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Dangerous Plants for Dogs

Angela is a cat and dog lover who has made special efforts to learn as much as she can about the animals she cares for.

This article will provide you with a wealth of information about which plants can be toxic to dogs.

This article will provide you with a wealth of information about which plants can be toxic to dogs.

Plants That Are Toxic to Dogs

Taking care of a dog is a big responsibility, from making sure they have healthy teeth to getting pet insurance. One often neglected way to protect them is safeguarding them against poisonous plants. Since dogs are curious by nature, chances are, if there is a toxic plant in your garden, they will find it.

Barriers and fences should be between your dog and plants that are harmful to them, especially for dogs that roam their yard unattended. If barriers are not feasible, it may be best to get rid of these plants that can harm your pet. Unfortunately, you cannot always protect your dog from such toxic plants; therefore, it is essential to understand the symptoms of poisoning in a dog as well.

Protecting your puppy is a huge responsibility.

Protecting your puppy is a huge responsibility.

Plants Harmful to Dogs

Let's first take a look at some of the main plants that are dangerous to dogs.

Serious Toxins

  • Tomatoes, Hydrangeas, and Morning Glories: If your dog were to eat some of these, it could cause cardiac arrest and even death in some dogs.
  • Saint John's Wort: These are hazardous plants for dogs and can lead to seizures.
  • Garlic: This plant is extremely toxic for your dog in large doses, which can lead to such symptoms as vomiting, a breakdown of red blood cells, blood in urine, weakness, panting, and fast heart rate. Although most of these symptoms are rare, there are individual dogs that are more reactive to garlic than others, according to the ASPCA. The amount of garlic found in food usually is not enough to affect your dog. Although, if they eat garlic from your garden or pantry, this could have dire results.

Mild Toxins

  • Hostas: Hostas will irritate a dog's digestive system. If a dog chooses to eat the plant itself, then they may end up vomiting or having diarrhea.
  • Fig Plants (aka Indian Rubber Plants or Weeping Fig): Fig plants are both an irritant to a dog's skin—which can cause dermatitis—and to them intestinally—which leads to vomiting, excessive salivating, and diarrhea.
Let your puppy frolick in the weeds without worries by only placing plants that are healthy for your dog.

Let your puppy frolick in the weeds without worries by only placing plants that are healthy for your dog.

Poisonous House Plants for Dogs

  • Aloe Vera, Barbados Aloe, English Ivy, Glacier Ivy, and California Ivy: Most aloe and ivy plants are dangerous for dogs. These can cause diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and tremors. In California Ivy and Glacier Ivy, the foliage is more hazardous than the berries.
  • Peace Lilies and Palm Lilies: Most lily plants are poisonous to dogs as well. These can cause a variety of symptoms that range from a dog who is unwilling to eat, vomiting with blood, excessive drooling, and dilated pupils.
  • Belladonna (Naked Lady, Amaryllis, and Saint Joseph Lily): Belladonna is a plant that is a popular gift during the winter months. This plant may cause very severe symptoms such as abdominal pain and tremors, as well as more mild symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive salivation.
  • Elephant Ears (aka Caladium or Malanga) and Devil's Ivy: These can irritate the dog's mouth if he tries to chew on it. Most likely, he will have intense burning, which will lead to heavy drooling and maybe even vomiting. In more severe cases, the dog may have trouble swallowing.
Dogs will sleep anywhere; make sure you do not have poisonous plants anywhere a dog can go.

Dogs will sleep anywhere; make sure you do not have poisonous plants anywhere a dog can go.

Flowers That Are Poisonous to Dogs

  • Narcissus, Hyacinths, Daffodils, Irises, and Tulips: When deciding what flowers to plant in your garden, you may want to be wary of planting certain bulbs. Their bulbs can poison the ground; therefore, if your dog chooses to dig in an area where the flowers were once planted, it may result in vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Geraniums and Hibiscus: These can cause vomiting or cause a dog to avoid eating altogether.
  • Azaleas, Bird of Paradise, and Clematis: These flowers can cause symptoms from drowsiness to a coma. Other symptoms include throwing up, leg paralysis, and even death.
  • Poinsettias, Chrysanthemums, and Buttercups: These flowers are also poisonous to dogs. They can lead to irritation of the mouth and stomach lining, which often leads to vomiting or excessive salivation. If you catch a dog eating a buttercup or mum, and notice they begin to wobble or stagger while they are walking, call your veterinarian immediately. Mums can also cause skin irritation just by rubbing against these flowers; therefore, it is a good idea not to have them in your yard at all.
It would be great if your dog always sat nicely and never tore into your garden. Truth is, they will, and you want to be prepared.

