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Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Rottweiler

Like the mythical Greek hero Hercules, the Rottweiler is strong and true with a loving heart. Affectionately called Rotties or Rotts, the breed originated in Germany, where it was used to drive cattle and pull carts for farmers and butchers. That heritage is reflected in the Rottie's broad chest and heavily muscled body. When he moves, he displays strength and stamina, but when you look into his eyes you see warm, dark-brown pools reflecting a mellow, intelligent, alert, and fearless expression.

A well-bred Rottweiler is calm and confident. He's typically aloof toward strangers, but never timid or fearful. Rottweilers exhibit a "wait-and-see" attitude when confronted with new people and situations. When these characteristics come together as they should, the Rottweiler is a natural guard dog with a mellow disposition who is successful not only in police, military, and customs work, but also as a family friend and protector.Rottweiler have a natural instinct to protect their families and can be ferocious in their defense. It's essential to channel their power and protectiveness by providing early socialization, firm, fair, consistent training and leadership, and a regular job to perform. When this doesn't happen, rottweiler can become dangerous bullies rather than the companionable guardians they're meant to be.

Rottweilers walk a fine line between protectiveness and aggressiveness. If they aren't carefully bred for a calm, intelligent temperament and properly socialized and trained, they can become overly protective. That might sound like what you want, but a Rottie who lacks the ability to discriminate is dangerous to everyone he encounters, not just the bad guys.

You must be able to provide your Rottweiler with leadership he can trust and respect without resorting to anger or physical force. Otherwise, he'll take the role of top dog for himself. With a dog as powerful and intelligent as the Rottweiler, this is a recipe for disaster.

Despite what you might have heard, Rottweilers are not temperamentally unsound or inherently vicious. Well-bred, well-socialized Rotties are playful, gentle, and loving to their families. They are easy to train if treated with respect and make great companions.

As wonderful as Rottweilers can be, they aren't the dog for everyone. You must not only be dedicated to training and socializing your Rottie, you must also deal with people who don't understand the breed and pre-judge it. Because of bad or tragic experiences with Rottweilers or other large breeds, some cities have banned the breed. It's unfair to judge an entire breed by the actions of a few, but it's a reality you will have to deal with if you own a Rottweiler.

You can do your part to redeem the reputation of the breed by training your Rottweiler to obey and respect people. Most important, don't put your Rottie in the backyard and forget about him. This is a dog who is loyal to his people and wants to be with them. If you give him the guidance and structure he needs, you'll be rewarded with one of the finest companions in the world.

The Official Temperament

The ADRK (Allegmeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub) is the German governing organization for the Rottweiler breed.

It's also responsible for setting, maintaining, and updating/revising the Breed Standard at an international level.

This is the organization that 'gave birth' to the Rottweiler breed and is the ultimate authority when it comes to the integrity of the breed.

The #ADRK Breed Standard describes Rottweiler behavior and temperament like this....

'... good natured, placid in basic disposition and fond of children. Very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work... self assured, steady and fearless....'

Here in the USA, the #AKC (American Kennel Club) Breed Standard characterizes the correct Rottweiler temperament in this way.....

'Calm, confident and courageous, with a self-assured aloofness... an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability, with a strong willingness to work...'

These descriptions give you a good idea of what to expect from an adult Rottweiler who is well-bred and has been raised correctly.

It's important to know that Rottweiler behavior should never include indiscriminate aggression, or appear vicious, 'sharp', fearful or nervous (skittish).

Unfortunately poorly-bred, poorly-socialized and improperly raised Rottweilers (and there are a LOT of them), may carry these personality traits. Be aware of this and choose your puppy or dog carefully. If you're purchasing your Rottie, only buy from responsible and reputable breeders.

Make Halloween Safer for Your Pet

Don't feed your pets Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum);
Make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag) in case s/he escapes through the open door while you're distracted with trick-or-treaters;

Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets;
If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume;

Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn't likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely;

If your pet is wary of strangers or has a tendency to bite, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours or provide him/her with a safe hiding place;

Keep your pet inside.

Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1.

No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian.
Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.

IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Tips for Caring for a Parrot

A growing number of people are discovering that parrots make the perfect pet. Parrots are really beautiful, fascinating and super smart creatures. However, you need to learn about caring for them before running out to the breeder and buying the first parrot that you see. Here are a few useful tips for caring for a parrot.

