Plants That Are Harmful to Dogs

It’s fun to have your dog with you outside, whether taking a walk, working in your garden, or just enjoying the fresh air.

You always keep an eye out for snakes, skunks, and other wild animals that could harm your dog. Potentially poisonous plants may not be on your radar—but they should be. When exploring, dogs lead with their noses. And sometimes they’ll smell something and seem to think, “Hmm…this smells interesting. I wonder what it tastes like?” Next thing you know, they’ve got a mouthful of who knows what.

rhododendron trail

Rhododendrons on a trial in the Carpathian Mountains | istockphoto/Maksymka

On the Trail

Hiking with your dog in the forest or a field is great fun, but you need to stay alert, especially if your dog strays off the trail. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can not only lead to a miserable rash on your skin, they can affect your dog’s skin as well.

Enjoy looking at wildflowers? Be careful: lilies, azaleas, rhododendrons, foxglove, African violets, bluebells, crocuses, and even daffodils can be dangerous to dogs.

Some other plants that you should keep your pooch from snacking on include hemlock, wolfsbane, ivy, mountain laurel, elderberry, and flax.

tulips garden

Tulips in a park| istockphoto/Altinosmanaj

In the Park

Think you’re safe taking your dog for a walk in the park? Guess again. Many plants used in landscaping can be harmful, including castor bean plants, sago palms,and oleander.

The flowers listed above are sometimes grown in gardens, as are tulips, begonias, poppies, peonies, and hydrangeas. Not only the blossoms, leaves, and stems of these plants cause your pup distress if he eats them, but so can the roots, bulbs, and seeds.

tomato plant

Tomato plant in a garden | istockphoto/CasarsaGuru

In Your Garden

Tomato plants can mean trouble. Rhubarb and sweat peas are other dangers. Onions, both the plant and the onion itself, are very dangerous to dogs and should never be given to them.

Even some fruits, including grapes, raisins, and avocados can be extremely dangerous. Also keep your dog away from apricot and peach pits: all of these contain toxins which can harm your dog.

dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia houseplant | istockphoto/vaitekune

House Plants

Even some houseplants can be dangerous to dogs. Easter Lilies and Amaryllis plants (another familiar springtime flower) should be kept out of your dog’s reach. A favorite Christmas flower, the Poinsettia, can also be dangerous to your dog.

Asparagus ferns, dieffenbachia, elephant ears, and even philodendrons are all common household plants that you need to be sure to keep your dog away from. Even an arrangement from a florist can spell danger if it includes chrysanthemums or baby’s breath.

Some of these plants can be deadly to dogs, and others may only cause skin irritations. The symptoms are varied, and may take several days to develop. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can all be indications of poisoning, and you should take your dog to the vet to be checked out.

If you think you dog may have eaten one of these plants, be sure to let you vet know the plant and also if the dog ate the fruit or flower, the stem, leaves, all of it. Some parts of the plants are more dangerous than others.

Don’t Go in a Panic!

Numerous plants can pose a danger to your dog, but in the overall scheme of things, only a very small percentage of plants are a real concern. Take a few minutes to research the plants in your garden, your house, and in the areas where you commonly walk your dog. Find out which ones are potentially harmful, and what symptoms to look out for. Taking just a few precautions will allow you to safely enjoy outings with your dog.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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