toxic plants for dogs

Toxic Plants for Dogs- Here’s What To Avoid

Toxic plants for dogs are another important area of knowledge to have for any dog owner. I know we’ve talked about toxic foods for dogs, but knowing how to protect our dogs extends beyond what we intentionally give them.

Dogs are inquisitive, and they get into everything while we’re out and about with them. Of course, dogs have no idea what is or isn’t toxic to them, and they’ll snap up almost anything before we know it. I mean Humphrey is now six years old and I’m still constantly grabbing things out of his mouth that he snatches up when we’re on our walks!

Knowing about toxic plants for dogs can help us protect our dogs from unexpected toxicities as well as those that can be found in certain foods.

Toxic Plants for Dogs to Watch Out For

Toxic plants are everywhere. Whether you’re walking your dog on a trail or down the street, toxic things are all over the place! Today, we’re talking about all of them.

1. Castor Bean and Castor Oil

Castor beans and oil contain a compound called ricin, which is highly toxic to dogs. Symptoms of ingestion occur 12 to 48 hours after ingestion and include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Burning of the mouth and throat
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Death (in severe cases)

2. Cyclamen

Commonly called Sowbread, Cyclamen has red or pink flowers. The plant contains terpenoid saponins, compounds which can cause symptoms ranging from salivation to death in extreme cases. Symptoms of ingestion include:

  • Salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities (in large amounts)
  • Seizures (in large amounts)
  • Death (in large amounts)

3. Dumbcane

Dumbcane is an ornamental houseplant widely found in homes. It’s also known as Charming Dieffenbachia, Giant Dumb Cane, Tropic Snow, Exotica, Spotted Dumb Cane, Exotica Perfection, Dieffenbachia. This family of plants contains insoluble calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzyme. These can cause oral and GI tract irritation. Symptoms of ingestion include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Intense burning of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

4. Poison Hemlock

Not to be confused with the common Hemlock tree, Poison Hemlock is a toxic plant for dogs. Also called Poison Parsley, Spotted Hemlock, Winter Fern, California Fern, Nebraska Fern, and Deadly Hemlock, this plant contains various alkaloids which can cause symptoms ranging from agitation to death in severe cases. Watch for:

  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Paralysis (in severe cases)
  • Death (in severe cases)

5. English Ivy

Both the leaves and the berry of this plant are poisonous to dogs, although the foliage is the most toxic of the two. Also known as Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, and California Ivy, the plant contains triterpenoid saponins, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hypersalivation
  • Diarrhea

6. Mistletoe

A holiday favorite in many homes, mistletoe contains toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin which cause dogs to have GI tract issues as well as circulatory system problems. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood pressure (rarely)

7. Oleander

Also known as Rose-Bay, Oleander may be beautiful, but it’s beautifully deadly to dogs. Containing cardiac glycosides, this plant can cause problems ranging from drooling to death, in some cases. Symptoms include:

  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic
  • Depression
  • Death (in severe cases)

8. Yew

Also called Japanese Yew, this plant is intensely toxic to dogs. Containing a compound called taxine, ingestion can result in sudden death from acute cardiac failure. Watch for early symptoms like:

  • Muscular tremors
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures

9. Amaryllis

Amaryllis, also commonly referred to as Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna, and Naked Lady contains lycorine, a toxin which can produce the following symptoms in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Hypersalivation
  • Anorexia
  • Tremors

10. Autumn Crocus

Also known as Meadow Saffron, Autumn Crocus contains colchicine and other alkaloids which can cause several nasty issues, including dangerous ones like multi-organ damage. Results of ingesting this plant include:

  • Bloody vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Multi-organ damage
  • Bone marrow suppression

11. Chrysanthemum

Another popular garden plant on the list of toxic plants for dogs, Chrysanthemum contains a variety of compounds which are irritating and toxic to dogs. Symptoms of ingestion include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation
  • Incoordination
  • Dematitis
toxic plants for dog
Photo by Mila Young

12. Foxglove

Foxglove contains cardiac glycosides which are highly toxic to dogs. Ingestion of this plant causes dangerous cardiac issues and can lead to death. Symptoms include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Cardiac failure
  • Death

13. Jerusalem Cherry

Also known as Natal Cherry and Winter Cherry, this plant causes both GI and respiratory distress in dogs due to a compound called Solanine. symptoms include:

  • GI disturbances
  • Potential ulceration of the GI tract
  • Seizure
  • Depression
  • Respiratory depression
  • Shock

14. Larkspur

The alkaloids in this wildflower can cause a variety of health concerns, including:

  • Neuromuscular paralysis
  • Constipation
  • Increased salivation
  • Tremors
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions

15. Lily of the Valley

The cardenolides found in this common garden flower can cause issues ranging from vomiting to coma. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Seizure
  • Coma

toxic plants for dogs

16. Marijuana

While the THC found in marijuana may make human smokers feel great, it has the opposite effect on dogs. Ingestion of marijuana can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Incoordination
  • Sleepiness OR excitation
  • Hypersalivation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Death (very rare)

17. Peace Lily

Also known as Mauna Loa Peace Lily, this commonly gifted flower contains insoluble calcium oxalates which can cause severe localized reaction and vomiting. Symptoms include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

18. Schefflera

Also commonly called Umbrella Tree, Australian Ivy Palm, Octopus Tree, and Starleaf, Schefflera contains calcium oxalate crystals which cause intense localized reaction. Symptoms of ingestion include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

19. Tulip Bulbs

If your dog likes to dig, keep him away from this common garden flower on the list of toxic plants for dogs. Tulip bulbs contain tulipalin A and B, which cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation

20. Azalea

The beauty of this common garden flower belies its danger. Also known as Rosebay and Rhododendron, this plant contains grayantoxin which can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Cardiac failure

21. Boxwood

Chances are your dog won’t eat this, but if he does, the alkaloids in boxwood will cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

22. Chinaberry Tree

Also called Bead Tree, China Ball Tree, Paradise Tree, Persian Lilac, White Cedar, Japanese Bead Tree, Texas Umbrella Tree, and Pride of India, the ripe berries of this tree contain meliatoxins. These compounds can cause a variety of symptoms.

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Salivation
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Seizure

23. Horse Chestnut

Also called Buckeye, all parts of this plant contain aesculin and other saponins that can cause a variety of nasty symptoms in dogs. These include:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Depression or excitement
  • Dilated pupils
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

24. Privet

Privet in all varieties – amur, wax leaf, and common – contains terpenoid glycosides which cause GI upset and in some cases death when ingested. Symptoms include:

  • GI upset
  • Incoordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Death (rare)

25. Sago Palm

Also called Coontie Palm, Cardboard Palm, Cycad and Zamia, this decorative palm contains cycasin and is highly toxic to dogs. Ingestion can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Bruising
  • Coagulopathy
  • Liver damage
  • Liver failure
  • Death

26. Wisteria

While Wisteria can make a dog incredibly uncomfortable and miserable, it doesn’t cause death. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting – sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

Know These Toxic Plants for Dogs

Dogs primarily use their noses and mouths to interact with the world, which makes this list of toxic plants for dogs so important. If you know what to watch for, you can better protect your dog against himself. If you ever suspect that your dog has ingested any of these toxic plants for dogs, contact your vet immediately. While symptoms can be mainly uncomfortably painful in many cases, some of these plants can and do lead to death if dogs aren’t treated properly and immediately. With this list, you can keep your dog safe and healthy.

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