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10 Common Plants Poisonous to Dogs

Sam_Coppard
Published on September 20th 2019
46
Plants poisonous to dogs
A must read for plant-loving pet owners. Here are 10 of the most common UK grown garden and houseplants that are poisonous to dogs.

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Your dog will eat pretty much anything given a chance. Your slippers, the newspaper, their own tail if they could catch it.
And plants, which can be serious, because lots of common house and garden plants are poisonous to dogs.
Buy dog friendly plants from UK sellers here
A curtain of purple Wisteria flowers
Wisteria might be pretty but it can have a deadly consequences for your dog
Most dogs won't eat plants that can hurt them, but some berries and bulbs can look delicious to our canine friends. Additionally, some plants are only likely to do harm if consumed in large quantities such as Bluebells, Columbine and Hellebores.

Bluebell

Hyacinthoides spp.

Columbine

Aquilegia spp.

A close up of a pink Helleborus flower

Hellebores

Helleborus spp.

Every dog is different – some will chow down on the foliage just for the hell of it, although this is more common in dogs that are bored or stressed. Be particularly watchful of puppies who race around exploring the world mouth-first.
An excited puppy running across the grass to explore the world
Your pet may also have a sensitivity or allergy to a plant that is not on the list, so don't hesitate to contact a vet if you have concerns about your pet’s health.
So, which plants should you avoid to keep your dog safe? While this is far from an exhaustive list, here are some of the most common plants toxic to dogs.
For an extensive list, see this Factsheet (PDF), helpfully collated by the Dogs Trust.
An illustration of ten plants poisonous to dogs

Rhododendron

Close up photo of pink rhododendron flowers
The Rhododendron can be fatal to dogs if a large enough quantity is consumed
Although Rhododendrons are a conservation nightmare for our native flora and fauna, it is nevertheless undeniably beautiful, so it's quite a popular garden plant.
But all parts of Rhododendrons are poisonous to dogs, causing nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In large enough quantities, this can lead to coma or even death.

Tulip

A red tulip against a sea of other red, yellow and pink tulips
Try not to leave Tulip bulbs in easy reach of dogs
Tulips contain toxic alkaloids that are harmful to dogs if eaten in large quantities. The problem is greatest in spring and autumn when it's not unusual to have a few tulip bulbs lying around.
The bulbs now contain far higher concentrations of toxic alkaloids, making them even worse for your dog than they were for 17th-century Dutch speculators.

Foxglove

Foxgloves in flower – beautiful but poisonous to dogs and other pets
The leaves and seeds of Foxglove are particularly toxic
While chemicals synthesised from foxgloves have given us essential cardiac drugs, the plants themselves are highly poisonous. Ingestion can be fatal for cats, dogs or horses, and even for humans.
Symptoms of foxglove poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, and cardiac arrhythmia or even cardiac arrest.

Cyclamen

Pink cyclamen flowers
Cyclamen can cause convulsions and paralysis
A hardy and popular perennial that does well indoors or out, cyclamens are unfortunately terrible news for dogs.
Ingestion will severely impact the gastrointestinal tract, leading to convulsions and paralysis.

Ivy

Ivy leaves creeping and climbing
Be careful of Ivy when walking your dog in the woods
Eating ivy isn't typically life-threatening for dogs, but it does contain multiple harmful compounds that can irritate the skin and mucus membranes. Ivy can also cause gastrointestinal distress, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Given the ubiquity of ivy in woodland, it's also worth keeping an eye out for this one when you're taking the dog for a walk.

Lily of the Valley

White lily of the valley with large green leaves on a dark background
Beware of Lily of the Valley berries
Lily of the Valley loves damp, shady areas of wilder gardens where dogs love to nose around and explore. All parts of the plant are poisonous to dogs if eaten, but its strong scent seems to lure them in.
The berries are perhaps the biggest risk, as they don't taste bad but are still toxic.
If you have Lily of the Valley in your garden, it's a good idea to cut the stems once the berries start to ripen.

