Dogs vs nature – dangerous plants for dogs

Dog and plants

Plants fill our living environment, whether it is trees and flowers planted in our gardens and public parks or wild plants growing in nature. Thus, on our daily dog walks we are constantly exposed to plants of different kinds. Nature is also the place to be when wanting to keep your furry friend happy as forests, fields and meadows provide a lot of new areas to sniff and explore. When in nature, exposure to different plants is inevitable and as a dog owner you may have noticed that similar to us humans, dogs can also be very interested in some plants. Dogs tend to sniff plants and sometimes they might even have a little taste of a plant with this being particularly evident in puppies. Thus, to keep your dog safe, are you aware of dangerous plants for dogs?

Many dog owners are aware that some plants are not healthy for dogs, but dog owners might not be aware of the extent of the dangerous plants list. The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) website has a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs and it is a good idea for dog owners to scan through this list.

Many of the toxic plants listed on the ASPCA website are not common to our environment. Thus, to save you from memorizing all of the toxic plants for dogs, in this article I’ve listed ten toxic plants that we are commonly exposed to in our daily lives. Familiarize yourself with this list and make sure you keep your dog away from these plants.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plant

Aloe leaf

Aloe Vera gel is well-known for its benefits on healing burns and other skin issues and it has been shown to have antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. The Aloe Vera plant has thick pointed green leaves which are filled with an aqueous tissue that is used to make Aloe Vera products.

With Aloe Vera products so commonly used and associated with good health, it might be surprising to hear that Aloe Vera is dangerous for dogs.

The good news is that the aqueous inner tissue is not toxic for dogs, however, the inner tissue is surrounded by a yellowish sap (called the Aloe latex), which is toxic to animals. Ingesting this sap causes vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

There are pet-safe Aloe Vera products available that can be used for example to treat skin irritations and burns.

Thus, if you want to use an Aloe Vera product for your dog, don’t use a fresh Aloe Vera plant, but a pet-safe Aloe Vera product instead.

2. Azalea

Azalea

The azalea shrub generates pretty flowers that bloom in the spring. Unfortunately this plant contains a highly potent toxin in its leaves and nectar. This toxin interferes with normal cellular function and if a dog ingests the azalea plant it is important to seek medical assistance fast.

Azalea ingestion can cause oral irritation followed by vomiting and diarrhea. The azalea toxin might also cause abnormal heart rhythm and low blood pressure so make sure you keep your dog away from the azalea plant.

3. Chives, leek, garlic and onion

Chives

Chives, leek, garlic and onion belong to the onion family and are popularly used in cooking due to their flavor adding properties. It is very important to be aware that all of these onion family plants are dangerous for dogs. Ingestion of these plants causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. They can also cause breakdown of red blood cells as a toxic symptom.

garlic

Garlic and onion are more potent than chives in causing adverse effects. However, dogs may have easier access to chives as this plant is commonly grown in home herb gardens. Generally, however, the strong smell and flavor of onion plants should keep dogs away from them.

4. Daffodil

Daffodils

This beautiful flower is most often yellow in color and is associated with spring time. The whole plant is considered dangerous for dogs, but the bulb of the plant is the most toxic part. Ingestion of the plant causes vomiting, diarrhea and increased salvation. Ingestion of large amounts of this plant causes low blood pressure, tremor, convulsions and cardiac arrhythmia. Thus, it is very important to keep your dog away from this plant.

5. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus leaves

Eucalypts dominate the landscape in Australia and there are around 900 species of this plant. Eucaplyptus has a distinct smell and taste, which most of us are familiar with. The leaves of eucalyptus plants are used to make eucalyptus oil which is widely used in pharmaceutical applications and as flavoring and fragrance. Ingestion of eucalyptus oil causes gastrointestinal irritation in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea and discomfort. Other symptoms may include weakness and depression. So if you have eucalyptus oil containing products in your home, keep them away from your dog’s reach.

6. Hortensia

Hortensia

Hortensia is a beautiful plant used to decorate gardens and landscapes. The flowers of hortensias are usually white, pink or red and they grow in clusters. Unfortunately this beautiful flowering shrub is toxic to dogs.

Ingestion of flowers or leaves of the plant will result in adverse symptoms in the gastrointestinal track, including vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms include lethargy.

7. Macadamia Nut (Australian Nut)

Macadamia nuts

The macadamia nut is native to Australia. This popular nut can be eaten on its own and it is often added to sweet pastries and cookies. However, the macadamia nut has been reported to be toxic for dogs.

Ingestion of macadamia nuts causes vomiting and weakness in especially hind legs. Thus, if you’re eating macadamia nuts or macadamia nut containing products, keep these away from your furry friend!

8. Oleander

Oleander

This plant has beautiful flowers and is a common member of gardens and landscapes. This plant, however, is highly toxic to animals, thus dogs should be kept away from it. All parts of this plant are poisonous for both humans and dogs and ingestion of oleander plant parts can result in several adverse symptoms. These symptoms range from less severe, such as abdominal pain and vomiting to very serious symptoms including abnormal heart rate and death. As this plant is so poisonous, it is also important not to let your dog drink water that has oleander leaves floating in it.

9. Tulip

Tulip

Tulips are characteristic spring flowers, easily recognizable by their green stems and large red, yellow or white flowers. Tulips are a common flower of people’s gardens. This flower is unfortunately toxic for dogs with the bulb containing the highest concentration of the toxic compound. The ingestion of tulips causes hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea and depression.

10. Yucca

Yucca plant

Yucca is a common in-door plant in people’s homes. Yucca plants characteristically have long stalks and thick pointed leaves. The yucca plant contains steroidal saponins, which is the toxic agent. Ingestion of the yucca plant causes gastrointestinal symptoms in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea. If large quantities of the plant is eaten, it can result to seizures and confusion. Fortunately the yucca plant has a bad taste so it is often not eaten in large quantities.

In case of an emergency

If you suspect your dog has eaten a poisonous plant, it is important to closely monitor their behavior for any symptoms. If any symptoms appear, take your dog immediately to the vet. If you witness your dog eat a poisonous plant, take them to the vet without waiting for any symptoms to arise.

Familiarize yourself with plants in the areas where your dog roams around freely to ensure your dog is not exposed to any dangerous plants. Also, when you’re considering planting new plants in your garden or purchasing new in-door plants, check that they are safe from a reliable source such as the ASPCA website.

A word on garden safety

In addition to toxic plants, there are several other things to take into account when wanting to provide a safe garden area for your dog. I came across this comprehensive article on garden safety on yourdogadvisor.com, which I highly recommend to read for tips on generating a safe garden space for your dog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please comment below.

To many happy barks & walks

Lotta