Plants That Are Toxic To Dogs: Top 20 Dangerous Plants Explained

By: Danielle Harris

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plants that are toxic to dogs

Ever thought your garden could be a minefield for your beloved pets? Well, it’s high time we pet parents shed light on the potential hazards lurking in common environments. Many popular houseplants that seem harmless can actually pose serious health risks if ingested by pets. From mild irritation to severe organ damage and toxicity, the consequences can be dire.

We’re not just talking about exotic or rare species here. This is about everyday plants you might not think twice about. You’d be surprised by the prevalence of plants that are toxic to dogs around us! So, let’s dive into this vital topic and give you a brief overview of these green threats. We’ll arm you with a handy list as part of this guide, so stay tuned! Your furry friend’s safety could depend on it.

The following Plants That Are Toxic To Dogs and should never be made available to them under any circumstances:

  • Castor bean or castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)
  • Cyclamen (Cylamen spp.)
  • Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)
  • Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
  • English Ivy, both leaves and berries (Hedera helix)
  • Mistletoe (Viscum album)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Thorn apple or jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)
  • Yew (Taxus spp.)
  • Any mushroom you cannot identify as safe

These types of plants that are toxic to dogs are to be avoided for a variety of reasons. Do not plant them near your home or bring them inside as plants or cut flowers:

  • Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)
  • Autumn crocus (Colochicum autumnale)
  • Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
  • Chrysanthemum (Compositae spp.)
  • Flower bulbs of any kind
  • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  • Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
  • Larkspur (Delphinium)
  • Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
  • Peace Lily or Mauna Loa Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
  • Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum)
  • Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)
  • Schefflera (Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla)
  • Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)
  • Tulip/Narcissus bulbs (Tulipa/Narcissus spp.)
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Daffodil

These tougher-leafed or woody plants that are toxic to dogs are also poisonous and should be avoided in and around your house.

  • Azalea
  • Box
  • Chinaberry tree
  • Horsechestnut
  • Laburnum
  • Oleander
  • Privet
  • Sago Palm
  • Rhododendron
  • Wisteria

Identifying Poisonous Flowers and Shrubs – Plants that are Toxic to Dogs

Visual Characteristics of Poisonous Flowers

Flowers, including daffodils and hibiscus, come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. But some of these pretty blossoms, which can be plants that are toxic to dogs, can pose a danger to your dogs. Take for example the popular houseplant, snake plant. This flowering plant has long green leaves with yellow edges that stand upright. It’s easy on the eyes but hard on your dog’s tummy.

Another dangerous beauty among plants that are toxic to dogs is the oleander. Amidst its dark green leaves, pink or white clusters of flowers bloom. But don’t let its charm fool you! Every part of this plant exhibits toxicity, much like the hibiscus, and is toxic to pets, including dogs.

Spotting plants that are toxic to dogs isn’t always as simple as looking at their flowers though. Some plants like milkweed don’t have distinctive flowers but are still harmful to dogs.

Common Shrubs That Pose a Risk

Shrubs and plants that are toxic to dogs like the snake plant might seem harmless enough, but some pose a serious risk to dogs, especially pups. Even a flower can be dangerous.

  • Sago palm photo: Despite its name featured on iStock, it’s not actually a palm but a cycad, an ancient group of plants that predate dinosaurs. Yet, its heart can be a surprising swap for other plant hearts.
  • Known for its red berries during the Christmas season, Holly, similar to plants that are toxic to dogs like the snake plant, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs, even leading to drooling.
  • Snake Plant: Similar to yew, often used for hedging, the snake plant contains a toxic component that can lead to symptoms like vomiting or even heart failure in dogs, as per iStock.
Sago Palm
Plants that are toxic to dogs
Sago Palm
Snake Plant
Plants that are toxic to dogs
Snake Plant

Geographic Locations of Plants that are Toxic to Dogs

You’ll find these plants that are toxic to dogs across different regions:

  • Oleander thrives in warm climates like Southern Europe and Southeast Asia.
  • Milkweed is native to North America.
  • Sago palms grow well in tropical/subtropical regions while hollies prefer cooler climates.
Plants that are toxic to dogs
plants that are toxic to dogs

Differences Between Harmless and Plants that are Toxic to Dogs Species

Not all green-leaved plants spell danger for your fur buddies, but ingestion of a toxic component might cause a swap in their wellness, leading to vomiting.

