Poisonous Plants For Dogs

Key takeaway

Many common indoor and outdoor plants are toxic to dogs, including wild plants that grow in your yard. Knowing the types of plants that can poison your beloved pet can help save their lives. If you’re ever unsure whether a plant is safe for your pet, consider consulting a vet or avoiding it altogether.

Having plants in your home while being a pet parent can be dangerous because some plants are toxic to dogs. Did you know that plants, including indoor and outdoor plants, are common dog poisons? Dogs are curious creatures who like to learn about their environments through touch, smell, and taste. They also love to play in dirt, so having plants around may not be the best option if your dog is still learning basic obedience. Additionally, many common houseplants are toxic to dogs, so if your dog eats them or even licks them, they could have a severe reaction. 

So, what plants are poisonous to dogs? Many popular houseplants and outdoor plants can be toxic. Most plants are only dangerous to dogs when ingested, but sometimes just the pollen of a plant can be strong enough to cause a reaction. As a pet parent, you should always research the plants you bring into your home to ensure they’re safe for your pets. If they’re not safe, consider having a plan for where you can put them where your dog won’t get to them. 

In addition, if you already own houseplants, learn more about them to determine whether or not they’re safe to have around your dog. If you’re wondering about poisonous plants for dogs, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn about common plants toxic to dogs. 

Plants most toxic to dogs

Castor Bean Or Castor Oil Plant

The castor bean plant is a green, leafy plant that’s toxic to dogs, cats, and even horses. Many pet parents grow castor bean plants inside until they are large enough to plant in a garden or flowerbed. However, this plant should never be planted where your dog could get to it. Therefore, it’s not the safest addition to your garden, especially if your garden isn’t fenced off. 

Cyclamen

Cyclamen is a beautiful pink and red plant that is a popular houseplant. However, every part of the plant is toxic to dogs, so whether your dog eats the flowers or a stem, they can experience severe GI issues. The roots are the most toxic part of the plant and can cause arrhythmia and death. 

Dumbcane

Dumbcane is a leafy green indoor plant that prefers warm temperatures and indirect sunlight. However, even though it’s a beautiful plant for any end table, it’s toxic to dogs if chewed or ingested. If your dog likes to chew on plants outside, keep dumbcane out of your home as they’ll think that it’s okay to chew on it. Dumbcane causes inflammation of the mouth and respiratory distress. If your dog consumes dumbcane, they’ll most likely require hospitalization. 

Hemlock

Hemlock is a plant that’s poisonous to many animals, including dogs and humans. Touching hemlock can cause skin reactions in humans, while ingesting hemlock can be fatal because there’s no antidote. Hemlock can be found on the side of the road or growing in the wild, but you can also buy it to plant in your garden. If you take your dog on a walk and notice a plant that looks like a hemlock, keep them away from it because it’s fatal when ingested.

English Ivy (Leaves And Berries)

English ivy is a beautiful plant used to decorate home exteriors, making it a common plant in many neighborhoods. However, many types of ivy, including English ivy, are toxic to dogs. The leaves and berries are both poisonous, but the leaves are more toxic than the berries. While English ivy’s toxicity isn’t usually fatal, ingestion can cause severe symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to difficulty breathing.1 If you have English ivy around your home, consider getting rid of it so you don’t have to worry about your dog when they’re in the yard. 

Lily

Lilies are beautiful indoor and outdoor flowers that come in a variety of colors. However, lilies are poisonous to pets of all kinds, including dogs. Symptoms of lily poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, and arrhythmia.1 Even a small exposure to lilies can be dangerous to dogs because the leaves and bulbs are toxic. 

Mistletoe

American mistletoe is most known for its role during Christmas in the United States. However, it also makes a great indoor or outdoor plant. While the American mistletoe is less toxic than the European mistletoe, it is still dangerous to pets. Berries from the American mistletoe contain toxins that can produce severe symptoms when ingested. These symptoms include GI issues, collapse, hypertension, seizures, and death. 

Consider using fake mistletoe this year to ensure that your dog won’t get a hold of a dangerous plant. 

Oleander

Oleander is a beautiful plant with pink, white, yellow, and red flowers commonly used in outdoor gardens. It’s a busy shrub most common on the West Coast and can grow up to twelve feet. However, this plant is toxic to dogs. Eating the flowers or leaves can result in mild side effects like vomiting to more severe complications and even death. Everything about this plant is poisonous, so it’s best to keep it out of your garden if you have a pet that roams the yard. 

Thorn Apple Or Jimsonweed

Thorn apple is a leafy green plant known for its toothed leaves. It’s commonly grown outside and is poisonous to people and animals. Every part of the plant, including the leaves, stem, and roots, is poisonous to dogs and can result in respiratory failure. 

