These pretty plants are poisonous for pets!

As we begin recovering from another crazy Mardi Gras, it’s time to get ready for my favorite season– CRAWFISH season. What I don’t enjoy is cleaning up the yard and replanting the garden. Sometimes I wonder if the hours of weeding and planting are worth it.  Once everybody comes over and that pot is boiling, the answer is a resounding yes.

This year we had to take extra care during our

sago palm

The number one plant that every dog household must avoid is the sago palm, as every single part of the plant can be fatal if ingested.


clean up as we have a very energetic and curious, 9 month old puppy. He gets into everything, and is always chewing on something in the yard. Choosing safe plants and pesticides is a must for any pet household. What should be a fun, easy trip to the plant nursery often takes us over an hour as I carefully select plants that have minimal toxic effects. The number one plant that every dog household MUST avoid is the sago palm, as every single part of the plant can be fatal if ingested. If you think your dog may have eaten sago palm, bring him to the nearest vet immediately for medical treatment. Cat households should avoid planting any type of lily since these cause severe kidney damage.

When it comes to using pesticides in the garden, I like to avoid them. Slug poison is a serious neurotoxin and is not easily treatable once ingested. Instead, try cutting red Solo cups into thirds and placing them into the ground around the flower bed; fill those up with beer. It will attract the slugs, trap and kill them, all without harming your pets if they ingest some. Before spraying the grass with an insect/flea killer, I would check with your veterinarian on the exact chemical in the product you are using. Some products are safe for dogs, but definitely NOT for cats. I like to use ones with the active ingredients imidacloprid or fipronil. I also treat my yard every other month due to our warmer weather and higher flea population. Unless absolutely necessary, do not place rat poisons or baits anywhere in the yard where pets have access. None of them are safe for your pet despite what the pest control representative might say. A poison is a poison, and will do its job regardless of who ingests it. If you must use one, please make sure to know the type.

When in doubt, a great resource to utilize is the ASPCA’s website There is also a Poison Control Center you can call (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic; it does cost $65. They will guide you through what to do, and even give you a case number to give to your vet should you need to seek medical attention.

Dr. Adrianna Smith has been with the Louisiana SPCA for just over a year; she worked in private practice in Metairie for 3 years before joining our team. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Smith has one dog, which she adopted from the Louisiana SPCA. If you have any questions for Dr. Smith, email or visit dr-adrianna-smith