As summer begins to wind to a close and Fall lurks around the corner, Crossroads Animal Hospital wants to take some time to talk about house plants. With a rise in popular gardening accounts on Tik Tok and Instagram, you might be tempted to dip your green thumb into the wonderful world of indoor plant parenthood, and you should! Indoor plants are a great way to help purify your indoor air and provide many benefits to your health. However, some house plants should be avoided if you are also a pet parent. If you are considering bringing the outdoors in this fall, it is crucial to the health of your pet to ensure your house plants are safe. Always practice good plant and pet care by discouraging plant Let's Talk Toxic Houseplants!
munching regardless of your plant's safe-for-pet status.
Alocasia (Elephant Ear)
With its stunning foliage and ability to get quite large, alocasia is a popular choice at plant stores. Unfortunately, alocasia contains insoluble calcium oxalate acid which can irritate or burn the mouth, lips, or tongue of cats and dogs. Alocasia poisoning can also lead to a swollen airway and other symptoms include vomiting and drooling if ingested. The acid in alocasia can also cause skin irritation, and every part of this plant is toxic, including the root, stalks, and leaves.
Instead, try Musa
Besides impressive, Musa plants have gorgeous leaves that will outgrow those old toxic elephant ears in a heartbeat! Plus, Musa is the fancy plant name for BANANA!
A super popular indoor plant that is widely available at grocery stores and big box stores, aloe is a bad choice for pet owners. While aloe has many beneficial properties for humans, aloe contains saponins and aloin which won't work well with your pet's digestive tract. Although not considered to be life-threatening, the symptoms can be severe and may require veterinary care.
Instead, try Burro's Tail
These awesome succulents are safe and unique!
Stunning flowers and relatively easy to care for, amaryllis are a popular indoor house plant, especially during the holidays. However, pet owners beware - symptoms like stomach pain, drooling, tremors, diarrhea, and vomiting in cats and dogs have been reported when amaryllis is ingested.
Instead, try Orchids
With plenty of orchid varieties out there to choose from, you are sure to find a gorgeous alternative to brighten up your space!
Lush, green, and fruiting, asparagus ferns contain sapogenins, which is a compound that can cause dermatitis in dogs and cats. When they fruit, the berries are poisonous to pets, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
Instead, try Boston Fern
Boston Fern is lush, plush, and non-toxic!
If you are a fan of growing spices indoors, you might be tempted to try your hand at growing bay leaves, but this plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes bowel obstruction in pets.
Instead, try Basil
Basil is non-toxic to our canine and feline friends, and the smell and taste of fresh basil is wonderful.
The scarlet color begonia was made popular by the Grateful Dead, but begonia contains oxalates, which cause severe oral irritation in both dogs and cats. Be especially careful with begonia as there are over 1,000 variations of this plant, and not all of them appear to belong to the classic idea of the begonia plant.
Instead, try Gloxinia
Gloxinia has plenty of color choices if you are looking for a flowering plant. If you are after a replacement for ornamental leaf begonias, gloxinia have gorgeous leaves!
While they might be highly Instagram-able, be extremely cautious when bringing different types of palm into your home. Some palms are safe, and others can have deadly consequences. For example, cardboard palm and sago palm has been known to cause several serious issues in pets, such as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or liver failure due to the amount of cycasin in these particular varieties.
Instead, try Ponytail palm
Cats are always very interested in palms, and ponytail palm is non-toxic and rather hardy!
Ultra-popular in the fall, you may be tempted to move your gorgeous potted mums indoors when the weather gets colder, but they're toxic to cats, dogs (and horses!) when ingested. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, hyper-salivation, loss of coordination, and dermatitis.
Instead, try Marigolds
A great alternative, marigolds smell better than those mums anyway!
All varieties of this species are unsafe for both dogs and cats. Toxic oxalates and proteolytic enzymes cause oral burns, drooling, and vomiting.
