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Pets Harmful Plants Newsletter


Harmful Plants for Pets?


Question: I do landscaping for a living. This is a list some of my customers are paying attention to put out by ASPCA - toxic plants list for dogs, cats and livestock. I suppose I need to just abide to their wishes. There are many, many plants on this list. It comes across as "being the gospel" in terms of what you need to do to keep your animal safe. Some of these plants are Begonias, Periwinkles, Caladiums, English Ivy, Garlic, Yarrow, Heavenly Bamboo, Nandina, Hibiscus, Portulaca, St. Johns Wort, Wandering Jew, Lantana, Larkspur, etc. I use these plants frequently. What is your opinion?  A.K.

Answer: There are some serious problems with this list. Begonias, yarrow, garlic, hibiscus and portulaca are all edible plants and/or beneficial herbs. I have thousands of larkspur (the most toxic plant on this list) growing on all my properties and encourage others to plant it freely because it is a wonderful wildflower. The rest of the plants on this list are ubiquitous and no problem to animals at all. If they were a problem, I would have had at least one report of such over the past 40 years. See Edible Flowers

The following information from the ASPCA apparently led to the above question and my response:

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants

"This list contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Please note that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or our 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.

I love helping the SPCA here in Dallas find homes for their great pets, but it looks like we need to help them with their dangerous plant list. If all these plants were avoided, landscaping would be very difficult. 

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Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett

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