Be ready for a messy and noisy house

Parrots toss fruit peels, seed casings, their toys, and the area around their cage can get very messy. Moreover, there’s also the matter of feathers and droppings. A large parrot can make lots of noise. Whether they are yodeling a country song or yelling nonsense, you cannot count on your parrot to be quiet just because you want to take a nap. Putting them in your garage or shutting them away in an isolated room is not a good option. In this way your parrot will become emotionally disturbed and can behave psychotically.

Consider location and temperature

Although parrots are social creatures, every parrot may have different needs. So depending on your parrot’s temperament, place the cage in the area where your bird will often interact with you. A kitchen is a bad place since cleaning and odors from cooking can be very harmful to your parrot! Parrots can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, so if you keep your house at a comfortable temperature for yourself, your parrot will also be comfortable. Temperature stability is the most important factor. Fluctuating temperatures can have a big effect on your parrot’s health.


Vary your parrot’s diet

No one likes to have the same thing every single day. Your parrot needs a varied diet with a wide range of nutritional value. Don’t feed your parrot seeds only. Discuss with your veterinarian what a better diet for your parrot. It’s usually agreed that a parrot needs a mix of seed, pellet, fresh leafy greens, veggies, legumes, grains and some fruits. Keep in mind that parrots must never be fed chocolate, avocado, alcohol, caffeine, salty or sugary snacks.


Keep an eye on claw, beak and feather health

When your parrot’s claws grow too long, go to a vet to trim them. Never try to do it by yourself since parrots have a very active blood supply to their claws and a cut could lead to a blood loss. Feather and beak condition are a great indicator of health. A lot of parrot deficiencies and diseases show up as poor feather condition or malformations of the beak. If your parrot shows change in feather or beak condition, see your vet as fast as possible.


Teach your parrot to talk

If you want your parrot to talk, you’ll need to spend a lot of time teaching it. If intense, limit your teaching sessions to 15 minutes at a time or just repeat the same words and phrases a few times during your ‘lesson.’ Parrots usually mimic the things they hear most often. Keep the phrases short, two or three words usually work best. After your parrot has mastered some words and phrases, you can teach it some useful communications.


Clean the cage

The bottom of the cage must be cleaned every two days, if your parrot is not too messy. Replace any liners and discard any seeds, shells, gravel, etc. Clean all of the toys in the cage. It’s also recommended to clean up any mess that does not require too much time once a day. Make sure you use a bird-safe disinfectant, which you can buy in your local pet stores.

Replace toys in different places

Once you’ve finished washing the cage, put your parrot’s toys back inside, replacing them in different places. Parrots are very intelligent and intensely curious, and unlike dogs and cats, they like changing stimuli.


Regularly visit the vet

While some parrots can be absolutely healthy forever, most of them still have some health problems, which could be solved with preventative veterinarian consultations. However, make sure your vet is one who sees parrots specifically or you’ll just be wasting your money.

Do you have any other tips for caring for a parrot? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hamsters are funny

Hamsters are funny, attractive, lively, active, clean and really easy to care for! The main thing to remember is that your hamster needs enough space to play, sleep and feed. Check out a few tips for taking care of your hamster! 

 Buy an igloo for your hamster

Your hamster needs something to sleep in, so make something in the cage or buy an igloo for your beloved pet in the pet store. I have four hamsters and I can say that they really love the igloo-shaped houses to hide in.


Don’t forget to feed your pet

It’s important not to forget to feed your hamster. You can feed your hamster a commercially prepared hamster-food mix twice a day and give a small supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you decide to give your hamster a new food, introduce it very slowly so he/she can get used to it.

Don’t forget the importance of water for your hamster

Make sure you keep your hamster supplied with clean water. Placing a bowl of water in your hamster’s cage won’t work since it can end up with pieces of food and bedding in it. So buy the type of bottles that attach to the side of the cage. And don’t forget to refill the bottle every day.


Give your hamster enough chew toys

Your hamster also needs to have a few chew toys for his/her teeth. All hamsters like to chew on things. There are many special chew toys in pet stores, which have been designed specifically for hamsters. Hamster toys are very important if you do not want your hamster to get bored.

Don’t bathe your hamster

Hamsters do not like water so never bathe your hamster. Hamsters always keep themselves meticulously cleaned. If you believe your hamster smell bad, then the smell is more than likely coming from the dirty cage. Make sure you always keep the hamster’s cage clean.


Watch where you place the cage

It is important to place your hamster’s cage out of the direct sunlight and draughts. Place it in a quiet part of your home where you’ll visit your hamster frequently. Don’t put the cage in an unheated room, garage, breezeway, or other cold places.