  • Hibiscus, with its vibrant large blooms, is non-toxic to dogs.
  • The fruit-bearing strawberry shrub is also safe for canine consumption.

It’s crucial then to know which species are harmless and which ones aren’t. A quick way would be by checking the shape and color of their leaves or fruits (if any). For instance, sago palm has stiff feather-like leaves while holly has glossy green leaves with sharp edges plus those tell-tale red berries.

Remember though, if you’re unsure whether a plant contains a toxic component or not – better safe than sorry! Keep your furry friends away to prevent ingestion until you’ve confirmed their safety. If they show signs of vomiting, it might be best to swap the plant out.

In sum:

Safe Plantsplants that are toxic to dogs
HibiscusSnake Plant
Strawberry ShrubSago Palm

Ultimately, knowing what lurks in your garden could save your dog’s life! So keep an eye out for these toxic beauties – because sometimes looks can kill…or at least make your pup seriously sick!

Recognizing Toxic Bulbs: Tulips and Hyacinths

Spotting the Culprits

Tulips and hyacinths are popular flowers, often sprouting up in gardens or gracing homes with their vibrant colors. However, these beauties hide a dangerous secret – they’re toxic to our canine companions.

Tulip bulbs resemble onions, round and plump with a papery skin. These bulbs contain the highest concentration of tulipalin A and B, two components responsible for their toxicity. Hyacinth bulbs look similar but are more elongated, with multiple layers like an artichoke heart. They’re packed with lycorine, another harmful compound.

So how do you tell them apart from harmless bulbs? You can’t swap a tulip bulb for garlic by mistake if you know your stuff! Tulip bulbs have a flat base while garlic has roots at the bottom. It’s all about paying attention to details.

The Invisible Threat

The specific toxins in these plants are not something you can see or smell; they’re microscopic crystals hiding within the bulb. If these crystals undergo ingestion by dogs, they cause serious health issues ranging from mild irritation to severe depression. A swap in diet might be necessary to avoid such complications.

Ingestion of any part of these plants is harmful, but consuming the bulb is particularly dangerous due to its high toxin concentration. Dogs who’ve ingested tulip or hyacinth bulbs may show signs like drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, or even changes in heart rate.

Seasonal Risks

Springtime brings an increase in exposure risk as that’s when these flowers bloom and their bulbs become accessible. What looks like a fun new toy to your dog might be a poisonous snack instead!

Remember folks – while we people love snapping photos of our furry friends frolicking among the flowers, let’s ensure those photo ops aren’t putting them at risk!

Toxicity Details: Ferns and Ivy Varieties

Dangerous Fern Species

Let’s cut to the chase. Not all ferns are dog-friendly, especially the hosta species. Hostas, with their broad leaves and lush greenery, can be a real eye-catcher in your garden. But beware! These plants that are toxic to dogs contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which can cause severe skin irritation in dogs upon exposure.

Consider this as an urgent piece of information if you’re a dog owner. The hosta isn’t the only villain here; other fern species such as bracken fern and autumn crocus also pose a threat to your furry friend.

  • Bracken Fern: If ingested in large amounts, it can lead to changes like lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • Autumn Crocus: This one’s pretty dangerous! Even small amounts can result in diarrhea or even liver damage.
autumn crocus 
plants that are toxic to dogs
Autumn Crocus

Ivy’s High Toxicity Levels

Ivies might add a touch of wilderness to your backyard, but they’re not so friendly for Fido. Particularly harmful are English ivy and Devil’s ivy.

  1. English Ivy: Also known as Hedera helix, it contains triterpenoid saponins that can lead to drooling, vomiting, diarrhea or even coma.
  2. Devil’s Ivy: It has high levels of calcium oxalate crystals causing oral irritation, intense burning sensation in mouth or throat among other symptoms.
English IVy
Plants that are toxic to dogs
English Ivy

My friends dog just ingested English Ivy on 8/11/23. He had access to it via their back yard behind the shed. He experienced discomfort, restlessness, trembling, vomiting, labored breathing, and lethargy.

