The Villages Voice - November 2016

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Protect Your Pets from Poisonous Plants

by Kathy Porter UF/IFAS Sumter County Master Gardener

Protect Your Pets from Poisonous Plants People are often shocked to learn how many beautiful plants in their homes or yards are poisonous.  Some dogs breeds are more prone to gnaw on plants and inquisitive puppies especially are known to chew up plants. Also, the feline crowd can chew up many a plant. Contary to popular belief, animals don’t know which plants are toxic and may eat them. Case in point, we learned of a young dachshund who ate a red seed from a coontie and spent two touch-and-go weeks in ICU before recovering. Many hazards exist in and around our homes that are dangerous and even deadly to our pets, everything from cleaning fluids to certain foods. Onions in all forms, chocolate, raisins and grapes, coffee, avocado, macadamia nuts and garlic are all poisonous to dogs and cats. Especially dangerous can be that pill you were taking and dropped on the floor. Guaranteed your dog or cat will find it if you can’t.  There have been a number of incidents where a dog has taken the dishwasher detergent pod out of the receptacle and eaten it.  If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek help immediately.  The ASPCA maintains a poison control hotline at 888-426-4435. Your garden can also be a very hazardous place for your dog and cat and even your young grandchildren if they ingest any of these plants. The following is a list of the most common plants that are available locally at nurseries and big box stores.  Except as noted, the entire plant is poisonous.   Allamanda Aloe vera Amaryllis Angel’s trumpet Asparagus fern Azalea Begonia Boxwood Bracken fern (lethal to horses) Brazilian pepper   Carolina jessamine Caladium Caster bean (seeds only) Coontie (red seeds only) Croton Cyclamen Devil’s trumpet Dieffenbachia Heavenly bamboo Hydrangea Kalanchoe Lantana (kills cattle) Lilies Mistletoe Morning glories Oleander Peace lily Philodendron Pokeweed Red maple Rhododendron Sago palm Sabal palm   This not a complete list but will give you something to consider when you are looking for new plants for the landscape. If you have pets, there are many other alternatives that are not poisonous. For more information about poisonous plants, check out the UF publication at: The Master Gardener Speaker Series is on hiatus for the months of November and December. We will return in January 2017 with a full calendar of topics and speakers. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Gardener’s Journal delivered via email.  You can sign up at the email address below. And certainly last but not least, many thanks to everyone who attended our Plant Sale on October 1st and made it such a huge success. Thankfully we had lovely weather this time.  Put March 18, 2017 on your calendar for our Plant and Garden Festival, also at the Wildwood Community Center. My sincerest wishes for a Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and a bountiful array of vegetables to grace your table. Kathy Porter UF/IFAS Sumter County Master Gardener 352-689-4670 Send questions to: