Q: This time of year, I get really worried about all the plants and flowers blooming, because both my dogs and my cat like to chew on things outside. Could you give me a list of the plants and flowers that I should be worried about, or even remove from my yard? P.L., Farragut
A: Springtime is beautiful, but yes, those colorful blooms can be tempting for some pets.
Lilies, of all types, are especially toxic to cats. Even eating small amounts can cause kidney failure. If your cat likes to nibble on plants in the house or in the garden, this is one that I would recommend removing.
This time of year, daffodils and tulips blooming can be problematic for pets. In small amounts, they are mild to moderate GI irritants, but can cause more serious problems if large amounts are ingested. This includes the bulb, as that is where the toxins are most concentrated.
Azaleas and rhododendrons can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but severe heart issues can occur if large amounts are eaten.
Common shrubs in landscaping that might be avoided include yew, Nandina, and milkweed. There are also some common houseplants to avoid, including aloe vera, pothos, and diffenbachia.
The website aspca.org has an extensive list of poisonous plants. Also included are photographs, which might help you identify plants in your home or garden.
If you have questions about a specific plant or about your pets, you may email Dr. Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.