The yew tree is another plant on our list that you should steer clear from if you have dogs at home.

  • Yew Tree: All parts of this tree – bark, leaves or berries – contain taxine alkaloids which affect the heart muscles leading to trembling or even sudden death!

Toxins Found in These Plants

Ferns typically contain toxins like thiaminase and ptaquiloside while ivies have hederagenin and polyacetylene compounds. These toxins interfere with various bodily functions resulting in adverse health effects on dogs – some immediate while others long-term.

  • Thiaminase breaks down vitamin B1 leading to neurological problems
  • Ptaquiloside is carcinogenic causing changes at cellular level
  • Hederagenin leads to digestive issues
  • Polyacetylene compounds cause skin irritation

This ain’t the complete list though! There are many more out there waiting for discovery.

Long-Term Effects on Canine Health

Long-term exposure to these toxins may result in chronic conditions such as kidney failure or cancerous growths over time. Some signs include behavioral changes like increased aggression due to pain or discomfort caused by illness. It’s always better safe than sorry – keep an eye out for any unusual behavior!

Remember folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plants that are toxic to dogs – there’s still a whole valley left unexplored!

Poisoning Symptoms from Ingesting Plants that are Toxic to Dogs

Immediate Physical Signs

After your dog ingests a toxic plant, you might notice some immediate physical signs. The most common symptoms include:

  • Oral irritation: Your dog may drool excessively or paw at their mouth.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some dogs may feel nauseous after eating a poisonous plant, leading to vomiting.
  • Diarrhea: Loose stools are another common side effect of ingestion.

These symptoms can occur within minutes to hours after your pet consumes the toxic part of the plant.

Never use a hose or flush the mouth out with water. This can push the toxins further down and cause aspiration which leads to pneumonia. Use a wet cloth and rub gums and mouth, wash the cloth thoroughly and continue to wipe out the mouth, just like when they come in contact with toads.

Behavioral Changes

Apart from physical signs, ingestion of plants that are toxic to dogs can also result in behavioral changes in dogs. You might notice that your pooch appears anxious or distressed. They could become unusually quiet or lethargic, avoid food and water, or show signs of discomfort like whimpering or pacing around restlessly.

Progression Timeline for Symptoms Post-Ingestion

The timeline for symptom progression varies depending on the type of toxic plant consumed and the amount ingested. However, generally:

  1. Mild symptoms like oral irritation might appear within 15-30 minutes post-ingestion.
  2. More severe symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea usually develop within 2-4 hours.
  3. If untreated, these symptoms could escalate into more severe conditions over 24-48 hours.

Remember that every dog is unique, so these timelines are not set in stone.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

It’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect your dog has consumed a poisonous plant. Here’s when you should rush them to the vet:

  • If they display any severe symptoms like excessive vomiting or diarrhea
  • If they exhibit behavioral changes indicating distress
  • If mild symptoms persist beyond a few hours

Early intervention can prevent the toxins from causing significant harm to your pet’s health.

To summarize, being aware of poisoning symptoms from ingesting plants that are toxic to dogs is vital for all pet owners. It enables quick identification and prompt treatment which could potentially save your furry friend’s life! Remember – when it comes to toxicity in dogs due to plants – early detection is key!

Emergency Response for Dog Plant Poisoning

First Aid Measures Post-Ingestion

Imagine your pup’s been sniffing around the garden, then suddenly starts showing signs of distress. You notice excessive drooling and an abnormal heart rate. These might be symptoms of plant poisoning. Here are some immediate steps to take:

  1. Remove any remaining plant material from your dog’s mouth.
  2. Try to identify the plant your pup has ingested.
  3. Contact a veterinarian or pet poison control center immediately.

The Clock is Ticking

Every second counts in an emergency situation like this one. The longer the toxic substance stays in your pup’s system, the more damage it can cause.

