Chewing is a normal part of being a puppy; however, if your pup chews on the wrong plant, the results could be disastrous. There are quite a few poisonous plants for dogs, and ingesting them can cause symptoms ranging from upset tummy to death.
In this article, we will present 15 of the most common house and garden plants that are dangerous for dogs. We will also provide sound advice regarding what to do if your pet eats a poisonous plant. Read on to learn more.
15 Potentially Poisonous Plants for Dogs
Here are fifteen of the most common plants that are toxic to dogs. All of the plants listed here are considered as “toxic plants” to dogs, and many are considered poisonous to both dogs and cats.
It is worth noting that the mere existence of these plants will not cause you and your dog problems. Well-cared for mature dogs, dogs, and puppies that have plenty of their own chew toys are unlikely to bother plants of any kind.
Even so, it is good to identify which of your plants might cause problems. This knowledge can help you take the right steps if your dog does ingest a potentially poisonous plant.
Identifying Plants Harmful to Dogs
The plants on this list are notated first by scientific name, followed by any common names. This list also includes the “toxic principle” of each type of plant. This term refers to the specific ingredient or quality of a plant which acts as a toxin.
For complete information on common toxic principles of plants, Quizlet provides a handy plant toxicology study set. [source]
Common Names: Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron
Common Names: Nightshade, Black Nightshade, European Bittersweet, Climbing Nightshade
The toxic principles of this plant are atropine-like substances, saponins, and solanine.
Ingestion can cause behavior changes, confusion, drowsiness, weakness, drooling, dilated pupils, loss of appetite, GI tract disturbances, diarrhea, slowed heart rate and central nervous system (CNS) depression.
Common Names: Rhododendron, Rosebay, Azalea
The toxic principle of this plant is grayanotoxin which interferes with the functioning of skeletal muscles and the heart.
Ingesting even a small amount can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, paralysis in the legs, depression of the central nervous system (CNS), weakness, stupor, coma, collapse of the heart and death.
Common Names: Desert Rose, Mock Azalea, Sabi Star, Impala Lily, Kudu Lily
Cardiac glycosides are the toxic principles of this plant. Ingestion can cause unexplained weight loss, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea, irregular heartbeat and death.
Common Names: Cyclamen, Sowbread
Terpenoid saponins are the toxic principles of this plant. Ingestion of the tubers can lead to drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, convulsions and death.
Common Names: Kalanchoe, Devils Backbone, Chandelier Plant, Mother of Millions
The toxic principle of this plant is bufadienolides. Ingestion can cause diarrhea and vomiting. In rare instances, heartbeat irregularities may result.
Kalanchoe is a common tropical plant. Until recently, it was found as a houseplant in the United States. However, because there are so many varieties (as many as 200) and so popular as houseplants, they have made their way around the world and have naturalized in semi-tropical settings (e.g., Florida and Hawaii).
Common Names: Sago Palm, Coontie Palm, Cardboard Palm, Cycads
The toxic principle of this plant is cycasin. Ingestion can result in excessive thirst, vomiting, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bloody feces, jaundice, liver damage and even liver failure, bruising, excessive bleeding and death.
Common Names: Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Taro Vine, Ivy Arum, Pothos
Insoluble calcium oxalates are the toxic principles of this plant. Ingestion can cause irritation and burning of the mouth and throat, drooling, vomiting, and trouble swallowing.
Common Names: Buddhist Rosary Bead, Precatory Bean, Weather Plant, Seminole Bead, Indian Licorice, Indian Bead, Rosary Pea, Lucky Bean, Love Bean
The toxic principles of the plant are abric acid and abrin. These components are found in highest concentration in the seeds; however, the seed coating must be broken for the toxins to be absorbed.
Ingesting even small amounts of this plant can cause severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and vomiting, tachycardia, high fever, tremors, shock, and death.
Common Names: Easter Lily, Lily
The precise toxic principles of members of the lily family are unknown; however, ingestion of lilies causes kidney failure. Symptoms include excessive thirst and frequent urination, cloudy and/or bloody urine.
As an interesting side-note, the Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri fern is a member of the lily (Liliaceae) family, but it is non-toxic to both dogs and cats.
Common names of this non-toxic plant include: Emerald Feather, Sprengeri Fern, Plumosa Fern, Emerald Fern, Asparagus, Lace Fern
Common Names: White Arum, Trumpet Lily, Florist’s Calla, Garden Calla, Arum Lily, Calla Lily, Pig Lily
Insoluble calcium oxalates are the toxic principles of this plant. Ingestion can cause oral irritation and burning of the mouth and throat, drooling, vomiting and trouble swallowing.
