The next time you’re in your backyard, try to see it like your pets do.
What areas can they run to and play out of your sight? What plants or flowers look tempting to chew?
If you’ve got outdoor cats, curious puppies, or any other pets that go in your property’s outdoor space, it’s important to consider how your landscaping impacts their safety—especially regarding any plants that are toxic to pets.
Being aware of these plants can help you “petscape,” or landscape for the safety and comfort of your pets. You’ll know which ones to plant out-of-reach or fence off, to create both an eye-grabbing and pet-safe landscape.
Generally speaking, toxic plants can make pets sick if eaten repeatedly but fatal poisoning is rare. Poisoning symptoms in pets include disorientation, loss of appetite and drinking lots of water, among others. If your pet does become sick, contact your local veterinarian. You can also reach the 24/7 ASPCA animal poison control line at (888) 426-4435.
5 Common Florida Plants That Are Toxic to Pets
The plants below can be found across Gainesville and North Central Florida—you may already have some of these in your own landscaping. For a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to pets, check out these articles from the ASPCA and UF IFAS.
This practically ubiquitous North Florida plant is toxic to dogs and cats. While all parts of the plant are toxic to pets, the seeds are especially poisonous. Sago Palm is particularly important to keep out of the way of puppies and other curious pets.
This plant can be dangerous whether pets eat it or get its oils rubbed in their eyes or mouth. The entire plant is poisonous, especially the flowers and seeds.
Oleander is a popular landscaping choice in this region because of its versatility and vibrant flowers. However, it’s also recognized as somewhat dangerous due to its toxicity. Eating even a small amount can cause visual problems, stomach problems, weakness, and other symptoms.
All parts of this flowering shrub are toxic and can cause intestinal problems for dogs and cats.
Here’s one to look out for if you have horses.