You may be surprised to learn that many of the flowers that bloom in your garden may be poisonous to your fluffy friend. Some are extremely poisonous and could be fatal if consumed, while others could cause a little bit of an upset tummy. Nevertheless, whether deadly in their nature, or only capable of a mild reaction, it's better to be safe than sorry and know exactly what is safe for your dog.
There is a long list of house and garden plants that are poisonous to dogs, and often cats too. Some plants are only poisonous in their bulb form, while others may cause more of a reaction when they flower.
Many of us who own a dog will also have plenty of garden space for them to roam around in. With that comes space for plants, flowers, trees and weeds. It's surprising just how many common plants can be toxic, and even describe themselves as being so on the back of their seed packets.
A mature dog generally learns to be quite cautious and choosy about what they eat, and so with age, they will usually lose any interest that they have in sniffing and chewing amongst your shrubs. However, young puppies are often a lot more inquisitive, and may find it hard to refrain from chomping on what they shouldn’t.
Some breeds will also be more curious than others. If you have a hound on your hands, or another eager eater such as a Labrador, then you may notice that they will eat anything they can get their hands, well paws, on.
Watch out for that grass!
Then there are the grass munching dogs, who will graze and graze on grass every single day. These dogs also run the risk of taking in other plants during consumption, and so it is better to be safe than sorry, and oust them from your dog’s reach.
The best and most sensible thing to do with your garden when you have a dog is to use prevention where possible, and then apply common sense. Try to avoid planting seeds of things you know to be poisonous to your dog, and then make yourself aware of both the appearances of other common, poisonous plants, and learn what to do should you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation with plant poisoning.
Common plants that can poison dogs
Some, but not all, of the common plants that are poisonous to dogs are:
Dogs are most likely to get acorn poisoning in the autumn when they fall from the trees. If your dog has a chomp on some fallen acorns, they may experience vomiting, diarrhoea which may contain blood, and they may feel very sleepy. If your dog is a frequent acorn eater, it may lead to kidney or liver problems, or cause a blockage.
We live amongst thousands of variants of fungi here in the UK. With all fungi species varying in toxicity, attractiveness, and appearance. It is unfortunately often very difficult to distinguish between what ones are edible and which are extremely dangerous - both to dogs and humans. If you see your dog eat wild or unknown fungi, take them to the vets immediately, and take along a sample or photograph of the fungi.
Holly is generally considered to be low in levels of poisonousness, but the spiked leaves can cause internal damage and pain. Holly berries can also be a cause of an upset tummy. If your pooch eats some ivy, they may experience a sore tummy, and potentially a skin reaction if they have prolonged contact with the plant. While the toxicity levels of poinsettia are often exaggerated, consumption can cause vomiting and excessive salivation. We may think mistletoe is romantic, but nobody likes an unsettled tummy on Christmas, so avoid puppy kisses under this festive shrub.
Aloe Vera is a famed medicinal plant. Its medicinal properties range from healing burns to treating acne. It's in all your favorite beauty products promoting skin renewal and hydration. But don't be fooled. Aloe Vera is dangerous to dogs and cats.
How toxic is the Aloe Vera plant to your dog?
Aloe Vera is moderately toxic to both dogs and cats. The plant's leaves contain saponin, a toxin that dangerously lowers blood sugar in dogs. The latex, the outer layer of skin, is a powerful laxative that causes severe diarrhea. It leads to dehydration.
Symptoms of toxic poisoning
The most common symptoms of Aloe Vera poisoning are diarrhea and vomiting. Your dog may also become lethargic and depressed. Red tinged urine and tremors are other symptoms you may notice.
English Ivy| Another poisonous houseplant to dogs
English Ivy is a much-loved trailing plant. It's stunning to look at cascading down walls and planters. It thrives in low light and is easy to grow. But it isn't good for your furry friends.
The main toxic substances in English Ivy are Triterpenoid saponins (hederagenin). The entire plant is toxic to dogs.
Symptoms of poisoning
Ingesting these poisonous plants causes symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Devil's Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum)
Devil's Ivy is commonly called Pothos or Golden Pothos. It's a popular tropical trailing plant. It is elementary to grow and is a favorite indoor plant. It's not so great for dogs and cats.
Toxicity of Devil's Ivy to dogs
The main toxins in Devil's Ivy are insoluble calcium oxalate crystals released when your pet chews or bites the plant. These plants are listed as being moderately toxic to dogs.
The symptoms of ingestion are immediate. The crystals in the plant go deep inside the tissue surrounding the mouth and throat. They cause oral pain, vomiting and excessive drooling. Oral irritation leads to moderate swelling of the throat and mouth. In rare cases, your dog may have difficulty breathing.
