Sep 22 2015

Fall Poisonous Plants

Responsible pet parenting includes knowing what plants are toxic to our furry kids. The safest way for plants and pets to coexist is to have only non-toxic plants in your pet’s environment. When that isn’t possible, it is best to know what symptoms may indicate potential ingestion or exposure to a toxic plant. If you ever suspect a plant poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately and take the plant with you to aid in identifying the appropriate treatment for your pet.

Types of plant exposure can vary with seasons. In this article we will identify poisonous plants which are more popular during the fall.


Chrysanthemums are a very popular plant used for fall decorating both outside and inside the home. Mums are toxic to dogs and cats if ingested in high enough amounts. Cats tend to be more sensitive to the toxic effects than dogs. General signs of toxic exposure include: vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, lack of coordination, and inappetance. In cats, symptoms can be seen within a couple hours. Sensitive cats may also show signs of dermatitis from merely coming into physical contact with mums.

Interestingly, chrysanthemums contain pyrethrum, a natural insecticide. Pyrethrins are the active ingredient in pyrethrum that kills insects. Man-made pyrethrins are called pyrethroids. Pyrethrum and derivatives from it have been used as an insecticide for over 200 years.

Meadow Saffron

Autumn Crocus
Meadow Saffron, also known as Autumn Crocus, is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Signs of exposure include: drooling, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, liver and kidney damage, respiratory failure, central nervous system signs (such as seizures), and even death. Signs may occur soon after ingestion or several days later. In case of ingestion, pets should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.


Clematis is a vine with colorful flowers. The plant has a bitter taste which keeps most pets from eating much of it. Common signs of exposure in dogs and cats include: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth and throat tingling, abdominal pain, weakness, labored breathing, changes in heart rate and rhythm, delirium, seizures, and possibly death. In case of ingestion, pets should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

(Photos courtesy of the ASPCA.)

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