’t wait for the symptoms to show before reaching an expert.
The symptoms of different poisoning take various times to show. However, it is safer and maybe even less expensive if you get help immediately.
If your pet is poisoned, the window of time to save your pet can be very narrow so TAKE ACTION immediately.
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