Your hamster needs to exercise

Hamsters are very quick and agile creatures and they need to exercise, so make sure your hamster’s cage has plenty of room to exercise. Hamsters need an exercise wheel to keep their muscles strong and healthy. When your hamster is outside of the cage, you can put him/her in a plastic hamster ball that you can buy in a local pet store.

A hamster is a fun animal to play with and it can really make exciting pet. Do you like hamsters? Do you have any other tips for taking care of a hamster? Share your thoughts, please!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dental Trouble in Pets: What to Watch For and How to Prevent It

“Dogs and cats do not have self-cleaning teeth,” Dr. Bernadine Cruz of Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Woods, California, says. “If their teeth are not taken care of properly, a large percentage of pets will have some type of dental disease by 4 years of age.”

Dental woes are more than just a toothache; they can also pose a serious threat to your pet’s well-being. That is because the condition of your pet’s teeth and gums can directly affect her overall health. Read on to learn about the top four signs of poor dental hygiene and the best ways to combat them. 

1. Bad Breath

How often have you gotten eye to eye with a furry friend only to be put off by her breath? We usually explain away a pet’s bad breath as simply being “dog breath” or “cat breath,” as if it is a normal part of her being. However, unless your pet has just eaten something stinky such as tuna, it is important to recognize that bad breath is not normal and can indicate a problem with her dental health.

2. Discolored Teeth

Healthy canine and feline teeth are white. Any discolorations or stains should be examined by your veterinary team. In addition, buildup or darker areas on your pet’s teeth, particularly around the gumline, is another sign that something isn’t right with her dental health.

3. Red, Swollen or Bleeding Gums

Healthy gums are pink (although some breeds have pigmented gums). Gums that are red and swollen or are bleeding need attention.

4. Loose Teeth

Unless your pet’s jaw has been injured, loose teeth can be an indication of bone loss. You can determine if teeth are loose by gently pressing on them. But do so carefully, as this can be painful and even the most docile pet may bite.

What's the Problem?

All of the above problems can be signs of periodontal disease, a disease that attacks the gums and teeth and can cause potentially life-threatening infections. Here is how it happens: Plaque builds up on your pet’s teeth. If it is not brushed away within 24 to 36 hours, it hardens into a yellow or brown substance called tartar, which can be removed only by a veterinarian (ideally, while the pet is under anesthesia). Over time, tartar that remains on your pet’s teeth also builds up under the gums. Tartar and bacteria eventually separate the gums from the teeth, forming gaps or pockets that encourage even more bacterial growth. At later stages of the disease, surgery may be needed to repair the damage, and affected teeth may need to be pulled.
Periodontal disease is painful for your pet and can lead to abscesses and loss of bone and teeth. It also presents other health risks. “If left untreated, dental disease can spread infection throughout the body,” Dr. Cruz explains. "When the health of the gums is compromised, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause infection in your pet’s liver, lungs, kidneys and heart.”

Prevention Is the Key
The good news is that you can combat periodontal disease in your pet. Caring for her dental health really comes down to three simple steps:
Have your pet’s teeth cleaned professionally by your veterinarian on a regular basis.
Brush your pet’s teeth daily to help reduce the buildup of plaque.
Pay attention to your pet’s dental health. Check on her teeth and her gums regularly.

Visit Your Veterinarian
The first step in ensuring that your pet’s teeth are taken care of is to take her for professional dental cleanings.

For pets with healthy teeth and gums, cleanings are usually done about once a year. Pets that have severe periodontal disease may require more frequent visits. Your veterinarian will recommend a cleaning schedule based on your pet’s needs. Every pet is unique when it comes to dental disease. “Genetics, breed and luck all play a part in how often you will need to have your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned,” Dr. Cruz says.

One method of cleaning is to use an ultrasonic scaler. Its metal tip moves quickly and vibrates, using a stream of water to remove debris and plaque off teeth. Similar to what happens during a trip to your own dentist, your pet’s teeth will be cleaned both above and below the gumline and then polished.

Administering anesthesia is necessary for the procedure, because most pets will not sit still for their teeth to be cleaned under the gumline. Your veterinary staff will take plenty of precautions to make undergoing anesthesia as risk free as possible for your pet.