Daffodil

A daffodil in the sunshine
Get your Daffs in the ground before curious pets gnaw at them
Daffodil bulbs are particularly dangerous for dogs (and for humans!), and they're all over the place in spring. Daffodil bulbs (or the plants themselves in large quantities) can be fatal when eaten.
The dangerous compounds are mostly concentrated in the outer layers of the bulbs, so even a quick gnaw can cause gastrointestinal problems including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Sweet Pea

Sweet pea flowers
Lethargy, pacing and weakness could be signs of Sweet Pea poisoning
It can be hard to diagnose Sweet Pea poisoning in dogs, as the symptoms often don't show up until days after ingestion. But it does affect dogs differently to most other plants, as toxins in Sweet Peas typically cause musculoskeletal and central nervous system problems.
Lethargy, pacing and weakness are all common symptoms.

Wisteria

Wisteria growing over and an empty path
Wisteria doesn't have a nasty taste, which can lead to dogs consuming fatal amounts
With cascades of flowing purple blooms, wisterias are truly stunning. But their seeds (and seed pods) are highly poisonous to dogs, while the leaves and flowers can also be harmful in large quantities.
Worst of all, the effects are delayed. Wisteria also doesn't taste bad, so it's easy for dogs to eat far too much before you know anything is wrong.
Wisteria poisoning causes severe gastrointestinal issues, culminating in dehydration and collapse.

Yew

Yew tree leaves and berries
Avoid Yew at all costs
Yew is one of the most dangerous plants for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. The foliage is even more poisonous than the berries.
Typical symptoms within the first hour include dizziness, pupil dilation and a dry mouth. This then progresses to abdominal cramping, vomiting and salivation, and can keep getting worse from there.
But it doesn't always progress like this. Yew poisoning can cause sudden and unexpected death without any apparent symptoms presenting themselves beforehand.

What about the houseplants?

As much as they'd like to, our dogs can't spend all their time chasing after squirrels outside. So here are some common houseplants that are poisonous to dogs.

Snake Plant

The Snake Plant does well in the low lit conditions of our homes, and its sword-like leaves are often a focal point. But we'd suggest keeping it out of reach of your pets as the plant contains toxic saponins, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested.
Looking for an easy care, dog-friendly houseplant, why not try a Spider Plant instead?

Yucca

There's no doubt that the hardy Yucca is a wow factor plant, but it's a bit of a health and safety hazard too and not just because of those pointy leaves. The presence of saponins can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in mild cases, progressing to drooling, seizures and incoordination.

Peace Lily

Known to flower even in low lit conditions, the leafy Peace Lily plant is great for softening a room, but not all is peaceful when you combine this houseplant with your pooch. The Peace Lily is full of Insoluble calcium oxalates, which can cause burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips. Other nasty symptoms include excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing. The pollen too can be a source of irritation.

Rubber Tree

Well loved for its rounded, leathery foliage, Ficus elastica is a gorgeous addition to the home but be careful when trimming. The sap can irritate the skin and can also lead to vomiting, drooling and diarrhoea if ingested.

Hostas

Hostas are low maintenance plants that tend to thrive in the UK without too much fuss. However, the Hosta can be hostile when it comes to man's best friend. The glycoside saponins can cause abdominal issues, including but not limited to vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhoea.

Aloe Vera

While we use Aloe to treat a range of ailments, from sunburn to spots, Aloe switches from helpful to harmful when it comes to our four-legged friends. As well as the usual diarrhea and vomiting, large enough quantities can also cause lethargy.

Alocasia

With their arrow-shaped leaves, dramatic silver veins and deep green foliage, Elephant's Ear, also known as Alocasia Polly, is an eye-catching addition to the home. But that striking foliage isn't the only reason you'll want to keep Elephant's Ear firmly in view. A misguided chew on this plant can mean drooling, oral pain, vomiting and a decrease in appetite.

My dog ate a poisonous plant! What do I do?

If you think your dog's been poisoned, contact your vet straight away to request an emergency appointment, even if you're not 100% certain. Fast action could save your dog's life, and delaying could be fatal.
Make sure your dog is kept safely away from anything else that could do them harm, especially from whatever it was that poisoned them in the first place. And if you know what they ate, bring a sample of it to the vet. This can make diagnosis easier and faster, speeding up treatment and giving your dog the best possible chance of a speedy recovery.
Now you know which plants to avoid, browse our selection of plants from vetted independent sellers on the Candide Marketplace.
Updated 19/11/20.

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