Skip to main content

How to Know Which Plants Are Poisonous to Pets

Curiosity really can kill the cat. Learn which plants to keep your pet away from to avoid a potentially fatal incident.


  • Step 1: Understand which trees are toxic to your pet. Bark, leaves, and shoots from Black Locust trees; Oak tree leaves; berries from Chinaberry trees; and the seeds or nuts from Horsechestnut and Buckeye trees are all very poisonous.
  • Step 2: Keep your pet out of your garden. Many common garden flowers, such as narcissus, daffodil, iris, and bird-of-paradise are poisonous to pets. Maintain strict control over your pet's diet -- and keep a close eye on them when they're around plants -- and they'll stay healthy and keep you happy.
  • FACT: In 2009, the ASPCA managed nearly 8,000 calls about pets eating common houseplants.
  • Step 3: Don't let your pet eat wildflowers, like buttercups, cowbane, cockles, and cowslip, which can cause abdominal pain, drooling, and cardiac issues in pets.
  • TIP: Christmas houseplants, such as poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly berries are also toxic to pets.
  • Step 4: Avoid lilies. Most lilies, including calla lilies, tiger lilies, peace lilies, and Lilies of the Valley, are poisonous to pets. Cats, especially, have been known to become seriously ill from eating lilies. Some lilies even cause kidney failure.
  • Step 5: Keep your pets away from houseplants like elephant's ear, philodendrons, and rosary pea, which contain oxalates that cause a burning sensation in the mouth, tongue, and throat of your pet.
  • Step 6: Keep your pets away from fruit. While the flesh of the fruit itself may not be harmful, the seeds and pits of many fruits, such as apples, cherries, and apricots, are poisonous -- many containing cyanide.

Popular Categories