Instead, try Peperomia
There are lots of options with Peperomia, and they are resilient and very beautiful.
Dracaena contains saponins, which cause vomiting, excessive drooling, and other symptoms. In cats, this plant can also cause dilated pupils.
Instead, try Bamboo
Fast-growing, non-toxic, exotic, what more could you ask for?!
This is a popular bedding plant in planters, but the leaves, in particular, are toxic. Dogs and cats will experience stomach pain, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea due to saponins.
Instead, try Baby Tears.
Perfect for filling and overflowing their planters, baby tears are a safe alternative to ivy.
Jade Plant (Money Plant)
It is unknown why these plants are toxic to dogs and cats, but when ingested, they cause nausea and vomiting.
Instead, try Air Plants
Amazingly easy to care for, unique, and definitely one of the more unique plants out there, air plants are perfectly non-toxic.
These plants have beautiful flowers, but they also contain bufadienolides, which cause gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Rarely, pets experience arrhythmia.
Instead, try African Violets
They come in many shades and tints of purple, pinks, and even blues!
The foliage of this plant is poisonous to many animals — not just dogs and cats, but livestock as well. Pentacyclic triterpenoids in the leaves cause labored breathing, weakness, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, liver failure can happen.
Instead, try Hypoestes Phyllostachya
Also known as the polka dot plant, these colorful beauties are wildly impressive with their beautiful variegations!
All varieties of philodendron contain oxalate crystals, which can burn the mouths of dogs and cats and cause excess salivation or trouble swallowing. Fun fact - the wildly popular fiddle leaf fig is a member of the philodendron family, so if your heart is set on one of these trendy plants, opt for an artificial one instead!
Instead, try Royal Velvet Plant
Forget those plain green philodendrons - try a luxurious-looking Royal Velvet Plant!
Pothos or "Devil's Ivy"
All varieties of this plant contain oxalate, which causes oral irritation and other symptoms.
Instead, try Prayer Plant
This amazing plant got its name because of the way the leaves will fold in the evening.
Because they contain saponins, snake plants cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting in pets.
Instead, try Cast Iron Plant
Cast iron plants are a great substitute for snake plants, and they get bigger and more beautiful!
The Popular Spider Plant
While typically classified as non-toxic, the compounds in them, which are related to opium and thought to be a type of hallucinogenic for cats, can result in an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. For this reason, it's wise to keep them away from your pets, so opt for a hanging basket to not let the spider plant's wiggly legs tempt your cat from trying a taste.
While not as popular this time of year, we felt that the easter lily was worth mentioning just because of how toxic this plant can be for cats and dogs alike. Its toxic mechanisms are unknown, but in cats, Easter
lilies cause vomiting, or in severe cases, kidney failure. Some less popular but just as toxic lily varieties include Asiatic, Day lily, Japanese Show lily, oriental lily, rubrum lily, stargazer lily, tiger, and wood lilies.
Both calla lilies and peace lilies contain insoluble crystals of calcium oxalates. When a cat or dog chews on or bites the plant, the crystals are released and directly irritate the mouth, tongue, throat, and esophagus. Signs may be seen immediately and include pawing at the face, drooling, foaming, vocalizing, vomiting, and diarrhea. The signs usually go away on their own. Breathing problems due to swelling of the mouth and airways can occur but are uncommon.
A sharp (pun intended!) rise in popularity with cacti has not gone unnoticed in the vet world! While most readily available cactus varieties are non-toxic, those sharp spikes in the prickly pear varieties can be a surprise for unsuspecting pets. If you feel the need to fill your heart with a prickly cactus, be sure to keep it up and away from your pet. If you want to opt for a safer bet, go with a Christmas cactus or hens and chicks' succulents!
If your pet shows too much interest in their new photosynthesizing friends, they might be longing for some greenery in their diet. Easy to grow and safe to eat, pet grass could be just what they need and readily available at your local pet supply store. As with any treat, be sure to take your pet's size into account and only provide a size-appropriate amount.
