Spring officially arrives this weekend, bringing with it work in the garden. Picking the right plants and flowers is important, not only for curb appeal but also for the health and wellness of pets. Some plants can be toxic to animals. Ingesting even a small amount of a harmful plant can be fatal for a dog or cat. The following is a list of some of the most poisonous plants to avoid putting in areas that pets frequent:

SAGO PALM: Also known as the Palm Sunday palm, the entire plant and the seeds in particular contain a potent toxin called cycasin that can be fatal, even if the animal eats only a single seed. Ingestion of any part or amount of this plant warrants immediate emergency veterinarian treatment.

AZALEA: Ingesting even just a few leaves can cause serious issues such as upset stomach, drooling, loss of appetite, weakness and leg paralysis and, in some cases, coma or death.

DAFFODILS: They contain poisonous alkaloids that can cause vomiting, excessive salivation, diarrhea, convulsions, tremors and heart problems. The bulbs are the most dangerous part of the plant.

DIEFFENBACHIA: Also known as dumb cane, this plant is often recommended for natural air purification inside the home. When eaten, however, it not only burns the mouth and throat but also causes the esophagus to swell, potentially blocking the animal’s airway.

HIBISCUS: Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and anorexia.

Other highly toxic plants include grapes, mushrooms, marijuana, lilies, black walnuts, castor bean, daisy, geranium, hydrangea, poinsettia and tomatoes. You can find a full list with photos at ASPCA.org.

Knowing what plants are harmful to pets will keep them safe inside the home, in the yard or out for a stroll. While we all keep a watchful eye on our pets, it takes only a second for them to ingest something harmful. The safest way to prevent poisoning is to keep pets away from these plants or to not have these varieties at all. If it is suspected that an animal has come into contact with a poisonous plant and it exhibits any of the symptoms listed, contact a vet immediately.


HAPPY HOUR: The Bulldog Mid-City will donate 20 percent of its sales to the Louisiana SPCA from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Friendly, leashed pets are welcome on the back patio. The Bulldog is at 5135 Canal Blvd., www.bulldog-midcity.draftfreak.com.

PET ADOPTION EVENT: The Louisiana SPCA will hold a neighborhood pet adoption event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org.

DOG DAY AT CITY PARK: The Gatsby Strut, a dog-friendly walkathon around the Big Lake at New Orleans City Park, will be a highlight of the Louisiana SPCA’s Dog Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be live local music, services and treats from animal vendors and artists, dog obedience demos, dog contests and great prizes. For information or to register, go to www.la-spca.org/dogday.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@ la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, email molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com, www.animalrescue neworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.