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What plants are toxic to dogs? Flowers to avoid indoors and in the garden for your pet


Dogs’ heightened sense of smell makes them naturally inquisitive to the environment around them.

Unfortunately, this evolutionary drive to sniff, smell and taste everything in sight can pose a danger if toxic or poisonous plants are lurking in or around a home.

Ingesting a poisonous plant may induce symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, salivation and weakness. If this is the case, it is important to take your pet to the vet immediately and bring a piece of the suspected plant with you.

Here is a list of the most common plants toxic to dogs to avoid growing in your home or garden.

A Beagle is seen in a garden in Pfullendorf, Germany.
Harry Langer/Getty Images

Daffodil

This bright yellow flower is a popular choice for many well-cared-for flower beds but poses a risk for your four-legged friend.

Daffodils contain lycorine and other alkaloids that are toxic to dogs, American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary expert, Dr. Jerry Klein, told Newsweek.

Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, salvation, diarrhea, low blood pressure and even tremors. Bulbs are the most poisonous part of the plant, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns.

daffodils
A working sheep dog sits amongst a daffodil field in Birmingham, England. Daffodils contain lycorine and other alkaloids that are toxic to dogs.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Tulip & Hyacinth

These flowers are harmful to dogs – mainly because of their bulbs, which can be dug up by curious canines in the garden, and are toxic if ingested.

“These plants usually contain specific toxins throughout the plant (glycosides), but the compounds tend to have much more concentrated alkaloids in the bulb,” Klein said.

“Glycoside toxicity is usually exhibited with gastrointestinal signs such as drooling, vomiting and diarrhea but can range to neurologic and cardiac changes in extreme cases.”

Tulips and hyacinths also contain the alkaloid Tuliposide A, Klein added.

Hyacinth Flowers
Hyacinthus Orientalis flowers are displayed during the Chelsea Flower Show in London. The bulbs in particular are especially toxic.
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Autumn Crocus

These pretty plants contain colchicine, which is extremely toxic to dogs, notes Klein.

Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, severe vomiting, kidney and liver damage, and respiratory failure, according to the ASPCA.

Symptoms might be delayed for several days, the American Kennel Club warns, so it is important to seek veterinary attention if you suspect your dog has ingested the plant.

saffron flower crocus sativus
The Autumn Crocus or saffron flower, contains colchicine which is extremely toxic to dogs.
Patrizia Piccini/Getty Images

Sago Palm

This houseplant is a popular choice and places in and around homes for its resemblance to a small palm tree, however it is actually not a palm tree at all.

“All parts of the sago palm are considered toxic to dogs,” Klein said. “But the seed from the female Sago is considered the most toxic part of the plant.”

Sago Palms contain Cycasin which causes severe and sometimes fatal liver failure in dogs, the veterinary expert warned.

Sago Palm
Sago Palms contain Cycasin which causes severe and sometimes fatal liver failure in dogs.
Christian Ender/Getty Images

Foxglove

Although beautiful to look at, all parts of these delicate flowers – from the seeds to the petals – are extremely toxic to dogs and ingestion can cause cardiac failure and even death, the Pet Poison Helpline warns.

The plant contains cardiac glycosides such as digitoxin, digoxin, and digitalin.

Foxglove flower
Foxglove flowers grow in Northallerton, England. The plant is extremely toxic to dogs and ingestion can cause cardiac failure and even death.
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Rhododendron

The entire genus of this plant species is extremely dangerous to dogs. Eating even a few leaves can cause serious issues for a dog, including vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, paralysis, shock, coma, and death, the American Kennel Club warns.

“Azaleas and Rhododendrons contain a neurotoxin called Grayantonin, a toxin that affects the body’s sodium channels which can then affect muscle tissue of the heart and skeletal muscles,” Klein said. “All parts of the plant can be toxic and even small ingestions of the plant are dangerous to dogs.”

As little as ingestion of 0.2 per cent of an animal’s body weight can result in poisoning, the Pet Poison helpline warns. With treatment, prognosis is fair.

rhododendrons
A rhododendron bush. Eating even a few leaves can cause serious issues for a dog.
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Elephant Ear

These common household plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals and chewing or biting the leaves or stem will release these crystals causing a toxic effect, the Pet Poison helpline warns. Very rarely, swelling of the upper airway occurs making it difficult to breathe.

If consumed, this plant can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns.

elephant ear plant
The elephant ear is a common household plant.
Mohd RASFAN/Getty Images

Castor Bean

This plant contains ricin, one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances known. The seeds from the castor bean plant, ricinus communis, are poisonous to dogs. One of the main toxic proteins, ricin, is a potent cytotoxin and is particularly harmful to dogs, the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University warns.

Luckily, this plant is not so common in the garden and is more commonly found in parks and other outside areas.

castor bean
The seeds from the castor bean plant, ricinus communis, are especially poisonous to dogs.
AARON MASCHO/Getty Images

Dr. Paula Parker, an emergency vet and president of the Australian Veterinary Association believes many dogs may come across a poisonous plant out of curiosity or just sheer boredom.

“Often, if pets are chewing on plants it’s a sign they don’t have anything more appealing,” Parker told ABC. “That behaviour often tells us they’re bored or there’s something else going on.”

Kate Bradbury of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine said that dogs rarely eat poisonous plants in the garden.

However, “young, stressed, bored and restless dogs may be prone to chewing and eating plants that would normally be avoided,” she explained.

Obama's dog Bo Rose Garden
Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s Portuguese water dog, Bo, walks through the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C.
Saul LOEB/Getty Images



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