If you are a dog parent, you know how much pups love digging or eating almost everything they can get to. So, if you have a garden, potted plants on your balcony or patio, or look after beautiful flowers, you should remember that some plants can be harmful, and others can be life-threatening for dogs.
According to the Annual List of Top Toxins for Pets for 2020 by the ASPCA, the cases of pet poisoning from toxic plants hold the 5th place of all cases. The number of incidents increased by 9,000 more cases compared to the previous year, attributed to the pandemic, people staying home, and spending more time gardening, sending bouquets, or decorating their homes with plants.
But even if you do not like indoor or outdoor flowers or plants, you should still know which plants to keep your dog away from. Plus, the chances are that you use some of these toxic plants for cooking and food. Some toxic plant-based foods for canines include onions, garlic, leeks, macadamia nuts, cacao beans, coffee, grapes, resins, wild mushrooms, sultanas, apple seeds, rhubarb, and more.
In the best-case scenario, your dog may suffer from a mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or vomiting from ingesting part of a toxic plant. In the more severe cases, the canines can suffer from liver damage and deadly poisoning.
The plants poisonous to dogs which can cause mild to severe harm can be found both indoors and outside. This means that you should be careful about what your pup munches on and eats in your own home or garden and when you are outdoors enjoying a walk.
Here Are 10 Of The Most Commonly Found Toxic Plants For Canines
1. Sago Palm
The sago palm is a preferred house and outdoor plant, especially in warmer climates. While it is charming and beautiful, looking like a miniature palm tree, the sago palm is highly toxic for dogs.
The entire plant is dangerous for pups. But while eating a little bit of the bark or leaves can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, ingesting larger quantities of the seeds of the sago palm can lead to a dangerous level of toxicity, with symptoms like damage to the stomach lining, seizures, severe liver failure, and death.
Tulips are beloved flowers for all gardeners from around the world. But be warned that these gorgeous spring flowers can be harmful and dangerous for your dogs. The part of the tulip which is the most toxic for canines is the bulb. So, make sure that your pet doesn’t have access to any bulbs in your shed or in the garden.
While munching on some tulip leaves or the flower itself is less likely to harm your dog, the bulb can cause severe irritation to its esophagus and mouth. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and other adverse effects. Some dogs may experience a loss of appetite and depression.
If a dog eats a lot of tulip bulbs, it can experience more severe symptoms such as respiratory problems, racing heart rate, and others that require emergency veterinary care.
3. Lily of the Valley
This delicate flower is a favorite among gardeners because of its adorable bell-like white flowers and its strong aroma.
But behind this charming appearance, a true danger for dogs is hidden because all parts of Lily of the Valley can be toxic for them.
It is packed with cardiac glycosides that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a lowered heart rate and blood pressure, arrhythmia, seizures, and coma.
Related: Are Lilies Toxic To Dogs?
This evergreen outdoor shrub is a famous garden and landscaping plant. It has luscious green leaves and delicate clusters of flowers and can grow to up to 12 feet.
The problem is that every single part of the Oleander can be toxic for dogs. Again the reason is the content of glycosides.
Eating the leaves or flowers of this bushy shrub can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, stomach pain, a slow heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and if not treated promptly, can be fatal for canines.
The philodendron is a common houseplant, which many appreciate because of its impressive heart-shaped large green leaves and long vines.
But it contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which can lead to pain, irritation, or swelling of the canine’s mouth, lips, and tongue. This can cause difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, retching, vomiting, and other mild to severe poisoning symptoms in dogs and horses.
6. Rhododendron (Azalea)
This is another popular flowering landscaping shrub that can be seen in yards and gardens around the country. The problem is that you should keep your dog away from the Azalea shrub because all of its parts contain grayanotoxin, which can lead to poisoning.
The symptoms which a pup that has ingested the leaves or flowers of the Rhododendron can be mild such as digestive problems, or if eaten in larger quantities, can be severe and include general weakness, low blood pressure, tremors, heart rhythm irregularities, and more.
7. Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane)
This well-known indoor plant has lush evergreen leaves decorated with white stripes or spots.
Keep in mind, though, that the leaves of the Dieffenbachia contain proteolytic enzyme and insoluble calcium oxalates, which can cause intense burning and irritation of the pup’s mouth, lips, and tongue. This can lead to swelling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing and breathing.
8. Japanese Yew
This versatile evergreen shrub is perfect for hedges and landscaping but is among the most toxic plants for canines.