Did your favorite plant not make the list? The ASPCA has a great online database of toxic and non-toxic plants that includes photos and potential signs of poisoning you should watch for. If you suspect a plant has poisoned your pet, it is essential to seek help immediately. Always know what you are bringing into your home and always discourage pets from sampling the greenery. Happy growing!
Summertime is right around the corner! As the weather warms up and we are opting to spend more and more time outside soaking up the sunshine, we must refresh ourselves on some of the hazards that our pets face as the season changes. From hot pavement dangers to water safety, we have you covered on all the reminders you need to keep your pet happy, safe, and healthy this summer!
In the land of 10,000 lakes, most of us love spending hot summer days around beautiful, sparkling lakes! However, there are hidden dangers that we need to keep in mind before taking out pups out to do the doggie paddle.
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural-born swimmers. It is important, especially with pets you have never taken swimming before, to test their abilities before allowing them to jump in paws first. Start in the shallows and get in with them, make sure they can keep their head above the water, and all of their legs know what to do. If your pet seems panicked about taking a dip, it is best not to force them into swimming. When helping your pet learn to swim, a special dog-friendly lifejacket may help!
Look out for blue-green algae blooms and contaminated water as they can be dangerous, even deadly! It is a good idea to only take your pet swimming in bodies of water that are monitored for recreational use to ensure safety. Leptospirosis is a real threat, and the bacteria that cause this disease can be present in a great lake or a small puddle. A vaccination is available that can help protect your pet against lepto, so give us a call to ensure your puppy-paddler is protected before summertime swimming!
Strong currents can sweep a dog away in the blink of an eye, so it’s a good idea to take note of current conditions before taking a swim. While a lake might appear to be crystal-smooth underneath the surface, strong rip currents brewing is possible. It is a good idea to avoid swimming in water that is visibly fast-moving and to keep your pet within easy reach should they run into trouble with a current.
Water intoxication occurs when your pet drinks too much water in a short period and can happen during swimming. Excessive water consumption can throw off the balance of electrolytes in your dog’s body. Signs of water intoxication include lack of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. Advanced symptoms include difficulty breathing, collapsing, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Remember to take breaks while playing in the water to give them time to digest whatever has been slurped up.
If you have ever walked barefoot across the asphalt on a hot summer day, you know the excessive heat it traps and holds on to! Paw pad injuries due to hot pavement are common in the summer, so be sure to take your summer strolls through grass or protect your pooches feet with doggie booties!
Never leave your pet unattended in a car. On a warm and breezy early summer day in Minnesota, your pet can overheat or suffocate very easily, even with the windows down.
Beat the heat of summer by enjoying the outdoors during cooler times of the day, like early mornings and the evening. Always bring plenty of clean water for your pet to drink when spending time outdoors and provide breaks in the shade to help them cool off.
Summertime Food Dangers
While enjoying our BBQs and picnics this summer, keep in mind the food dangers that could affect your pet. While it might be tempting to share the bounty, be sure you are only treating your pet to small bites of foods that are 100% safe for them to eat. Avoid these summertime favorites:
Bones and fat trimmings. While it might be tempting to let your cat or dog have that hunk of fat you trimmed off your steak or the bone from those perfectly smoked ribs, excessive ingestion of fat can cause pancreatitis, and cooked bones can splinter and cut mouths and even cause internal bleeding when swallowed.
Beware of the hidden dangers. From onions in your tater salad to grapes in the chicken salad, it is vital to stay vigilant about the foods you enjoy this summer to ensure your pet does not eat something that can harm them. Don’t forget to remind any well-meaning backyard barbeque guests as well!
Alcohol. Your pet likely will avoid the strong stuff, but wines, fruity cocktails, beers, ciders, and hard seltzers might smell appetizing to your pet. Ensure all cups are looked after, and empty bottles and cans are correctly disposed of where your pet can’t reach them.
