Plant life poisonous to pets

Spring is in full swing, as they say, and the weather is starting to lighten and brighten with warm notes on the horizon. You might be thinking that now is the perfect time to give your winter garden a Spring glow up and get it looking fresh and smelling beautiful. It is a wonderful idea, not only will the fresh air do you good but it is also a very fulfilling, wholesome and therapeutic activity, one that is sure to lighten your mood. For pet owners, however, you need to be aware that not all garden flowers are suitable to plant and there are some hidden threats amongst those beautiful floral tones… 

Plants and flowers that dog owners should be careful planting in their garden:


Depending on how much your dog consumes, poisoning from Foxgloves leaves and seeds can be fatal. Symptoms include collapsing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, tremors and seizures.

If you believe your dog has ingested or chewed a piece of this plant, treat it as a medical emergency and contact your veterinarian.

English Ivy

The toxin is found throughout the plant but is most concentrated in the leaves. Repeated exposure to the sap of the plant can cause a temporary allergic dermatitis. Symptoms of ingestion include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Dogs can also get dermal reactions from the sap and these symptoms include blistering, redness, and swelling.

Flower Bulbs

Some plants aren't poisonous but the bulbs that they grow from are, and if ingested can be fatal. These include:

Amaryllis: Can cause an upset stomach, lethargy, can send the dog into a coma and shock.

Daffodils: Causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Can also cause dermatitis.

Hyacinth: Can cause a skin allergy.

Tulip: Very harmful if eaten in quantity and can cause skin allergies.


Large amount of the rhubarb leaves (raw or cooked) can cause convulsions and coma. The ingestion of this can be fatal for dogs.

The rhubarb plant contains soluble calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant, but they are most concentrated in the leaves. When chewed or swallowed these crystals can cause: blood in the urine, coma, diarrhea, kidney failure, swelling of lips or tongue, tremors and vomiting.

Asparagus Ferns

Asparagus Ferns contain a variety of poisons resulting a range of symptoms. Mostly the symptoms from ingestion are mild, and are generally only experienced when the berries are eaten. Repeated exposure to the sap of the plant can cause a temporary allergic dermatitis. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of apatite, nausea and vomiting.


Bluebells are harmful to dogs if eaten in large amounts, not to mention they are also an endangered plant so it is definitely best to prevent your dog from eating them. If ingested symptoms include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Buttercup Juice

Buttercup, if eaten in quantity, may injure digestive system and cause dermatitis. Symptoms of poisoning vary depending on the method of contact. Typically, topical poisoning does not need treatment unless it is causing severe discomfort. Oral poisoning is always worth a trip to the veterinarian no matter how much your dog ate, even if there are no obvious symptoms.


You are most likely to find Chrysanthemum in the bunch of flowers you picked up from the supermarket, so be mindful of these indoors as well as those growing outdoors. Chrysanthemum contain pyrethroids, namely permethrin, which is a natural insecticide. If your dog has eaten part of a chrysanthemum, he may exhibit the following symptoms: drooling, coughing, vomiting, lack of apatite and shaking.

Holly Berries

Although ingestion is generally not fatal, consuming several leaves or berries are likely to cause gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea. There are a quite a lot of naturally occurring toxins in Holly plants that can be poisonous to dogs and cause illnesses.

Lily and Lily of the Valley

Lilies are commonly known for being poisonous to cats but they also have toxins in them that are poisonous to dogs if ingested in large quantities. There are ranges in the toxicity as well with varying symptons. High toxicity from lilies can lead to death, kidney and liver failure. Medium toxicity is diarrhea and dehydration, whereas mild is redness of the eyes and diarrhea.

Be very mindful of lilies around your household and garden if you have a cat or dog.


Wisteria, although beautiful, are dangerous for our pets and can even be poisonous to children. The symptoms of wisteria poisoning depend on what part of the plant was eaten and the amount that your dog consumed. As few as three seeds from a wisteria pod can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and more than five can be fatal.

Symptoms include confusion, collapsing, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains.

There are quite a few plants, trees and flowers that are poisonous to our pets, dogs especially but also cats, and it is important to be aware of them so you can be cautious when planting new wildlife in your garden and when your dog is out and about sniffing plants.

This isn’t to say that you can’t plant these flowers or bulbs as long as you plant them out of reach of your four legged friends. For example, use chicken coop netting to secure off a patch of land where you plant and grow flowers on. Or you can put in a raised flower bed and protect it with pellet boards. 

There are a lot of ways you can get creative to still keep your garden flourishing and your doggy safe.

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