Five Plants that are Toxic to Your Pets

While we love having plants in our homes and yards we need to be aware that some of those plants are toxic to our pets. Our pets are not aware of the dangers and may chew on the leaves or flowers of these common plants.


We have all seen the articles about having aloe plants in our home to clean the air, but aloe can be very toxic to our dogs and cats. If you suspect your pet has ingested aloe here are some of the symptoms to look for: diarrhea, vomiting, depression and occasionally tremors. Get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. 

Aloe is Toxic to Both Dogs and Cats.

Bird of Paradise

This plant is all over South Florida and it can be mildly toxic to your dogs and cats. If you suspect your pet has ingested Bird of Paradise some of the symptoms will include lethargy, vomiting and nausea. Get your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Bird of Paradise can cause lethargy and more when ingested.

Calla Lily

This is a very common house plant and it can be very toxic to your dogs and cats.  If you suspect your pet your pet has ingested any part of a calla lily plant you need to seek immediate veterinary attention for them. Some of the symptoms are excessive drooling, vomiting and irritation of the mouth. 

Calla Lily can burn and irritate your pet’s mouth.

Rubber Plant

While this plant is not as toxic as some of the others, it is a common house plant and caution needs to be used. The rubber plant is toxic to both dogs and cats and will cause diarrhea and vomiting. Contact your veterinarian to see what your course of action should be if your pet ingests any part of this plant.

This common house plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Sago Palm

This plant is very common in South Florida and is extremely toxic to your dogs and cats. If your pet ingests any part of the sago palm in can cause death. You must get your pet to a veterinarian without delay. Some of the symptoms are increased thirst, bruising and vomiting. Ingestion of the sago palm can cause severe internal bleeding, liver damage and even liver failure. 

The sago palm can be deadly to your pets.

Spaying or Neutering Your Dog: The Pros and Cons

Dog sitting

Spaying or neutering your dog has its pros and cons.

As I sit here writing this my two rescue dogs, Briscoe and Kensi, are keeping me company. When my husband and I adopted them from one of our local rescue groups we did have to make the decision about spaying or neutering as that was already done. 

Here in South Florida, a nonprofit dog rescue organization can only adopt out a dog that has been spayed or neutered, unless there is a medical reason for not doing so, such as age or heart condition.

What Does Spaying or Neutering Mean?

In short, it means sterilization. For male dogs, it is castration (removing the testicles). For female dogs, it is the removal of the ovaries and uterus.

Pros of Neutering Your Male Dog

  • Some Health Problems can be Prevented – Your intact dog is at risk for enlarged prostate and testicular cancer.
  • A Calmer Dog – Dogs who are neutered tend to be quieter and less stressed.
  • Less Chance of Marking – A neutered dog generally does not feel the need to mark his territory, especially in the house.
  • Less Chance of Getting Lost – Neutered dogs are not on the hunt for a mate, so there is less chance of him wandering off in search of his next girlfriend.
  • Doesn’t Contribute to Pet Overpopulation – Here in South Florida hundreds of unwanted dogs and puppies come into our local shelters every day. There are dozens of others that are just dumped on the street like trash. While you may not own the female dog, your intact male dog is contributing to the problem. It takes two to tango.

Cons of Neutering Your Male Dog

  • Possible Weight Gain – Your dog may not be as active which can lead to an overweight dog. This can be managed with diet and exercise.
  • Anesthesia Risks – There is about a 20% chance your dog may have an adverse reaction when under general anesthesia, which is required for neutering. Most of these reactions are not serious, but there can be life-threatening complications for some dogs.
  • Hormone Imbalance – This can sometimes cause hypothyroidism, which can also lead to weight gain.
  • Can Affect Bone Growth – This is usually caused by early neutering. Consult your vet as to the best age to neuter your dog.

Pros of Spaying Your Female Dog

  • Some Health Issues can be Avoided – No ovaries means no ovarian cancer and no ovarian cysts. No uterus mean no uterine cancer or infections. Spaying your dog before she hits puberty lowers her risk of breast cancer too.
  • A Calmer Dog – When a dog has no desire to mate they are naturally calmer.
  • Less Mess – If your dog is not I heat there will be no bloody discharge.
  • Doesn’t Contribute to Pet Overpopulation – There are already so many unwanted dogs and you certainly do not want to be contributing to the problem. Besides, finding good homes for puppies is not an easy proposition.

Cons of Spaying Your Female Dog 

Close up of black and tan dog

Weigh the pros and cons of spaying and neutering.

  • Anesthesia Side Effects – Just like neutering, spaying is surgery requiring anesthesia. While most reactions are minor, 1 in 5 dogs reacts negatively to anesthesia. Anesthesia can, however, be life-threatening.
  • Possible Illness – Spaying may increase the occurrence of urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and hypothyroidism.
  • Possible Weight Gain – Your dog may be less active, so they may put on a few pounds. This can be managed with diet and exercise.

There is no perfect answer to whether you should spay or neuter your dog. Every day I see so many unwanted pets, that I tend to think spaying and neutering is a must, but there are risks. There are also risks if you do not spay or neuter. Either way, you must be a responsible pet owner.

What are Your Thoughts on Spaying and Neutering? Are Your Dogs Spayed/Neutered? Let Us Know in the Comments Below.