Frozen Treats. In moderation, a bite or two of plain vanilla ice cream will probably be fine for your pet. However, overindulgence can lead to tummy troubles and excess weight gain. There are plenty of great homemade frozen treat recipes online to help keep your dog or cat cool this summer or opt instead to purchase frozen treat products specially formulated for pets. Just keep portion size in mind and give these items sparingly.
Monthly preventatives are crucial during the hot summer months. Ticks, fleas, and mosquitos are flourishing during the summer and constantly looking for their next host. Even one missed dose of preventatives can leave your pet suffering, so stock up and set a reminder!
Biting gnats are annoying to both people and pets, but the good news is that they are harmless! Besides some wild-looking bites, the red spots tend to clear up in about a week and do not seem to bother pets after the bite occurs. If you notice spots like these after enjoying a day out, don’t panic! However, if the spots appear to leak fluid, bother your pet, or don’t go away after a week, give us a call.
If you have any questions or concerns about summer safety, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our goal is to help you ensure that you and your pet have a fun, healthy, and safe summer together!
Open heart disease: FDA finds potential link to 16 brands of dog food
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“ From puppy-hood to adult dogs, the team at Crossroads has worked carefully, diligently, and most importantly, compassionately to meet our organization's requirements and provide the health solutions and care our dogs need. The real value of Crossroads is that you get a partner who truly wants to see your companion animal and family member healthy and happy and whose individual team members work with you to ensure they are. Thanks, Crossroads! ”— PawPADS
“I found Crossroads Animal Hospital before I even moved to Minnesota! We had two pets, one with a serious chronic condition and other with a life-threatening acute condition, and needed to ensure continuity of care once I arrived in Minnesota. Dr. Davies, Dr. Michels and the staff at Crossroads Animal Hospital provided fantastic care to my pets for the rest of their lives. And they demonstrate amazing compassion and caring to my pets and to my family when our pets reached the end of their time with us. ”— Chris B.
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“Dr. Michaels is always focused on Princess. She puts us at ease with her calm demeanor. She will discuss any options, including cost, available for treating our dogs illness. The techs understand caring for a dog and are sensitive to our feelings. The office staff have a smile and are very attentive to the customer. They are also fun to joke with. All in all, an excellent place to take your pet. ”— Bob and Julia C.
“New client to Crossroads. Needed an appointment for my 12 1/2 yr old female cat. Got the appointment quickly. Saw Dr. Julie. Couldn’t have been happier with the entire experience. Excellent customer service, thorough exam on Callie, called the next day with results. Would highly recommend to anyone needing veterinarian services. ”— Jean L.
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“Crossroads Animal Hospital is fantastic. I am so appreciative of all of the care they’ve given my pets. They are friendly and honest, flexible and great at what they do. ”— Jennifer and Luke V.
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“Dr. Langevin is wonderful. She obviously cares about pets and their care as well as the people who own them. She seemed knowledgeable about new treatments for my dog with epilepsy. ”— Robin and Steven N.
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“Kelly is always sooooo friendly & helpful. You’re very fortunate to have her on your staff. ”— Sue L.
“I have been bringing my dogs to Crossroads Animal Hospital for over 16 years. The care from all of the staff there has been exemplary. They have all gone above and beyond on more than one occasion. From a volunteer to stay a little after hours because I couldn’t get there before closing time, to the doctors who diagnosed a difficult problem of a very sick dog who was just 6 years old at the time. That dog is now almost 18 now and is doing great! I will be using Crossroads for all of my future veterinary needs and will highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for excellent care for their animals. ”— Nadine O.
“Dr. Strecker is a wonderful vet. He goes above and beyond and obviously cares about dogs. He suggested a different medication that we could try to treat a long-standing medical problem of our dog that I was not aware was an option. ”— Robin and Steven N.