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Poisonous Plants for Pets – Sue McDougall

Creating a safe space for our precious pets is just as important as creating a safe environment for our children. When establishing a garden it’s important to take into consideration any potential hazards for pets, particularly if you are planning to bring a puppy home. Many plants pose risks to animals and the danger ranges from a mild reaction that results in an animal showing symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting for a short time to a severe reaction that requires a visit to the vet.

While it’s very difficult to avoid hazards completely a few of the common plants that cause problems include:


Agapanthus roots – only important if your animal is prone to digging and chewing.


Bulbs – these are poisonous if the bulb is chewed, including daffodils and jonquils. Avoid storing in a place where animals have access to and don’t encourage your pets to play with them like a toy in the garden.

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Rhododendrons, including azaleas – all parts of the plant have the potential to cause a problem. Try to avoid access for puppies to minimise the risk of chewing on branches.

Aloe vera_web

Aloe Vera – whilst it’s safe for humans when applied on the skin, it will cause mild to moderate symptoms in dogs and cats, especially as they may lick it off their fur.

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Members of the Araceae family – this includes Umbrella trees, Elephants Ears, Philodendron, Peace Lily and Devils Ivy.  Lilies, in particular, are incredibly toxic to cats and great care should be taken with them.



Written by Sue McDougall, a qualified horticulturalist and experienced garden centre owner who grew up in the WA wheatbelt and has had experience in gardening throughout the entire state.  You may know Sue as the garden expert on 6PR radio and by her many TV appearances.

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