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When House Plants Pose a Threat to Pets

Indoor plants have few positive properties for pets. Even nibbling on aloe vera, azalea and amaryllis can be fatal in the worst case. Pet owners should therefore check whether their indoor plants are poisonous.

If a dog, cat, or budgie nibbles on leaves, it can have negative health consequences – from watery eyes to diarrhea to apathy or convulsions. Owners and mistresses should therefore find out at an early stage whether their decorative green can make the animal roommate sick.

Be Careful With Plants From the Tropics

Because many of the common indoor plants in Germany originally come from the tropics. “In their hot, humid home they need toxic substances to defend themselves against natural predators,” explains Heike Boomgaarden. The horticultural engineer and plant expert have written a book about poisonous plants.

The sad occasion was that a young dog died in their environment – because the owner had thrown sticks with freshly cut oleander branches. The dog fetched well – and paid with his life.

Plant doctor Boomgaarden sees a need for education: “Pet owners are sometimes unsettled and wonder whether they might be decorating their home with toxic houseplants.” Depending on the temperament and character of the pet, the decorative green attracts nibbling or chewing.

“Dogs tend to gnaw on plants less often than cats,” explains Astrid Behr from the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians. However, one should keep an eye on puppies. “With them, it is like with small children – they are curious, discover the world, and gain experience. It happens that something goes into the mouth that doesn’t belong there. ”

On the other hand, the fact that a cat nibbles on plants correspond to its natural behavior. Eating grass makes it easier to choke out hairballs that land in your stomach while cleaning your fur. Therefore, their owner should always offer cat grass as well. “If that is not available, cats chew on other plants,” says Behr.

Depending on which plant is nibbled on, there is a risk of bad consequences: Aloe Vera, for example, maybe a supple magic substance for the skin. However, if pets chew on the inflorescence, it can cause diarrhea. The amaryllis also causes the intestines to rebel – diarrhea, vomiting, apathy, and tremors can follow.

Pure Poison for Cats

Azaleas contain acetylandromedol, which can cause cardiovascular problems. The poison leads to intoxicating states with increased salivation, staggering, apathy, and vomiting. “In particularly severe cases, cramps, coma, and heart failure can result,” warns Jana Hoger, a specialist at the animal rights organization “Peta”.

Cyclamen also gives animals stomach problems and vomiting, diarrhea. The calla is as beautiful as it is dangerous. Their consumption leads to abdominal discomfort, irritation of the oral cavity, loss of balance, tremors, seizures, respiratory failure – in the worst case, the enjoyment is fatal.

If pet owners discover that something unhealthy has been swallowed, the motto is “keep calm” and “go to a veterinarian’s practice as soon as possible,” says Astrid Behr. “It is helpful for the attending vet if there are indications of what triggered the symptoms.” If you can keep a cool head in this situation, it is best to bring the plant that the animal was chewing on to the practice.

As first aid, owners should expose their darling’s airways (open mouth, pull the tongue forward, remove mucus or vomit) and get the circulation going again with a cardiac massage. “If the animal’s gums look pale, almost porcelain-colored, this can be an indication of a state of shock,” says Jana Hoger.

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