Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Toxic Plants

Santiago, one of the dogs in the small dog area, plopped down in front of us yesterday and began chewing on a twig he had discovered. His mother worried that it might be poisonous, which started us on a discussion of plants we know are toxic. I rather quickly realized how little any of us actually knew.

The ASPCA lists 448 plants that are toxic to dogs or cats (393 that are toxic to dogs, but not cats) The site indicates that its list is not "all-inclusive," but merely covers the most frequently encountered plants.

Everyone at the dog park yesterday knew about oleander, but how many of us knew about:
     Apple. I knew the seeds contained cyanide, although I never thought it was in sufficient quantity to harm anyone, but I didn't realize that the stems and leaves contain it, too, particularly when wilting. I see apricots on the list, I bet for the same reason.
     Avocados. The leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark all contain a toxin called persin.
     Azaleas. Or any of the 250 species of rhododendron. They contain grayantoxin.    
     Bird of Paradise. The one I clicked on caused only mild nausea, but the notes said there is another plant, also called Bird of Paradise, which is more toxic.
     Castor Beans. This is probably right up there with oleander. Not only do the beans contain ricin, which is extremely toxic, but the plants grow wild all over the place, so our dogs are highly likely to find one.

Caitlin is now climbing all over me, and I'll have to quit or lose my laptop.

From the length of the list, I'm now feeling that you should never let your dog touch anything that you don't know for sure is non-toxic.

Tomorrow I'll check out that list.