Avoid Planting These Poisonous Trees If You Have Pets

Spending time with our pets is how many of us de-stress after a long work week. Like humans, pets also enjoy outdoor time when they can frolic in the leaves and roll around in the grass, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air around them. Enjoying some time with your pets outside is a great way to unwind and get some exercise. What we as pet owners may not realize, however, is that potentially toxic trees could put our furry loved ones in danger of becoming ill.

A number of the common trees found in our yards and along our walking paths can be toxic to our much-loved pets. Many pets will ingest plant matter while exploring their outdoor environment, which means if they’re exploring an area with toxic trees, they are at risk for ingesting toxic materials, which may make them sick, or worse. From your arborist experts at Mr. Tree, here is a list of poisonous trees you should avoid planting in your yard if you have pets.

Fruit Trees

Many homeowners plant fruit trees in their yards so they can enjoy the annual bounty. First flowers blossom in the spring, and then they turn into fruits that ripen and are either picked to eat or fall to the ground below. What pet owners may not realize is that many fruit trees contain toxic chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides, which can make your pets sick if the leaves are ingested in large quantities.

Some symptoms you may notice your pet showing if it is negatively affected are vomiting, diarrhea, low blood oxygen levels, excessive panting, bright red mucus membranes, and dilated pupils. It can even lead to slowed heart rate, seizures, respiratory congestion, and in extreme cases, coma. If enough leaves are ingested, respiratory failure can occur, and in the worst-case scenarios, it can lead to death.

Some of the fruit trees known for having cyanogenic glycosides are plum, peach, apricot, cherry, apple, and crabapple trees, along with other trees in the Prunus and Malus genera.

Coffee Trees

The coffee tree contains a toxin called saponin. Saponin is part of a plant’s natural defense mechanism that protects the plant from fungal and bacterial infections and keeps insect infestations at bay. Saponin is used in soap making and is common in Chinese medicine. However, saponin is toxic to pets and can cause gastric upset in pets, with vomiting and diarrhea as the main symptoms of toxicity. Extreme cases can lead to overexcitement, dilated pupils, convulsions, and even coma.

Avocado Trees

Although avocado trees require lots of sunlight and warmth, there are small strips of the Oregon coast that are suitable to grow avocados in the Pacific Northwest. Avocados provide a variety of nutrients and are delicious to eat, however, the trees do contain a toxic chemical called persin. By ingesting the leaves, fruit, seeds, or bark of an avocado tree, your pet can become ill. The symptoms you may notice if your pet is negatively affected by persin are vomiting and diarrhea. In more extreme cases, your pet may have respiratory congestion or fluid may accumulate around the heart, causing congestive heart failure, trouble breathing, and possibly death.

Yew Trees

Yews, part of the Taxus genus, are beautiful, dark green evergreen trees with fine needles that add magnificence to any landscape. Yews can be found in various sizes, from ground cover to tall evergreens that are quite stately. Unfortunately, yew trees do contain toxins called volatile oil and taxine A and B, which can cause vomiting, muscle tremors, shortness of breath, and seizures. In more extreme cases, your pet may endure acute heart failure, which leads to death.

Pine Trees

The Buddhist pine, also known as the Japanese yew and the yew pine, contains a toxin that can cause severe gastric upset with vomiting and diarrhea. The Buddhist pine is different from and should not be confused with the yew trees mentioned above, although both are toxic to pets.

The Norfolk Island pine is another pine tree that has toxic properties that can negatively affect your pet if ingested. Symptoms of toxicity from the Norfolk Island pine are vomiting and depression. The Norfolk Island pine is also known as the house pine or Australian pine. Pine trees, spruce trees, and fir trees all contain oils that can irritate your pet’s mouth, nose, and throat, which can lead to vomiting. The pine needles can perforate the bowels if ingested or cause a bowel obstruction.

Schefflera Trees

Schefflera trees, also known as umbrella or octopus trees, contain calcium oxalate crystals that can be extremely irritating to your pet’s mouth. These crystals can be found in the tree sap, which means it is found in all parts of the tree. These calcium oxalate crystals can irritate and burn your pet’s mouth and nose, causing excessive drooling, vomiting, and trouble swallowing. Your pet may experience kidney problems, tremors, or heart or respiratory issues as well.

China Berry Tree

The China berry tree contains toxins called Melia toxins A and B. These toxins are contained in the seeds and bark and minimally in the leaves of the tree. If exposed to this toxin, your pet may show symptoms of muscle tremors and spasms, drooling, vomiting, and gastric upset with diarrhea and vomiting. In more extreme cases, it could lead to death when ingested in large quantities.

If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested toxic tree or plant matter, you can contact the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. Consultation fees may apply to your phone call. If you would like to know which trees in your yard are poisonous and which trees are safe, contact your arborist experts at Mr. Tree. We can list poisonous trees in your yard and suggest alternatives that are pet-friendly and non-toxic to your furry friends.

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