5 plants to avoid for pet owners

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These festive arrangements might look pretty, but they are dangerous for your furbabies

Chinese New Year celebrations are incomplete without lai see, fai chun and flowers. And it’s that time of the year when potted plants such as cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, mandarins and orchids can be seen in every corner of shopping malls, offices and residential buildings. It’s also common practice to place these decorative flora inside your home to bring in good luck.

However, if you’re a pet parent, you need to be extra careful about exposing your cat or dog to some of these house plants as they can be harmful—and even potentially lethal—to your four-legged companion if they happen to consume any part of it. Below are five popular plants that you need to steer clear of.

Read more: Chinese New Year traditions from our Tatler community

1. Hydrangea

Although hydrangea charms one and all with its stunning cornucopia of colours, it’s best to place them out of reach of your pets. It is thoroughly poisonous to animals, especially its leaves and petals. If your four-legged friend so much as licks or chews it, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of consciousness.

2. Lucky bamboo

These bright green bamboo-like stalks are common fixtures in homes and offices over Lunar New Year as they are said to bring in good fortune and prosperity. However, while they might bring luck to humans, they have quite the opposite effect on our feline friends. If your cat accidentally ingests the stem or leaves, it can cause depression, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and even internal bleeding, which would make them vomit up blood.

3. Lilies

Lilies are also associated with good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture and are the go-to choice for festive times such as Chinese New Year and weddings. However, the harmless-looking lily is one of the most toxic of plants for animals, and everything from its stem to its pollen are dangerous to your pets. Don’t let your dogs or cats lick any part of it, as it can lead to vomiting, kidney failure and even death.

4. Narcissus

The beautiful and fragrant narcissus, while popular, contains lycorine, which is harmful to animals. So don’t let your furry buddy chomp on these flowers as it might cause food poisoning which can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. In severe cases, it can even lead to loss of consciousness and seizures.

5. Chrysanthemum

These bright yellow blossoms are as well-loved as gifts as they are as motifs in Chinese traditional art. Particularly during the festive period due to their association with luck, wealth and longevity. However, they contain pyrethrin, a chemical that if consumed can cause your cat or dog to vomit, lose their appetite and show signs of depression.

This story was originally written in Chinese by Joyce Li and published on 10 January 2023.

Tatler Asia

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