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
Dumb Cane goes by the names Tropic Snow or Exotica. It's a common houseplant that grows well in low light. It requires low maintenance and comes in various colors.
Dumb cane leaves have insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are released when bitten. It's the same kind of toxins found in the Araceae family of plants. It's mildly toxic, and symptoms clear after a quick visit to the vet.
Dogs and cats develop painful ulcerations in their mouths within minutes of ingesting it. Your pooch may paw helplessly at their mouths to get rid of the irritation. Other symptoms include vomiting, drooling and decreased appetite.
Jade Plant(Crassula Ovata)
The Jade Plant is a succulent that goes by many aliases, including The Dwarf Rubber Plant, Chinese Rubber Plant, Friendship Plant and Baby Jade. It is low maintenance and can live up to 100 years. The Rubber Tree is a fast favorite for those who have no green thumbs. Although not as toxic as other house plants, it can make your dog sick.
Toxicity of the Rubber Plant
Jade Plants are mildly toxic to dogs. It is unclear what toxic substances are in the plant leaves, but they do not cause life-threatening illnesses.
Vomiting is the most common symptom of ingestion. It can be accompanied by a slow, irregular heartbeat and lethargy.
Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta, Zamia Species)
This much loved tropical plant, also called the Cardboard Palm, is deadly to dogs. There's no easy way to say this. It is one of the most poisonous houseplants.
If you have this in your home, remove it immediately. If you have it as an ornamental bonsai, keep it out of reach of your pets. It's listed as a highly toxic plant on Pet Poison Helpline's Top Terrible Toxins list.
If you're looking to add some tropical flavor to your backyard, opt for an Areca Palm. It is not toxic to your dogs or feline friends. It grows up to seven feet and lives up to ten years.
How toxic is the Sago Palm poisonous houseplant to your dog
The entire plant is highly poisonous. The seeds, leaves, trunk and roots are particularly toxic to dogs. The primary toxic agent in sago palm is cycasin.
Symptoms Of Toxic Poisoning in your dog
Gastrointestinal upset is usually the first symptom of ingestion. Symptoms include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea and liver damage. Nervous system signs, including tremors, seizures and liver failure, set in within 2-3 days.
Clinical signs include diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, fluid in the abdomen, increased thirst and black tarry stool.
If you suspect your dog has eaten any parts of the plant, go to the vet immediately. Your dog has a 50-50 chance of surviving treatment.
Death is inevitable when left untreated.
Desert Rose (Adenium)| beautiful blooms that are poisonous to your dog
The Desert Rose is a beautiful succulent originally from East Africa. It is usually grown in pots as an ornamental plant for its tree-like appearance and beautiful pink blooms. If ingested in large quantities, it will kill your dog.
Toxins that can seriously affect your dog
Desert Rose is highly poisonous to canines.
Digoxin is the active toxin in Desert Rose. It is an organic glycoside compound that is present in the sap of the plant. All parts of the plant are toxic. If your dog likes chewing, keep this one far from reach.
Symptoms of toxic poisoning in dogs
Symptoms from ingesting the sap include gastrointestinal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, blisters in the mouth and throat, loss of appetite and even death.
Your dog could also get blisters and redness on its skin irritation just by rubbing against the plant.
Zamioculcas Zamifolia aka ZZ Plant| poisonous house plant to dogs
The ZZ plant also called the Zee Zee plant or Eternity Plant, is a low-light-loving, hardy plant. It's native to Kenya and South Africa. It is so easy to grow and is one of the most common houseplants. It's not great for your cats and dogs and is best kept far from curious paws.
Toxins that are poisonous to your dog
All parts of the ZZ Plant are toxic to both humans and pets. The ZZ Plant's toxicity level is low in both cats and dogs. Once bitten into, tiny calcium oxalate crystals are released into your puppy's mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Keep it out of reach of small children and pets. Wash your hands after handling this plant.
Symptoms of toxic Poisoning in dogs
The main symptom of toxic poisoning by the plants is oral pain caused by the tiny crystals. Other symptoms include pawing at the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and a lack of appetite. In some cases, the ZZ Plant causes severe swelling of the mouth and throat, leading to difficulty breathing.
The Chinese Evergreen is an evergreen perennial plant that does not tolerate cold climates and is generally kept as an indoor houseplant. You'll find it growing outdoors in the warmer areas of North America. Its variegated leaves are alluring to many, but it's listed as toxic to cats and dogs.
Any sensible pet parent would keep it out of their homes or out of reach of any curious paws.
Toxicity levels and toxins found in this poisonous houseplant
Chinese Evergreen is moderately toxic to both dogs and cats. It's a member of the Araceae family of plants. Its primary toxin is tiny and insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.
Symptoms that your dog has ingested this poisonous plant
Symptoms appear immediately after ingestion. They include pawing at the face, vomiting, drooling and difficulty swallowing.