Your veterinarian may perform a preanesthetic exam and will most likely recommend a blood profile screening, which can help rule out preexisting problems that could affect the safety of anesthesia. In addition, today's anesthesia is safer for dogs and cats. Recent clinical advances in anesthesia help ensure that your pet will be alert and virtually back to normal shortly after the cleaning.

Cleaning at Home
Home care is an essential part of keeping your pet’s teeth in tip-top shape. “The best time to start a dental routine is when you first bring home a puppy or kitten,” Dr. Cruz explains. “Your first goal is just to get her used to having her teeth and gums touched.”

Start by simply wiping your pet’s teeth with a damp washcloth wrapped around your finger. Offer your pet lots of praise for being cooperative. After she has gotten used to the washcloth, she can graduate to a pet-safe toothbrush. This method can also work on an older pet that has not previously received home dental care.

Once you are ready to start brushing your pet’s teeth, you will need two essentials:

Toothpaste specially formulated for pets. Pet toothpaste comes in all kinds of interesting flavors, including vanilla, beef, chicken and seafood. Avoid using human toothpaste, which can irritate your pet’s stomach if she swallows it.
A toothbrush. One that has been specially developed for pets (e.g., a little rubber finger brush for cats, a smaller brush for small dogs) is your best bet. You can always ask your veterinarian for advice on making the brushing experience a positive one for you and your four-legged friend.

You will find that regular professional cleanings, as well as the simple act of daily brushing, will help keep your pet's teeth and gums healthier throughout her life. A little extra care in the short run will lead to important health benefits for years to come.

Toothbrushing Tips

Dampen the toothbrush first.
Press the toothpaste down to the bottom of the brush. This will help keep your pet from licking the toothpaste off the brush.
Take your time introducing this new routine into your pet’s life.

Fighting Dental Disease With Food
Diet can play a role in maintaining your pet’s dental health. Specially formulated dental diets are effective in fighting plaque and tartar buildup. For added assurance, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance. You can also ask your veterinary staff which diet they recommend.

Monday, October 15, 2018


Iguanas are cold blooded reptiles. They are not easy to care for and often die in captivity. They should never be purchased without careful consideration. Iguanas are very expensive to care for, you need to make sure that they have the proper heat and lighting conditions, that they are fed the correct foods, and that their cage offers them enough room to grow to their full 4–6 feet (1.2–1.8 m). If you are considering buying an iguana, think how it will cost to spend the majority of your money making sure they are properly cared for. They are not a throw away pet!
Give your iguana a lot of proper light. Iguanas need lots of natural special light so they can absorb U.V.B. and U.V.A light. U.V.A light keeps your iguana feeling good and helps reptiles have a good feeding response. U.V.B. light allows the iguana to digest their food and absorb vitamin D which allows them to absorb the calcium that they need to help prevent metabolic bone disease.The best source of U.V.A light is the sun or basking lights. U.V.B. light should be purchased at pet stores like Pet Smart offer fluorescent bulbs that are designed specifically for U.V.B. output. It is necessary to change out the U.V.B bulb every 6-12 "nine months is usually best" to keep your iguana healthy.


It is very important to provide adequate heat for your iguana. These reptiles are native to warm climates such as Central and South America, and they are not used to lower temperatures. When keeping an iguana as a pet it is important to have a heat lamp to keep the iguana warm. Average temperature needed on a day to day basis is between 80 and 90 degrees. Once you have a heat lamp in place it is important to make sure that you watch your iguana to see how they react to the heat. If they are constantly under the heat lamp it needs to be warmer, if they are never under the heat lamp it needs to be cooler. Nighttime temperature shouldn't drop below 75oF, daytime temperatures should be in the range of 85-95oF, with a hot stop between 97-99oF. Check your temperatures. These temperatures can be attained by use of heat lamps hooked up to a dimmer. Iguanas are cold blooded and cannot regulate their temperature like humans. Therefore when they get to hot or cold they move to where it is cooler or warmer. Do not allow your iguana direct access to the heat lamps as they may burn themselves. Electrically heated terrarium rocks, though aesthetically pleasing are potentially dangerous and should not be used.

Prepare your iguana's home. You'll need a nice large house for your iguana. An aquarium that you get from a pet store is not big enough, even for your baby iguana. A good size for an adult iguana cage is 3 feet (0.9 m) deep x 6 feet (1.8 m) wide x 6 feet (1.8 m) high. This will give even an adult iguana some space to move around.

