I’ve read that milkweed is very toxic to cats and dogs. I have 1 dog and 2 cats. How can I prevent their deaths yet provide for my favorite flying friends? Or are there certain parts of milkweed that are poisonous and other parts not.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It's the white sap inside the plant that is most toxic, followed by leaves and stems, particularly to livestock who might graze on plants growing in fields when choice forage is absent. It is toxic to cats, dogs and humans. Some varieties are more poisonous than others. Typically those with whorled, narrow leaves are most toxic. The sap can also be irritating to eyes and skin.
If your animals like to nibble on plants, you may want to make the milkweed inaccessible as much as possible. Research the ones native to your area and choose those that are less toxic. I've grown several varieties of milkweed for years and have never had a problem with my pets sampling it. You would be surprised at how many common garden plants have some degree of toxicity. You can check them out at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/
Here are several articles that discuss milkweed toxicity: