Springtime awakens the green thumb in all of us. Whether you and your pets go outside to dig in the garden, or the sunshine inspires you to add a few fresh plantings inside, it’s good to know how to pet proof the plants on your property.

Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. They are lovely houseplants. But…

Jade plants are toxic to pets.

Irises, bottlebrush, and daylilies also pose a threat.

Ten Most Common Pet Toxins of 2014

Overall, plants rank eighth on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA’s) list of pet toxins. The ASPCA reported five percent of calls made to the Animal Poison Control Center involve plants.

Also dangerous, are the insecticides used on many plants. These chemicals ranked third on the ASPCA list. Lawn and garden products came in tenth. To ensure our beloved pet’s safety, keep all chemicals out of reach. If you’re getting your lawn sprayed with chemical treatments, be sure to wait 24 hours before letting your pet on the grass.

Inspect Plants This Spring

While you don’t necessarily need to tear your home and gardens apart as buds come in this spring, it is good to educate yourself about what plants do grow in and around your home so you can make informed decisions should a new, or even old, pet decide to try a new snack. It could save you thousands of dollars and heart break!

Perhaps…

  • Remove risky plants, or transplant them to pet-free areas of the garden,
  • If a plant is too big (or special) to remove, place fencing around it.
  • Focus on replacing what makes sense. Digging up azaleas might be extreme, but it’s not too hard to replace a toxic aloe plant with a non-toxic (and more attractive) haworthia.

Symptoms of Plant Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Blood in the stool
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruising
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Inability to urinate

If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms after “helping you garden,” call your vet immediately.

Safe Plants for Pets

Although there are many plants that are poisonous or otherwise dangerous to pets, there are many that are completely safe. Bromeliads, for instance, are safe to have around your four-legged friends and a nice touch for spring.

If you are itching to really get gardening, try some of these other safe ideas:

  1. Blue Echeveria
  2. Bamboo
  3. Areca or Golden Palm
  4. Burro’s Tail or Lamb’s Tail
  5. Christmas Cactus
  6. Cliff Brake or Button Fern
  7. Hens and Chickens
  8. Pearl Plant
  9. Pony Tail Palm
  10. Spice Orchid

If you have particular plants in mind you would like to try out in your home or landscaping, be sure to check the ASPCA’s website of toxic and nontoxic plants to make sure they are safe for your pets. If they’re not, the ASPCA has provided safe alternatives to keep you and your pets healthy and happy this spring gardening season.