Other things to consider include the need for large branches, as iguanas love to climb. As a way to regulate the humidity within the cage consider buying a humidifier to put moisture into the air. The most important thing to remember when buying or making your pet's home is that iguanas grow very fast.
Feed your iguana properly. Iguanas are vegetarians and a variety of dark green leafy vegetables will keep your iguana healthy. Recommended greens are -collard greens, mustard greens, alfalfa, dandelion greens, watercress. Iguanas do not eat head or iceberg lettuce as these have virtually no nutrition! Romaine lettuce is acceptable, yet iguanas also need a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy diet. These include -yucca root, snap peas, parsnip, papayas, okra, mango, kabocha squash, green beans, butternut squash and acorn squash "avoid citrus fruits though, as reptiles can't handle the acidity". For treats you can give them - dahlia, hibiscus, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, or whole wheat bread pieces "give them bread very sparingly though" and do not be afraid of giving your iguana some "Commercial Iguana Food". It does provide the nutrients they need. However, it is "highly" recommended to give them vegetables and fruits so they have a broad source of vitamins and nutrients they need as well as extra hydration. Iguanas need a constant supply of fresh, clean water to drink from! Be sure to change the water frequently, otherwise you risk having a sick lizard!
Multiple Iguanas- Not a good idea if in the same cage. Iguanas are by nature very territorial, in the wild they live on their own and only get together to mate. Having two or more iguanas in the same cage will usually cause them to become aggressive with each other leading to fights and injured iguanas. This can cause disease such as mouth rot. Mouth rot happens if the iguanas get hurt at the mouth and the wound gets infected. Likely you won't notice it for a while but he or she will eventually stop eating due to the infection. Mouth rot can also occur from bacterial, viral, and parasitic origins. Mouth rot can occur from incorrect cage humidity and temps, poor nutrition, or bacterial infection. You can tell right away if your pet has mouth rot by just looking at his mouth. If you see puss in the mouth "usually looks like cottage cheese" or any swelling on the jaws, its most likely a type of mouth rot. There are vast ways an iguana can be in danger of something going wrong but mouth rot can be more common due to improper cage setup. It is treatable, but do not wait until your pet is very weak to get him treated, otherwise it may be too late to save the iguana. Don't wait to treat a problem or your iguana may die. Do as much research as possible, and set thing up right the first time around. An iguana can become a wonderful pet if care is taken seriously, as these lizards can live 20+ years.

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Common Plants Poisonous to Pets

Pet owners know that dogs and cats often have a penchant for eating strange things. Cats often gravitate toward plastic or wool, and many a dog will chew on whatever it can get its chops around. And then there are plants. Whether garden plants, houseplants, plants in the wild, or flowers from the florist–plants can provide a tasty and tempting diversion for animals, one that can be at odds with your pet’s health.

In order to prevent poisoning by cut flowers or house plants, avoid placing toxic ones in your home where pets may be able to access them. Or better yet, avoid buying flowers and plants that are known to be toxic. Outside is trickier, especially if your dog or cat has a wide range to roam.

For dogs, the animal science department at Cornell University suggests adding bran flakes to his food or switching her diet to one higher in vegetable fibers to deter cravings for vegetation. The only other thing to do is to watch your dog’s behavior when walking outside, and try to prevent them from munching on vegetation unless you know it is harmless. When you see symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, abnormal urine, salivation, weakness, and any other abnormal condition, take your pet to the veterinarian because he may be poisoned.

Aloe vera

Great for burns, toxic to cats and dogs. Who knew? If you keep an aloe plant on hand for burns, make sure to keep it out of reach for your pets.

Symptoms: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine color.



Pretty, common as a garden ornamental, and a very popular potted bulb for the holidays…and toxic to both cats and dogs. Be careful with the bulbs, they contain the most toxins.

Symptoms: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors.


Azalea Rhodedendron

Not only toxic to cats and dogs, this popular garden staple is also dangerous for horses, goats and sheep–and ingestion of just a few leaves can cause serious problems.

Symptoms:  Acute digestive upset, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, frequent bowel movements/diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, leg paralysis, weak heart rate and recumbency for 2 or more days; at this point, improvement may be seen or the animal may become comatose and die.

Baby’s Breath

Baby’s Breath

This sweet filler of many a floral arrangement seems innocent enough, but not so innocuous when it comes to your pet’s digestion.

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea.



This popular garden and container plant is toxic to both dogs and cats. The tubers are the most toxic part.

Symptoms: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.



The carnation isn’t the most poisonous of the bunch, but it’s ubiquity in floral arrangements makes it one to keep your eye out for.

