Is Your Garden Pet Safe?

There are many things to consider when having a garden while having a pet. Some plants can be very toxic to cats and dogs and they should be kept away from them or watched carefully while outside. Let’s discuss some of the most toxic plants to pets in Southeast Asia.

Aloe Vera

The Aloe vera plant is among one of the most common houseplants. They contain something called anthraquinone glycoside which aids bowel movements. When anthraquinone glycoside is eaten by animals it forms compounds in their intestines that result in vomiting, and diarrhoea. It can also lead to depression, anorexia, and changes in the urine.

The Sago Palm

These palms are so popular and naturally are found in tropical and subtropical environments. Sago palms are also ornamental Bonsai houseplants making them one you will need to keep out of reach of pets inside the house as well. Everything from the seeds to the palm frond is toxic on these plants. The plant contains cycasin which is the most active toxin and will result in severe liver failure in dogs. At first, you’ll notice drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea within the first 15 minutes to a few hours after the dog ingesting it. You’ll see central nervous system effects 2 to 3 days afterwards such as weakness, seizures, and tremors. The moment you see your pet ingest any part of a sago palm please get them to a vet right away. Treatment only adds about a 50% chance of survival, but it is key to start right away for the best chance.

The Chinese Evergreen and Elephant Ear Plants

These plants are in the same Araceae family and give off calcium oxalate crystals. When pets chew or bite these plants the plant release crystals that cause penetration and irritation in the animal’s mouth and digestive tract. It sounds extremely uncomfortable, to say the least, and upon rare occasions can lead to swelling of the upper airway passages making it difficult for the animal to breathe. Watch out for excessive drooling, pawing at their mouth, having issues with chewing, or eating, not wanting to eat, and vomiting.


Ivy grows in many places around the world and often chokes other plants out or can be a beautiful climbing piece to your house or garden fences and trellises. Your pet however may have an issue if they decide to take a bite. As with the previous plants, Ivy can also cause drooling, vomiting, and diarrhoea.


Chives, onion, garlic, and leeks all are in the same family and therefore should all be avoided by pet owners or kept away from pets. While certain breeds are more sensitive such as Akita’s and Shiba Innu’s, they should be kept away from all pets. Toxic levels of chives damage red blood cells causing them to rupture leading to anaemia. To keep an eye out for signs of anaemia look for lethargy, pale gums, fast heart rate, fast breathing, weakness, unwillingness or unable to exercise as they used to, and collapse. The same with the above plants, excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea all can present themselves. With Chives poisoning it can take several days to notice any signs so at the first sign, get them to a vet straight away. While some dogs will be okay with small amounts of this toxin, larger amounts can be highly toxic.

We hope you learned a lot from this article and are better aware of just how many plants are toxic to pets. This is only a small portion of them so please fence, gate, train, or watch your pets closer while they are out around the garden. In a future blog, we will discuss the dangers of certain mulches, fertilizers, soil additives, pesticides and just what you can do as alternatives to keep your garden just as beautiful and healthy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *