Do you love your dogs and want to keep them healthy and happy? A walk in the greenery side of your house or a park with their favourite dog toy will definitely be fun, but is it always safe? Many common plants can make your four-legged friend ill or even be lethal when eaten in large doses.
Wondering what is the best way to protect your pet when it comes to toxic houseplants? A dog is a curious animal, especially when it’s still a puppy. Knowing which plants, flowers and trees are toxic will help you keep your pets well away from them. Since we are aware that accidents can happen, we also provide advice on how to react if your pet gets poisoned by one of these. Keep on reading!
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The most common poisonous plants for dogs
A variety of plants are commonly found in gardens around the country that could make your dog sick. Some of these are very poisonous, while others may only cause a slight tummy upset. Plants also vary in attractiveness to pets; some may sit in your garden for years without being touched by them, while others can instantly appear tempting when they hit the ground or the moment your dog gets off the pet ramp. To decide what to keep in your garden, you should consider the plant’s toxicity and how curious your dog is. Keep on reading to find the most common toxic houseplants for your furry friends, and make sure to avoid them.
- Azalea/Rhododendron: Highly poisonous to pets, even if they eat just a few leaves.
- Daffodil: (Narcissus) All parts of this plant are harmful. Even a small bite can kill a small animal, and even drinking the water in which daffodils have stood is potentially hazardous.
- Geranium: All parts of geraniums are poisonous to pets. This plant is present in summer, too.
- Hyacinth: Its bulbs are poisonous to both cats and dogs.
- Iris and gladioli: All parts of these plants are toxic, but the bulb is the most dangerous.
- Ragwort: All parts are poisonous, and even small doses can be fatal to cats and dogs. It is also present in autumn and summer.
- Rhubarb: Its leaves are poisonous to pets, whether they are cooked or raw. It is present in summer as well.
- Snowdrops: While all parts of the plant are toxic, bulbs are the most harmful to cats and dogs. Also present in winter.
- Tulip: Its bulbs are the most toxic; however, all parts can be poisonous in large quantities.
- Water hemlock: This natural wildflower can cause dermatitis and even be fatal for your pets.
- Sweet Pea: This common vine with multi-coloured flowers can be hazardous to pets when ingested, particularly in large dosage.
- Wisteria: This beautiful climbing plant is unsafe around your dog, as it can cause mild to severe digestive upset.
- Elder: All parts, including elderberries, are poisonous for pets.
- Foxglove: (Digitalis) Both the seeds and leaves contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, heart problems, diarrhoea, fits and collapsing.
- Hydrangea: Parts of this plant are toxic to both cats and dogs as they contain cyanide. It is also present in spring and autumn.
- Larkspur: (Delphinium) This plant is potentially fatal to younger or smaller dogs and cats, though larger ones would need to consume a lot of it to show signs of poisoning.
- Lily of the valley: This plant’s flowers and leaves are very poisonous to dogs and cats.
- Nightshade: A very toxic plant to both dogs and cats.
- Oleander: All of its parts are toxic. Less than a leaves’ handful can be fatal to dogs and cats. It is also present in autumn.
- Ragwort: All of its parts are poisonous, and even small doses can be fatal to pets. It is present in spring and autumn as well.
- Rhubarb: This plant’s leaves are poisonous to dogs and cats, whether cooked or raw. It is also present in spring.
- Morning glory: This lovely climbing vine can cause incoordination, diarrhoea, anaemia and liver failure to your pet when consumed in large amounts.
- Poinsettia: Although this plant is only mildly toxic to cats and dogs, it can be highly irritating to their mouth and stomach if ingested.
- Asparagus fern: All parts of this plant are toxic and can result in an extensive range of symptoms.
- Geranium: All parts of it are poisonous to both dogs and cats. This plant is also present in spring.
- Amaryllis: All of its parts are toxic to cats and dogs, but especially the bulbs. Also present in winter.
- Autumn crocus: All parts of it are toxic to cats and dogs and can even cause kidney failure, seizures, heart arrhythmia, and death.
- Chrysanthemum: All parts of it are toxic, although its smell is likely to deter dogs and cats from trying to eat it.
- Conkers and acorns: These plants are toxic to dogs. Although extreme cases of poisoning are rare, they can cause vomiting, stomach problems and intestinal blockages.
- Hydrangea: Parts of it are toxic to both cats and dogs as they contain cyanide. Also present in summer and spring.
- Oleander: All of its parts are toxic. Less than a handful of leaves can be fatal to cats and dogs. Also present in summer.
- Ragwort: All parts of it are poisonous, and even small doses can be fatal to pets. Also present in spring and summer.
- Poinsettia: (Euphorbia pulcherrima) This plant is moderately toxic to cats and dogs.
- Amaryllis: All parts of it are toxic to cats and dogs, but especially the bulbs. Also present in autumn.
- Holly: All parts of Holly are toxic, and eating its sharp, spiky leaves can also cause damage to the throat, stomach or guts.
- Mistletoe: This plant is present all year round but mainly brought into houses over winter. Berries are the most toxic part of the plant.
- Snowdrops: While the whole plant is toxic, usually the bulbs are most harmful to dogs and cats. Also present in spring.