Symptoms:  Mild gastrointestinal signs, mild dermatitis.

Castor Bean

Castor Bean

Not in everyone’s garden or bouquet, but castor bean plant is a popular landscaping plant used in many parks and public spaces. Watch out for it on those dog walks.

Symptoms:  abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.


The smell of chrysanthemum is enough to keep me away, but dogs and cats may still be drawn to it. It’s not likely to cause death, but it is a popular plant and can cause quite a bit of discomfort. In certain cases, depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.
Symptoms:  Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis.



These pretty flowers are popular in the garden and in pots–and they are toxic to both cats and dogs. The highest concentration of the toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant.

Symptoms:  gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.



Most people aren’t going to let their pet chow down on pretty daffodils, but who knows what may happen when you turn your back. These harbingers of spring are toxic to cats and dogs; the bulbs being the most toxic part.

Symptoms:  Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias.



Although gladiolus are great in the garden, they are more popularly used in floral arrangements–since it is the corm (bulb) that is most toxic to dogs and cats it may not present much of a problem, but still…

Symptoms:  Salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, diarrhea.



If you have shade in your yard, I’m guessing you have a host of hostas. Am I right? I’ve seen many hostas unbothered by dogs and cats, but the plant is toxic to both–so make sure your pet doesn’t have a taste for them.

Symptoms:  Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.

Ivy (California Ivy, Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, English Ivy)


I really can’t see a dog or cat approaching a wall of ivy and begin munching away, but then again, some of the things I have heard about pets eating have really surprised me, so…be warned. Ivy foliage is more toxic than its berries.

Symptoms:  Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea.


So lovely, so fragrant, so dangerous to kitties! Members of the Lilium family are considered to be highly toxic to cats, even when very small portions are ingested. Many types of lily (Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, Casa Blanca) can cause kidney failure in cats. Curiously, lilies are not toxic to dogs.
Symptoms:  Kidney failure.



For the sake of the monarchs I really hope you will plant milkweed in your garden, but…dangit, it’s quite toxic to dogs and cats. (You can help monarchs in other ways, though: First Aid for Butterflies.)

Symptoms:  Vomiting, profound depression, weakness, anorexia, and diarrhea are common; may be followed by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid, weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and death.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

It somehow doesn’t surprise me that morning glory can cause hallucinations–and although cats on catnip are cute, cats and dogs experiencing rubber reality? Not so much.

Symptoms:  Gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia, hallucinations.



Being a native of southern California, I’ve known forever that oleander is pretty, and poisonous–but I never knew how severely it could affect cats, dogs, and even horses. All parts contain a highly toxic cardiac glycoside (much like digitoxin) and can cause a number of problems.

Symptoms:  Colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbency, and possibly death from cardiac failure.



“Beware the poinsettia,” pet-owners have been told ad nauseam. But guess what, they are totally over-rated in toxicity! The ubiquitous holiday decoration may cause discomfort, but not the alarming panic that has been described. Read Can Poinsettias Kill Your Cat? for more about the Poinsettia myth.

Symptoms:  Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing mild vomiting.


  Not the most toxic plant on the list, but it’s such a popular houseplant that is should be noted that cats and dogs can both have adverse reactions to chewing or ingesting it.
Symptoms:  Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

Sago Palm

Sago Palm

If you live in a temperate region, chances are that you have sago palms around. They are a very popular landscaping plant, and also do double duty as a popular bonsai choice. They are apparently very tasty to animals, and unfortunately highly toxic–all parts are poisonous, but especially the seeds.

Symptoms:  Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

Tomato Plant

Tomato Plant

Is there anything better than the smell of tomato plants on your hands after you’ve picked fresh tomatoes? Not so for your dog or cat. Although tomato plants probably won’t prove lethal for your pet, they can provide a good dose of discomfort.

Symptoms:  Hypersalivation, inappetence, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, CNS depression, confusion, behavioral change, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate.


Tulip Narcissus

It’s the bulb of the tulip and narcissus plants that have the highest concentration of toxins. This means: if you have a dog that digs, be cautious. Or, if you are forcing bulbs indoors, make sure they they are out of reach.

Symptoms:  Intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.



The bark and leaves of this very popular evergreen provided the basis for the cancer-treatment drug, paclitaxel–but general ingestion of any part of the tree (except the flesh of the berry) can be very dangerous to animals. Horses have an especially low tolerance to yew.

Symptoms:  Central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.