It would be great if your dog always sat nicely and never tore into your garden. Truth is, they will, and you want to be prepared.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of poisoning are dependent on what toxin a dog has ingested. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, you should call a veterinarian, which is critical, especially in cases where you do not know the cause of the symptom. One reason for this is that without knowing what the toxin is, the symptom may be dismissed. Vomiting can occur as a result of a minor toxin that causes an upset stomach. In contrast, it may also signal liver damage because of an entirely different poison that can kill your pet.

A dog that is poisoned may exhibit these symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blood in urine or vomit
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness in legs
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Staggering
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Dogs love to dig, especially in your garden. Make sure to keep things out of your garden that may harm your dog.

Dogs love to dig, especially in your garden. Make sure to keep things out of your garden that may harm your dog.

Pet Poison Control

Although the toxicity of the plant is dependent on the amount consumed and how large your dog is, there are other factors to consider. A puppy and older dog are more apt to get sick on mildly dangerous plants than a two-year-old healthy dog. Also, smaller dogs are more prone to show more severe symptoms due to their weight. Don't let this fool you, even large, healthy dogs can get sick on many of these plants, and some breeds have more significant reactions than others despite their size. It is for this reason that you need to know what to do in case your dog suddenly becomes ill.

The below table is a list of some of the most well-respected pet poison control centers. It is a good idea to print this table out and post it near your refrigerator since you never know when pet poisoning may occur. They can also tell you whether you need to wait out your dog's bad reaction or bring him to the vet immediately.

Pet Poison Control Numbers

Poison ControlHotline NumberAvailability and Cost

Angell Poison Control Hotline


Cost $55: 24 hours a day, every day

Animal Poison Hotline


Cost $35: 24 hours a day, every day

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center


Cost $55: 24 hours a day, every day

National Animal Poison Control Center


Cost varies, unlike 1-900 number, you pay by credit card

National Animal Poison Control Center


Cost varies, billed to your phone

Pet Poison Helpline


Cost $35

Works Cited

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: My dog was chewing the offshoot of a Hosta. He has had one episode of watery diarrhea, and is very aggressive. Do you think he was poisoned?

Answer: If he was, then it was very mild. His aggression may be due to pain in his stomach and he is very uncomfortable. If you are concerned, then you need to bring him to a veterinarian. You can call your vet to see if there is anything you can do to help ease the comfort.

Question: My dog was eating hosta shoots about three hours ago. He vomited four times in the last hour. Afterward, I rinsed his mouth and gave him water. It seems his stomach has settled, and he is asleep. Should I still be concerned? Do we need to visit the clinic?

Answer: There is no substitute for contacting your veterinarian. Many emergency room veterinarian clinics have an emergency line that you can call and ask such questions. If you are at all concerned, then it is crucial to call your pet's doctor, as they will be familiar with individual breeds and how they respond to specific toxic elements. They also can give you advice on how to treat your dog as well.

Question: My puppy ate a tiny mum bud off a friends porch. I got it out of her mouth before she swallowed it. Will she be OK?

Answer: Since she did not swallow it and the size was small, my guess is she probably will be just fine. Whenever you have concerns, make sure to pay attention to your dog's behavior and call your vet with any odd behaviors such as sluggishness or reactions such as vomitting. Although it is nice to check on the Internet to see if your dog will be OK, the veterinarian is your best resource if there are any true reason to be concerned that your dog may get sick.

Question: Is eating clover harmful for dogs?

Answer: If eaten in large quantities yes, but the chances of a dog eating enough to make him sick are very minimal since clovers have such a bitter taste. Most likely they would eat a little and stop quickly as they taste the bitter taste.

Question: Are the green parts of lilies dangerous to dogs?

Answer: Yes, they can give a dog an upset stomach. They are also considered extremely dangerous for cats.

Question: My dog ate a piece of a mum do I need to take him to vet?

Answer: If you ever question whether you should take your dog to the vet, then definitely do so. If you are unsure, give your vet a call. There is often someone available who can ask you questions to understand the seriousness of the issue. Some signs that you need to head to the vet immediately would include vomiting, swelling, coughing, or unusual lethargy.

© 2012 Angela Michelle Schultz


Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on August 26, 2019:

According to the ASPCA, it is considered toxic to dogs. It contains toxic alkaloids that are used in cancer treatments.

Nanci on August 23, 2019:

Is vinca minor harmful to dogs

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on April 16, 2018:

Gold Lantana, Boxwood Beauty, Little John, are very toxic to your dog. To the best of my knowledge Star Jasmine Vine and Sky Flower Vine are not toxic. A good resource to use if you have any questions is the ASPCA, they can help you. In the future feel free to ask the question in Question and Answer slot, because the answer will go directly to your email. Thank you for asking!