Common Name: Lily of the Valley
The toxic principles of this plant are cardenolides, including convallarin and several others. Ingestion can result in vomiting, disorientation, hypotension, irregular heartbeat, seizures and coma.
Common Names: Oleander, Rose-Bay
Cardiac glycosides are the toxic principles of this plant. Ingestion of even a small amount can cause drooling, stomach pain, diarrhea, depression, and death.
Common Names: Spotted Dumb Cane, Exotica Perfection, Giant Dumb Cane, Tropic Snow, Exotica
The toxic principles of this plant are proteolytic enzyme and insoluble calcium oxalates. Ingestion results in oral irritation, drooling, vomiting and trouble swallowing.
Common Names: Paper White, Narcissus, Daffodil, Jonquil
Toxic principles of this plant are alkaloids, including Lycorine. These substances are present in the greatest concentration in the bulb. Ingestion of any part of the plant may result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure and seizures.
All spring-blooming bulbs, including tulips and hyacinths, are toxic. For a complete list, see the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) article here.
More on creating a garden safe for pets here.
Always Be Vigilant!
This list represents a handful of the plants that are potentially poisonous to dogs. To see a complete list, visit the poison control center pages of the ASPCA website:
Understand that any time a dog eats any plant or any substance that is not part of his or her regular diet, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. This is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but you should always keep an eye on your dog and prevent ingestion of plants and other non-dog-food substances.
If you think your dog has eaten a poisonous plant or other substance, contact your veterinarian right away. If you don’t have a vet or your vet is unavailable, call the ASPCA hotline number [888-426-4435] for advice and instructions.
Keep this number and your veterinarian’s phone number in your cell phone and posted by your house phone.
The ASPCA typically charges a $65 consultation fee, which can be paid by phone via credit or debit card. It’s a good idea to keep a line of credit or separate account earmarked for just such emergencies.
5 Signs Your Dog May Have Ingested Poison
#1 – If you see your dog chewing on or playing with a potentially poisonous plant or substance, stop the activity immediately.
#2 – If you find signs of any poisonous substance on your dog’s body or feet or around the mouth, clean it off and take a sample if possible. This can be helpful to your vet.
#3 – If your dog seems to have painful areas or burns on the skin or on or around the mouth, it can be a sign of poisoning.
#4 – If your dog’s breath has a chemical or strange smell, it could be due to ingestion of a toxic substance.
#5 – If your pet exhibits any of the classic signs of poisoning (shaking, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, execessive drooling, seizures or tender abdomen) seek professional help.
Should You Always Seek Professional Help?
If you believe your dog has ingested or come in contact with poison, you are always better off seeking assistance from a professional. The best thing you can do is take steps to identify the offending substance, gather samples and give clear information to your vet or poison helpline.
Unless you are too far away from any veterinary office to get professional assistance within a reasonable period of time (approximately 20 minutes), you should not try to treat your dog for poisoning. Instead, put your efforts into contacting your vet and gathering samples of the poison.
If your dog has thrown up or had diarrhea because of the substance, gather a sample of that, too. It will help your vet identify the poison.
3 Tips for Transporting Your Dog to the Vet
#1 – Keep your pup comfortable and secure. Be sure to put your dog in a crate or carrier for the trip to the vet. In the case of seizures, you may find that wrapping a blanket around your dog will add more protection.
#2 – If your dog is throwing up and is not conscious, be sure to position him so that his head is lower than his body. This will help prevent aspiration of vomit.
#3 – Wrapping your dog in a blanket is also a good treatment for shock as it will help prevent loss of body heat. If your dog feels very cold, you may wish to apply a warm water bottle if it’s quick and easy to do so, but don’t waste time with this. It’s more important to get your dog to the vet than to apply a hot water bottle.
Can You Treat Poisoning Yourself?
Steps for treating poisoning include inducing vomiting, giving water, withholding water, treating with a laxative, giving charcoal by mouth and a number of other remedies.
The problem with doing it yourself is that it is very difficult to know which remedy is appropriate in any given situation. If you treat incorrectly, you will make matters worse.
To know how to treat poisoning, it is important to properly identify the poison and correctly evaluate the symptoms. This is why it is so important to see your vet or at least consult with the poison control hotline.
Prevention is the Best Defense Against Poisoning
There are lots of plants that are potentially poisonous to dogs; however, most of the time these do not pose a problem. If you have a puppy, you will probably want to take extra steps to remove poisonous plants from your home or landscape, or at least make them inaccessible.
When you take your dog for walks (even in the woods or countryside) use a leash.
Don’t let your dog get out of your sight as he or she could get into all kinds of poisonous substances, including poison that has been intentionally set out for wildlife or loose dogs. Remember that prevention is the best defense against poisoning.
Sources: ASPCA Animal Poison Control