If your pet has eaten a sizeable amount of Chinese Evergreen plant and has difficulty breathing, you need to go to your vet immediately.
Elephant Ear (Caladium)
As others call it, Elephant's Ear or caladium, not sure which way to lean here, is a beautiful tropical plant. Its variegated, multi-colored leaves are the envy of many gardeners. But don't be fooled by those beautiful leaves, if your dog eats them, it's sure to be in pain.
Toxicity levels of this houseplant
Caladium is moderately toxic. It has the same sharp and insoluble calcium oxalate crystals present in Philodendron, Dieffenbachia and Chinese Evergreen.
Symptoms your dog may have after ingesting poisonous Elephant's Ear
The symptoms appear immediately after ingestion. They are similar to Dieffenbachia's and include pawing at the mouth, oral irritation, vomiting and drooling. In some cases, severe swelling of the throat and mouth lead to difficulty breathing. If left untreated, it may lead to death.
The Lily Family
Lilies are famed for their beauty and elegance. They also do well in low light conditions. The Peace Lily, Calla Lily, Easter Lily and Tiger Lily are all poisonous houseplants. As a pet parent, best to steer clear from propagating these toxic plants. If they are indoors, keep them out of reach of cats and dogs.
All parts of the plant are poisonous, including the leaves and flowers. They contain tiny calcium oxalate crystals, which are mildly toxic to pets when eaten in small amounts.
Symptoms of toxic poisoning
Symptoms appear immediately after ingesting any part of these poisonous plants. Your pet will start pawing at their mouth because of the sharp pain the tiny crystals cause. Other symptoms include vomiting, excessive drooling and lack of appetite.
In rare cases, it leads to severe swelling and breathing difficulties.
The Peace Lily plant is the most deadly member of the Lily Family. If your dog ingests it and does not receive treatment, kidney failure and even death follow.
If your dog has eaten or ingested any part of the Peace Lily plant, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Asparagus Fern also goes by other names such as Emerald Feather and Lace Fern. This plant is not a true fern though its leaves closely resemble one. The Asparagus Fern plant is more closely related to Lilies. Hard to believe, right?. It is treasured for its feathery fern-like branches and lacey leaves.
If you're a pet owner and have both dogs and cats, it's best to steer clear of these poisonous plants.
These toxic plants contain sapogenin, a bitter-tasting steroid found in different plants. All parts of the plant are moderately toxic to both cats and dogs. The berries have the highest concentration of toxic sapogenin.
Symptoms of toxic poisoning
Asparagus Fern causes diarrhea and vomiting when ingested.
It also triggers allergic dermatitis if your pooch gets in contact with its sap. If your pet's fur has come in contact with the sap, must wash the area immediately before dermatitis set in.
If your canine ingests the berries, rinse its mouth with clean water and rush to the vet.
Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans)
The Corn Plant, commonly called the Dragon Tree, is an easy-going tropical plant. This East African plant is a favorite indoor potted houseplant in the United States because it doesn't require much sunlight and is excellent at cleaning toxins from the air. It's not so easy going on your dogs and cats.
Corn Plants are listed as being moderately toxic to dogs and cats.
The sword-like leaves are the parts of the plant that are toxic. They contain saponin, an organic compound that is harmless to humans but can cause severe illness in your pets.
Symptoms of Dracaena poisoning in dogs and cats
The symptoms of Corn Plant poisoning include vomiting, sometimes tinged with blood, drooling, loss of appetite and depression. Your cat's pupils may become dilated. Severe vomiting can lead to dehydration if left untreated.
What to do if you suspect your dog has ingested a poisonous houseplant
If you suspect that your pet has gorged on a poisonous houseplant, the safest thing is to go to the vet immediately.
If your dog has ingested any plants containing Calcium Oxalate Crystals, wash or flush the mouth to remove some of the sharp crystals and reduce swelling. Then proceed to the vet's office. Make sure not to make your dog sick unless instructed by your vet, as this may cause more harm.
While it's best to avoid the poisonous houseplants listed above, some pet owners still choose to have them in their homes and gardens.
To minimize the risk of poisoning, use plant hangers to keep your indoor plants out of reach of curious paws.
Clean up fallen leaves and berries, so your dog doesn't eat them.
There are so many pet safe indoor and outdoor plants that add splashes of greenery without causing harm to your canine friends.
Never ignore any signs of illness, change in behavior or eating patterns in pets. When in doubt, visit your local vet immediately
If you're instructed to take your dog to the vets, make sure to take a sample of what they have consumed, and notes of where they were and what they were doing. It will be helpful for your vet if you can let them know when your dog was exposed to the poison, how they have been acting, how much they consumed (if you know), and what you think they may have eaten.