Tom on April 16, 2018:

Hello, our 2 year old retriever likes to eat plants/trees, etc... We are having the following planted and were wondering if any of them were poisonous to dogs. Thanks 1-Gold Lantana 2-Boxwood Beauty 3-Little John 4-Star Jasmine Vine 5-Sky Flower Vine

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on October 18, 2017:

It really depends on the breed. Different breeds react differently.

Douglas on February 20, 2017:

My two dogs died today same time same symptoms but no clue about the cause..Jz a normal daily walk n they died an hour or more at home ..Saw the symptoms of poisoning

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on May 18, 2016:

Depends on the dog.

thor on May 17, 2016:

how pousinous are hostas to dogs exactly?

CaSandra Ryan on October 26, 2015:

What can I do if my dog eats a hosta stem

ActiveDogToys on September 21, 2014:

Thanks for the great article. Very informative!

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on July 26, 2014:

That is so scary... Hopefully Rex will only continue to heal.

Sarah & Rex on July 24, 2014:

Rex is a Boxer/Border Collie and our neighbor scraped a plate over the fence for him and it landed on a Black Calla Lily (which I did not know we had) and it is a very poisonous plant. Rex almost died. He still has problems with his stomach almost every day and I think it affected his throat as he seems to have trouble swallowing.

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on May 29, 2014:

Thank you for this list, even though our two are kept in a fenced area away from plants and flowers, it's still good to know and a good source to recommend to our friends who have dogs that are not in a fence.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on June 25, 2012:

Just Ask Susan, some dogs aren't interested in plants, plus some are more immune to these toxins than others.

LauraGSpeaks my dog eats grass too, along with roses, bushes, leaves, so I have to be a little more conscious.

LauraGSpeaks from Raleigh, NC on June 25, 2012:

Great, informative hub. I do have hydrangeas in my yard, but my dog doesn't eat them. Unfortunately she eats grass sometimes after we mow.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on June 25, 2012:

I have many of these flowers and plants in my yard and luckily my 2 dogs have never eaten them. I will print this hub out though as its full of great information that will be handy to have should they ever get any of the symptoms you've included.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on June 19, 2012:

I'm glad I could educate you Jennzie.

Teaches,I'm hoping that the emergency numbers will help people.

Dianna Mendez on June 19, 2012:

I didn't know that tomatoes and garlic were toxic to dogs. Glad to know this. Your posting of the hotlines will help many to find the information needed in just such an emergency. Great article!

Jenn from Pennsylvania on June 19, 2012:

Very good to know these. Thanks for writing this!

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on June 19, 2012:

Most plants will cause upset stomaches, only few will cause more severe reactions, and that is if they ingest a large amount. My dog eats plants. So we have to watch what we have more than people whose dogs don't bother plants. Still it is a good idea to keep those plants out of the garden.

Denise Mai from Idaho on June 19, 2012:

Good article. I'm afraid to plant anything because I don't want go accidentally poison my two boxers. Thanks for listing some plants to avoid should I get the courage.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on June 18, 2012:

twinstimes2, I don't know. It's so hard to lose a dog. You'll probably never know. Truth is, all breeds have different reactions, and its hard to say which breeds are affected by what. Most articles I have read, will state they do not know which breeds are most affected by this plant or that.

Chrissieklinger, my parent in laws dogs and my parents have many of the plants, and have not had any problems, but there dogs do not dig or eat the plants. My dog likes to chew on all leaves of everything, and dig, plus he's small, so we are very careful what we have been putting in our yard.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on June 18, 2012:

Dr. Mark, my source for that was the ASPCA, and I would say they are a reliable source. I added a little qualification to make it more accurate, since it was misleading before I explained it more clearly. In large amounts of garlic, it can truly cause those symptoms in some breeds. At this time they are not sure which breeds are most affected by high concentration of garlic. Small amounts found in most cooking won't bother a dog, it's when they eat it right out of the garden, which is a pretty high dose of garlic.

chrissieklinger from Pennsylvania on June 18, 2012:

Wow, we have three dogs and they run free all the time. We also have almost all the plants you mentioned. Luckily my labs are more interested in chasing turkeys, rabbits, and deer and they never bother with the plants. After reading this though I will be more cautious!

Karen Lackey from Ohio on June 18, 2012:

Holy cow. This makes me want to keep our puppy inside all day! Very good information. I need to keep a close eye on what Ruby eats. Our puppy, Annie, died suddenly a few months ago. It makes me wonder if she ingested something. The autopsy came back inconclusive. Curious if these plant poisons would show up? Very informative for sure!

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 18, 2012:

Nice article. The section on garlic, however, is extremely wrong and if you had a source for this he was just qouting another source, qouting another source, etc.

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