Experiencing a pet emergency? Call us at 562-863-2522 or Get Directions

Our hospital will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More

What Plants Are Dangerous For My Pet?


You may not be aware of the fact that some plants around your home and in your yard can be very dangerous for your pet. Whether it is due to ingestion or skin rashes, many pets are treated every year by emergency vets for exposure to dangerous plants. At Crossroads Animal Emergency, we offer advice on how to identify plants that could harm your pet and tips to keep your pet safe.

  1. Sago palms. These beautiful palms are extremely popular in southern California. They thrive in our temperate climate and are small enough to be manageable even in the tiniest yards. However, many pet owners do not realize that sago palms are one of the most toxic plants for your pets. Even a very small amount of the plant, when ingested, can cause liver failure and death in both dogs and cats. As little as one seed can be fatal. Animals that ingest sago palm material will usually begin vomiting, often violently, within 24 hours. Animals may also suffer seizures or become very depressed. If you suspect that your animal has consumed seeds, fronds or any other part of the sago palm, contact Crossroads Animal Emergency and get the animal to our office as soon as possible for treatment.
  2. Lilies. Flowers, stems and leaves of the plants of the lily family, which include Easter lilies, day lilies and tiger lilies, are extremely toxic and poisonous to cats. Even a very small amount, when ingested, can cause kidney failure. Cats who ingest lilies or amaryllis, another bulb plant, often stop urinating and vomit. They can die if the poisoning is left untreated; however, with fast treatment it is possible to reverse the effects. Therefore, getting your cat to Crossroads Animal Emergency after ingestion of lilies is critical.
  3. Oleander. This popular evergreen shrub is used frequently in California for hedges or along highways. The plant is toxic for many animals, including cattle, horses, dogs and cats as well as humans. Ingestion of the leaves causes vomiting, slowing of the heart rate and eventual death. If you suspect your pet has ingested oleander, get the animal to Crossroads Animal Emergency immediately.
  4. Dieffenbachia. This popular houseplant is highly toxic for cats and dogs. After ingestion, animals will often have swollen tongues or lips, making it difficult for them to swallow and eventually causing breathing difficulties. Animals may also paw at their faces due to pain and drool or foam at the mouth as well as vomit. If you suspect your pet has eaten any part of a dieffenbachia plant, bring the animal to Crossroads Animal Emergency immediately
  5. Castor bean. The castor bean is the source for ricin, a deadly poison that can affect dogs, cats, horses and humans. Seeds of the castor bean cause organ failure when ingested, although the seed coat may provide some protection if it is not pierced. Therefore, it is very possible that one animal could display poisoning symptoms while another does not, even if both have ingested the seeds.

Symptoms normally appear within 12 to 48 hours after ingestion. Animals lose their appetites, have difficulty breathing and lose their coordination. Convulsions, bloody stool and coma follow. If you believe your dog or cat has ingested castor beans or any part of the plant, contact Crossroads Animal Emergency immediately.

Contact Us

Crossroads Animal Emergency


11057 Rosecrans Ave Norwalk, CA 90650

Clinic Hours

Monday – Friday: Open all night from 6 PM to 8 AM
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: Open 24 hours