Its needle-like dark green leaves, seeds, and bark contain volatile oil and Taxine A and B, which can lead to vomiting, difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, and death as a result of acute heart failure.
The red berries are not dangerous for the dogs, but it still it is advisable to keep your pup far away from the Japanese Yew.
Related: What Berries Can Dogs Eat?
The cyclamen is a beloved house plant and is often given as a present. While it is wonderful with its pink blooms, it contains terpenoid saponins, which are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
The symptoms you can expect to see if your pup munches up some leaves or petals are increased salivation, diarrhea, and vomiting. But if it has eaten the roots (tubers) of the plant, the poisoning may be much more severe and even fatal and can lead to abnormalities of the heart rhythm, seizures, and death.
10. Autumn Crocus
Also known as meadow saffron or naked lady, this pretty flower blooms in late spring but without any leaves. The leaves and the bulbs appear much later in the spring.
The entire plant contains colchicine as well as other alkaloids, which are poisonous to dogs and cats.
If your pup eats some meadow saffron, it can start to show symptoms include diarrhea, bloody vomiting, shock, and multi-organ suppression. Even small quantities of this flower or its bulbs can cause long-term damage to the dog’s health, including liver failure and bone marrow suppression. In severe cases, eating autumn crocus can lead to the dog’s death.
Further Reading: Why Does My Dog Eat Leaves?
The full list of plants that are poisonous to dogs
To be on the safe side and keep your home and garden safe for your dog, as well as prevent it from poisoning itself by eating plants outdoors, we are sharing the complete list of plants poisonous to dogs as compiled by the ASPCA.
Please, keep in mind that the list contains some of the same plants but under their different common names.
African Wonder Tree
Australian Ivy Palm
Baby Doll Ti Plant
Barbados Pride 2
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise 2
Bird of Paradise Flower
Bird’s Tongue Flower
Bread and Butter Plant
Castor Bean Plant
False Queen Anne’s Lace
Franciscan Rain Tree
Giant Dumb Cane
Gold Dust Dracaena
Golden Birds Nest
Good Luck Plant
Green Gold Naphthysis
Hahn’s Self-Branching English Ivy
Hills of Snow
Indian Rubber Plant
Iron Cross Begonia
Lacy Tree Philodendron
Lily of the Palace
Lily of the Valley
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Mauna Loa Peace Lily
Metallic Leaf Begonia
Mole Bean Plant
Mother of Millions
Pink Pearl Pinks
Portulaca Prayer Bean
Shatavari Showy Daisy
Silver Jade Plant
Split Leaf Philodendron
Spotted Dumb Cane
St. John’s Wort
Sweet Cherry Sweet Pea
Swiss Cheese Plant
Tahitian Bridal Veil
Texas Umbrella Tree
Tulip Umbrella Leaf
Variegated Inch Plant
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
How to Protect Your Pup and Act if Your Dog Has Plant Poisoning?
The best way to prevent any type of plant toxicity in your dog is to keep it away from plants and flowers all together. However, this is rarely possible, especially if you have a backyard or garden or love indoor and outdoor plants.
You can, of course, choose plants that are safe for canines. Some of the popular non-toxic plants for dogs include spider plants, alyssum, camellia, orchids, bamboo, banana, star magnolia, basil, begonia, marigold, and many more flowers, shrubs, trees, veggies, and fruits.
But if you have a particular love for a flower or plant known to be poisonous to dogs, you can place it somewhere out of the dog’s reach or create a fence or other barrier if it is outside.
If, however many precautions you have taken, your dog happens to eat a toxic plant, make sure to call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline immediately.
You will be asked about your dog’s weight, age, and health, the type of plant it ate, the parts and amount it ingested, and how long ago the incident occurred.
The toxicologist or veterinarian will inform you of the actions you should take depending on the severity of the poisoning and the situation.
In some cases, you will be asked to monitor the dog for symptoms and to follow the advice provided by the vet.
In others, you will need to rush your pet off to the clinic ASAP so that immediate action is taken to curb the toxicity and resolve the symptoms.
You should take a plant sample with you, especially if you are not sure of its type and species. This will help the doctors determine the proper treatment.
The first thing that will happen in the ER is examining the dog. Vomiting may be induced, and activated charcoal is given to stop the toxins from being absorbed by the organism. Your dog may require IV infusions, as well as other medications depending on the severity and type of poisoning and the symptoms.
Do not try to do either at home without the exact instructions and the approval of your vet or expert from the poison control hotline.
Remember, the faster you act – the bigger the chances for your pup to a complete and faster recovery from plant poisoning!