  • Quick response: As soon as you suspect poisoning, act fast! Don’t wait for all symptoms to appear.
  • Aggressive treatment: In some cases, inducing vomiting might be necessary. But only do this if advised by a professional.

Role of Veterinarians

Veterinarians are the real MVPs.

  • They can administer activated charcoal to absorb toxins.
  • They provide supportive care like IV fluids and oxygen therapy.
  • In severe cases, they may recommend hospitalization for constant monitoring.

Remember, don’t try to treat plant poisoning on your own at home without guidance from a vet!

Post-Treatment Care and Monitoring

Once back home after treatment, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your furry friend.

Watch out for these signs:

  • Ongoing vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Continued loss of appetite
  • Changes in behavior

If these symptoms persist or worsen, contact your vet ASAP!

Preventing Plant Poisoning: Home Pet-Proofing Tips

Safe Alternatives to Toxic Houseplants

Pet parents, listen up! Ditch the toxic indoor plants and opt for safer alternatives. Spider plants, areca palms, and Boston ferns are all safe bets for dogs and cats. They’re easy to care for and won’t harm your pet if they decide to take a nibble.

  • Spider plant: Non-toxic, air-purifying, and low-maintenance.
  • Areca Palm: Pet-friendly, improves indoor air quality.
  • Boston Fern: Safe for pets and thrives in humidity.

Remember, just because it’s green doesn’t mean it’s good for your pet!

Strategies for Restricting Pet Access to Outdoor Plants that are Toxic to Dogs

Got a dog that loves digging or a cat with a penchant for pot plants? Here’s the deal:

  1. Use fences or barriers around hazardous outdoor plants.
  2. Position potted plants out of reach.
  3. Consider using hanging baskets or elevated plant stands.

It’s not rocket science – if they can’t get to it, they can’t chew on it!

Training Tips to Discourage Plant Chewing Behavior

Training your pets not to chew on plants might seem like herding cats (or dogs), but it is doable!

  • Distraction: Keep them occupied with toys or activities so they don’t have time to think about munching on your Monstera!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward them when they ignore the houseplants.

Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day – patience is key here!

Regular Inspection Routines For New Plant Growth

Don’t rest on your laurels once you’ve pet-proofed your house! Regular inspections are crucial prevention steps.

Check these out:

  1. Inspect new growth regularly – especially in spring and summer when most plants grow rapidly.
  2. Remove any toxic sprouts immediately.
  3. Keep an eye out for signs of chewing or damage on your non-toxic plants too – some pets may develop allergies even from safe plants.

Every pet parent knows that prevention is better than cure – make sure you stay one step ahead of potential hazards!

Conclusion on Avoiding Canine Plant Toxicity

In a nutshell, your dog’s safety is in your hands. You’ve learned how to identify poisonous flowers, shrubs, and bulbs like tulips and hyacinths. You’re now aware of the toxicity details in ferns and ivy varieties. Remember, knowledge is power.

Quick recognition can be a lifesaver. If you see any signs of poisoning, don’t wait – act fast! Reach out to your vet or an emergency pet poison helpline immediately.

And prevention? It’s better than cure! Pet-proofing your home can go a long way in keeping your furry friend safe and healthy.

So what’s next? Keep this info handy and spread the word among fellow dog owners. Because every dog deserves a safe place to play!


What should I do if my dog has ingested a toxic plant?

Immediately contact your vet or an emergency pet poison helpline for guidance. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a professional.

Are there any non-toxic plants that are safe for dogs?

Yes, several plants are non-toxic to dogs including spider plants, Boston ferns, and some types of palm trees.

How can I prevent my dog from eating toxic plants?

You can train your dog with commands like “leave it” or “drop it”. Also consider pet-proofing your home by removing toxic plants or placing them out of reach.

Can dogs recover from plant poisoning?

Yes, with prompt treatment many dogs recover fully from plant poisoning. However, the prognosis largely depends on the type of plant ingested and how quickly treatment was received.

Is there an antidote for plant poisoning in dogs?

There isn’t one universal antidote as treatment varies based on the type of toxin involved. Your vet will determine the best course of action depending on the specific situation.

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