Yew

Yew is a type of shrub and tree that produces berries and has soft needles. Since they’re easy to grow and relatively low maintenance, they’re popular for residential yards. However, they’re poisonous to dogs. The berries themselves are not toxic, but the leaves, seeds, and bark are. 

Mushrooms

Edible mushrooms you buy at the store are safe for dogs when prepared correctly. However, wild mushrooms can be poisonous to them. Mushroom toxicity is fairly common in dogs because mushrooms grow anywhere outside, including in your yard and on your favorite walking trails. Of course, not all species of wild mushrooms are dangerous to dogs; only about 50 to 100 of the 10,000 species of mushrooms are toxic.2

In the US, the most common poisonous mushroom is the Amanita species that can grow in your yard. These mushrooms contain a poisonous toxin that can cause death if not treated as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the exact amount a dog must consume before becoming severely ill is unknown. Therefore, never let your dog eat mushrooms in your yard, even though they may seem harmless. Instead, you can feed your dog edible mushrooms from the grocery store. 

Symptoms Of Plant Toxicity In Dogs

Symptoms of plant toxicity in dogs

Not all poisonous plants are fatal when ingested by dogs. However, some are extremely poisonous and can cause liver and kidney damage, coma, and death. Additionally, many of these plants grow in nature or even in your own backyard. You may also use them inside and outside of your home for decoration. Some poisonous plants may give your dog GI issues for a few days after ingestion, while others can cause severe illness. Knowing the signs of toxicity can help you determine when to take your dog to the vet for treatment. Of course, if your dog consumes an extremely toxic plant, take them to the vet immediately. The earlier your pet is treated, the better their chances of recovery and survival. Symptoms of toxicity in dogs are similar to when your pet eats foods toxic to dogs. Signs of plant toxicity in dogs include: 

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Extreme sedation
  • Trembling and Seizures
  • Coma

If your dog consumes any part of a potentially dangerous plant, take them to the vet for examination and blood work, especially if they’re experiencing any of the above symptoms.

What To Do If You Think Your Dog Ingested A Toxic Plant

What to do if your dog ingests a toxic plant

Even if you’re unsure whether or not your dog ingested a toxic plant, you can still take action. Calling your emergency vet or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 and providing as much detail as possible could save your dog’s life. 

After talking to a vet, always follow their instructions. For example, if your vet believes your dog has been poisoned and wants to see them as soon as possible, don’t wait; pack your dog in the car and get to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. In some cases, your vet may ask that you monitor your dog over the next few days to determine if they’re showing any signs of illness. If your dog doesn’t experience symptoms, they likely didn’t consume a toxic plant. 

It’s important not to try to induce vomiting on your own since it could be dangerous for your dog. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, your vet might provide recommendations for feeding a dog with an upset stomach or require them to be monitored overnight. 

Prevent Contact With Toxic Plants For Dogs

The best way to ensure the health of your dog is to prevent contact with toxic plants. Since raisins are toxic to dogs, you know to never share grapes or raisins with your pet and to call the vet immediately if your dog accidentally eats one. This same level of prevention is necessary when it comes to plants. Unfortunately, not every pet parent knows which plants are toxic to dogs. 

Therefore, the best way to prevent contact with toxic plants is by surveying the plants in and around your home and researching them or taking a list to your vet to help them determine which ones are dangerous. You can also do your research before buying new plants for your home. The easiest thing for pet parents to do is avoid having these plants at all, which might mean removing some plants from in and around your home. 

Plants poisonous to dogs can grow anywhere. You can further protect your dog by being more mindful of their activities on walks. Since you’re used to your dog stopping to sniff or do their business, you might not always pay attention to where they’re sticking their faces. Understanding that some plants toxic to dogs are wild and grow around the country can help you become more aware of what your dog is up to on walks. Of course, it also helps if your dog knows basic commands like “give” and “drop” in case they pick up a plant you can’t identify. 

Dog sniffing a flower outside with eyes closed

Final Notes

Keeping your dog away from poisonous plants will prevent them from becoming unnecessarily sick. Unfortunately, there are many types of poisonous plants for dogs that can cause severe harm, with the most toxic plants causing coma and even death in extreme cases. As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe. Since dogs are curious and prone to sniff, lick, or even eat things they’re curious about, it’s up to you to keep them away from poisonous plants.

If you’re ever unsure what your dog ate, whether it’s a plant or a piece of food, contact a Dutch vet as soon as possible. A Dutch licensed vet can help you monitor your dog for signs of illness and let you know when it’s time to take them to an emergency clinic for treatment. We can also teach you how to train your dog with basic commands to help prevent them from eating dangerous plants. 

References

  1. Reisen, Jan. “Poisonous Plants for Dogs.” American Kennel Club, 1 July 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/protect-your-pooch-from-poisonous-plants/.

  2. Staff, AKC. “Which Mushrooms Are Poisonous to Dogs? Beware of Certain Species.” American Kennel Club, 9 Aug. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-mushrooms/.