- Cyclamen: This beautiful and colourful plant can be highly poisonous to dogs and cats.
Poisonous plants present all year round
- Aloe Vera: This all-year-round houseplant is not very poisonous to pets but can cause diarrhoea when consuming too much.
- Cherry laurel: (Prunus laurocerasus) This plant is often used in public parks and gardens. The most common cause of dogs being poisoned by it is from eating or chewing its leaves.
- Dumbcane: (Dieffenbachia) Its leaves can be poisonous to cats and dogs when they chew or bite them.
- Ivy: (Hedera) This plant can cause poisoning to dogs.
- Lilies: All lilies, including Easter, Tiger, Stargazer, Arum and Calla lilies, are potentially poisonous. Pets can be poisoned by eating or chewing leaves, stems, or flower heads.
- Philodendron: All parts of this houseplant are poisonous. If pets chew or eat its leaves, it can irritate their eyes and mouth, causing excessive dribbling.
- Potato: Potatoes’ leaves can be toxic to cats and dogs. Green, raw or sprouting potatoes can also be harmful.
- Castor bean: Its seeds can cause drooling to your dog and can even prove fatal if consumed in big doses.
- Apricots: This tree’s fruits are toxic to dogs. They are only safe for dogs to eat if you remove the pit.
- Sago palm: All parts of this plant are toxic to dogs and cats.
- Tomato: Tomato plants’ leaves and unripe fruit are toxic to cats and dogs. If your dog lives in the garden, you should consider growing them indoors.
- Yew: (Taxus baccata and related species) All parts of this plant are harmful, including dried clippings. Ingesting a small number of leaves can be fatal for a dog.
- Bird of paradise: This is one of the bouquet favourites that is also likely to make your dogs and cats sick if eaten.
Common poisoning symptoms in pets
Now that you know what home and garden plants are poisonous to dogs, how do you know if they’ve ingested one? You should understand that symptoms of plant poisonings are specific to the type of plant eaten, for example:
- Amaryllis: Vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, depression, tremors
- Azalea: Vomiting, weakness, diarrhoea, heart problems
- Dieffenbachia: Intense oral irritation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
- English ivy: Vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, stomach pain
- Daffodil: Vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling. Large amounts of bulbs can cause heart arrhythmias, low blood pressure, and tremors.
- Tulips: Vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, especially if bulbs are eaten.
- Lily of the valley: Vomiting, fast or slow heart rate, low blood pressure, coma, seizures, death
- Holly: Stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea
- Jerusalem cherry: Vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, weakness, breathing troubles, and shock.
- Mistletoe: Vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, and slow heart rate
- Mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant): Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Rhubarb: Vomiting, drooling, stomach pain, tremors, kidney damage
- Yew: Vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures, heart failure
The complete list of toxic flowers is quite exhaustive. For example, more Brits than ever are growing their own potatoes and tomatoes. Of course, this is encouraged, but they should know that potato plant leaves are toxic to dogs, and tomato plant leaves and unripe tomatoes are poisonous to both cats and dogs. Keep an eye out for the common signs of pet poisoning:
- Oral irritation
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness or weakness
- Depressed behaviour
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Abdominal pain
- High heart rate
- Gastrointestinal tract irritation
- Blood in stool or vomit
- Increased thirst
What to do if your pet eats toxic plants
If you see your dog with one or more of these signs, mainly if a suspect plant is within paw reach, you should get help immediately. Rapid treatment can save your furry friend’s life. Here is a list of what you should do:
- Remove your dog from accessibility to the plant.
- If you recognise the plant, note its name or take a picture of it to help medical professionals treat your dog.
- Make sure your dog is breathing and behaving normally.
- Call your veterinarian or a phone hotline to help with pet poisoning, like Animal Poison Line number (01202 509 000). A professional can tell you whether you can treat your dog at home or bring it in to be seen by a veterinarian. It is essential to avoid any at-home remedies that have not been directed for use by your veterinarian. If the case is severe, get your pet in the dog crate and take it to the vet as soon as possible.
The sooner you get help, the better the chances your dog can recover from poisoning. This is very important in severe cases. Treatment will be specific to the plant that poisoned your dog, whether at home under a veterinarian’s orders or in a veterinary hospital.
How to prevent dog plant poisoning
The best way to avoid that unpleasant situation is to keep poisonous flowers out of your home and yard. It’s better to choose only pet-friendly varieties around your home. To prevent your pets’ contact and ingestion of these plants, it is essential to:
- Before you purchase a plant, check if it is “toxic if eaten”.
- Review your household plants and keep any toxic ones away from your pet.
- Educate other family members on plant toxicity.
- Supervise your dog when you enter a new home or outdoor space.
- If you have plants indoors and want your dog not to reach them, you can hang them from the ceiling.
- If you have a small dog, raised garden beds could be the way to keep your pet away from any harmful plants.
The backyard and a walk in a green park can be fun and full of surprises for our canine friends to enjoy. But you should not let one of those surprises be a trip to the veterinarian. Keep your garden safe for your pets by avoiding all the plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees that could make them very sick. If you can’t imagine your yard without them, you should at least plant them with caution and supervise your pet always. Healthy dogs, happy dogs!