Just about every pet owner will have plants in and around their homes and a number of these plants produce chemicals and toxins which can be poisonous to our pets. Many poisonous plants are very common in gardens both inside and outside our homes and this puts them within easy reach of our dogs and cats.

Recently, at TVH we had a case of a dog ingesting a poisonous plant. This plant is commonly known as Ribbon Plant, Bracket Plant or Spider Ivy. Following ingestion of this plant the dog started to salivate and on the way to the hospital started vomiting. Ribbon plant contains saponins and alkaloids and poisoning occurs via ingestion of any part of the plant. As soon as the dog came into the hospital, it was put on a drip and given medication to help prevent the vomiting and nausea associated with the ingestion of the plant.

Toxic plant ingestion’s are relatively common cases seen in vet clinics. Generally, most adult dogs and cats leave plants alone, however, curiosity or boredom can lead them to chewing on plants. Puppies are more likely to chew on plants in your garden and so you will need to be much more vigilant when your puppy is outside in the garden. Ultimately, prevention is better than cure. However, the potential for plant poisoning can occur almost anywhere. Therefore, it is important to be aware of common poisonous plants in your area and identify ones in your garden and remove them if possible.

There are three easy steps to help prevent your pet from being poisoned:

1. Know the names of all plants in your garden

2. Label all of your plants so you can identify them

3. Keep all poisonous plants out of reach of your pet

If you suspect that your pet has eaten a poisonous plant in your garden it is important that you remain calm and remove any plant that may be remaining in your pets mouth. Gently rinse the around your pets mouth with water and check for blistering, swelling, redness around the mouth or on the skin and check for any salivation. Try to identify the plant your pet may have eaten or bring a sample into the hospital with you to enable the best treatment possible in the shortest amount of time.