Plants considered poisonous for dogs are present year-round. Your garden, public parks, the neighbor’s house, and your friends, might have one or two plants that are particularly toxic to dogs if ingested.
Thankfully, most adult dogs generally aren’t lured to poisonous or toxic plants. Unless your begonias taste like bacon, your adult dog is not likely going to eat poisonous plants.
Puppies, however, are like young babies who want/need to put everything in their mouths. That’s how they learn about the world around them. Unfortunately, that can be a hard lesson for everyone involved. BUT, even if your puppy does manage to ingest a small petal or stem, it’s likely he/she will only experience mild symptoms, if any. That said, please watch for side effects like the ones listed below.
The following is a sample of some of the more common poisonous plants that could be in your house or backyard. Keep in mind that some of these plants might have different blooming seasons depending on the geographical area/climate.
- Amaryllis – also summer/winter
TOXIC EFFECTS: Vomiting, depression, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, drooling, loss of appetite, seizures
TOXIC EFFECTS: Severe burning of the lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting
TOXIC EFFECTS: Mild vomiting and diarrhea
- Elephant Ears
TOXIC EFFECTS: Irritation of the mouth, mouth pain, swelling of the lips and tongue, drooling a lot, vomiting, hard to swallow
TOXIC EFFECTS: Tummy pain, diarrhea, depression, excessive drooling
TOXIC EFFECTS: Intense vomiting, diarrhea (could be bloody), tremors and depression
TOXIC EFFECTS: Less toxic as they mature, could cause constipation, extra salivation, heart failure, respiratory system shut down.
Again, it’s unlikely that an adult dog will purposely swallow the leaves, stems, or buds of most flowers, shrubs, or trees. Unsupervised puppies, however, are another thing. It feels safe to let them run around your home but – like babies – there are some general dangers you should keep in mind. Get down to the puppy’s level and have a look around. Big leaves hanging from a plant? Petals from a flower vase that have come loose and drifted to the floor? Pick them up or move them out of the house. I’ve had to pry a puppy’s mouth open (gently) and pluck out a leaf or two now and then. They’re fast!
TOXIC EFFECTS: vomiting, depression, diarrhea, over salivation
TOXIC EFFECTS: (see Spring)
TOXIC EFFECTS: drooling, pawing at the mouth, mouth pain, low appetite and vomiting
TOXIC EFFECTS: Salvation, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and weakness
TOXIC EFFECTS: mild vomiting and diarrhea
- Sago Palm
TOXIC EFFECTS: vomiting, jaundice, thirstier than usual, internal bleeding, easily bruised, liver damage, death
- Calla Lilly
TOXIC EFFECTS: Mouth pain, diarrhea, drooling, low appetite, paws at the mouth
Plants that are poisonous to dogs will not be particularly tasty to a dog, so it’s likely they’ll spit it out before swallowing. BUT, there are always those not-so-discerning dogs that will literally eat just out anything in front of them. If that sounds like your dog, I’m afraid you’re going to have to keep a pretty close eye on him.
- Apple Tree
TOXIC EFFECT: Red mucous membranes, look for dilated pupils and difficulty breathing. The dog might be panting and could go into shock. Note: Leave, stems, and seeds all contain cyanide and especially toxic when in the wilting stage.
- The Burning Bush Can be Poisonous for Dogs
TOXIC EFFECTS: Vomiting, diarrhea, tummy pain, weakness, heart rhythm abnormality
TOXIC EFFECTS: Bloody diarrhea, sweating, unsteady on feet, shallow breathing, muscle tremors. Note: Large ingestion can cause death.
TOXIC EFFECTS: Heart & Lung congestion, liver and kidney failure
— Rosco Blake (@RossBlake) January 10, 2018
- Branching Ivy
TOXIC EFFECTS: Vomiting, abdominal pain, drooling excessively, diarrhea. Note: Foliage especially toxic.
- California Ivy
TOXIC EFFECTS: Vomiting, Abdominal pain, drooling, diarrhea
- Cardinal Flowers
TOXIC EFFECTS: Depression, diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, abdominal pain, heart rhythm disturbance
TOXIC EFFECTS: Dermatitis (allergic reaction), vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia
TOXIC EFFECTS: Upset stomach, mild dermatitis
- Fiddle Leaf
TOXIC EFFECTS: Oral irritation, intense mouth burning, drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
The biggest threat to all dogs are the chemical poisons that are so readily available. If a dog swallows any amount of antifreeze, it should be considered an emergency. Antifreeze has a sweet quality to it that lures dogs and it’s easy as lapping up some that has leaked into puddles.
- Lemon Grass
TOXIC EFFECTS: Mild Stomach Upset
TOXIC EFFECTS: Contact dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, no appetite
- Ornamental Peppers
TOXIC EFFECTS: Upset stomach to more severe ulceration of the gastrointestinal system, seizures, depression, respiratory failure, shock
TOXIC EFFECTS: vomiting (sometimes bloody), diarrhea, depression
Rat poison is another one that’s highly dangerous. Food isn’t always food. There have been instances where people have purposely put rat poison inside a steak, or some other type of food to possibly kill wildlife. Unfortunately, that attempt usually only endangers household pets.
TOXIC EFFECTS: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, excessive drooling
- English Ivy
TOXIC EFFECTS: Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
TOXIC EFFECTS: (See Spring and/or Summer)
Hosta (year-round depending on the type of Hosta)
TOXIC EFFECTS: vomiting, diarrhea, depression
- Arrowhead Plant (INDOOR – All year)
TOXIC EFFECTS: vomiting, depression, diarrhea, low appetite, chills, urine may change color
- Apple Tree (particularly the leaves, stems, and seeds of the Crab Apple Tree)
TOXIC EFFECTS: Red mucous membranes, pupils may be dilated, difficulty breathing and chock
- Burning Bush
TOXIC EFFECTS: See Summer
TOXIC EFFECTS: See Summer
The bottom line is keeping our dogs safe, whether it’s potentially poisonous plants, food, or chemicals around the house. We both know that dogs are a huge responsibility, but a fulfilling one. They trust us with their lives, and we trust them with our hearts.
There’s no need to be constantly on edge when it comes to poisonous plants around the house and garden. The important thing is to just be aware of what your healthy adult dog is up to. Puppies? That’s another story. You’re going to have to be the 24/7 monitor – at least until they get a little more savvy with the world around them.