Whether your furry friend is sniffing a wild plant in the great outdoors or checking out your new orchid on the kitchen windowsill, it’s no secret that dogs have a fascination for flowers and houseplants. However, not everything that grows should be up for grabs. There are many plants that are toxic to dogs, so it’s important to think carefully when adding a potted plant or finally starting that new garden. This guide will help you distinguish the plants that are unsafe for dogs from those that are harmless.
Symptoms of Consuming Toxic Plants
Although many plants are considered toxic to dogs, the levels of danger they present vary due to the type of plant and your dogs’ body. Some plants, for example, induce mild symptoms while others may warrant immediate veterinary care. Common signs of consuming a toxic plant include:
- Gastrointestinal distress
If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless your vet instructs you to do so. It may also be helpful to collect a sample of the plant and take it to your vet; this can help them evaluate the plant’s potential danger and offer the best solution possible.
Plants That Are Toxic to Dogs
Types of plants that are toxic to dogs include certain shrubs, vines, flowers, houseplants, and even trees. Although there are countless poisonous plants in the world, these are some of the most common ones to avoid.
Flowers and Houseplants Dogs Should Avoid
Aloe vera: Even though aloe vera has topical benefits for dogs and humans, your pup should not ingest this plant. Aloe is toxic when ingested, according to Pet Poison Helpline.
Autumn crocus: This perennial garden plant blooms in the fall and is easily recognized by its colorful, tulip-like leaves. It contains an alkaloid called colchicine, which is harmful to dogs.
Daffodil: Perennial daffodils bloom in late winter or early spring and can be found throughout most of the United States. Although eating any part of this flower can be dangerous to dogs, the bulb is especially toxic.
Foxglove: The high-growing foxglove plant tends to bloom in early summer, dazzling gardeners with its charming purple petals. All parts of this flower are unsafe for dogs.
Lily: A crowd-pleasing choice for flower vases and gardens alike, lilies come in dozens of pretty varieties. However, some types of lilies such as prairie lily, lily of the valley, and calla lily can cause mild or severe symptoms in dogs.
Mums: These colorful plants begin to pop up in fall and are an autumn décor staple. Although the toxins found in mums are natural insect repellents, they can also spell danger for dogs; the entire plant is poisonous and should not be ingested.
Vines Dogs Should Avoid
Clematis: A common vine, the clematis plant contains an irritating glycoside that can cause drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested, according to Pet Poison Helpline. Fortunately, it has a bitter taste that is displeasing to dogs.
Ivy: Most types of ivy are usually mildly toxic to dogs. Varieties such as English ivy and Boston ivy are common in the wild and in home landscapes, so watch out for these plants.
Morning glory: This annual plant is famous for its beautiful flowers, which can come in purple, pink, magenta, or white coloration. Eating large amounts of seeds may cause hallucinations in dogs, according to the ASPCA.
Wisteria: With the ability to grow over 30 feet high, wisterias often get larger than what their landscapers bargain for. Don’t let your dog near these towering plants, as their seeds and pods are toxic.
Trees Dogs Should Avoid
Chinaberry: The hardy chinaberry tree thrives in forests and other open areas. Its berries, bark, flowers, and leaves are all toxic, so keep an eye out for this plant when hiking with your dog.
Fruit Trees: Some trees that grow fruit can pose dangers to dogs, especially because seeds or pits can cause choking hazards or may even be toxic. Stay away from apple, peach, cherry, and plum trees. If your pup craves fruits and vegetables, check out these healthy human foods for dogs.
Golden chain: Technically a member of the pea family, the golden chain tree can be identified by its hanging gold leaves. Unfortunately, the entire plant is toxic to dogs.
Japanese yew: Popular during the holiday season, the evergreen Japanese yew is known for its vibrant red berries. However, they contain toxins that are unsafe for dogs.
Oak: There are hundreds of oak tree species, many of which are commonly found in the United States. Their acorns contain a toxic substance called tannin and may cause internal obstruction if ingested, according to Vets Now.
Shrubs Dogs Should Avoid
Azalea: Common in nature and home gardens, azaleas are popular flowering shrubs frequently found near trees. Eating azalea leaves can pose health risks to dogs ranging from drooling and vomiting to more serious symptoms including seizures and coma, according to Pet Poison Helpline.
Holly: This festive plant is frequently seen during the holiday season and comes in varieties including American holly, Japanese holly, and English holly. Its spiny leaves can cause gastrointestinal injury in dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.
Hydrangea: Known for their colorful flowers, these well-known plants bloom in spring and summer. Hydrangea leaves and flowers are harmful to dogs, especially when eaten in large amounts.
Oleander: The ornamental oleander shrub typically blooms in summer through early fall and is often seen in home landscapes. Its leaves and flowers are toxic to dogs, so be cautious if taking your pup near a friend or neighbor’s home with these decorative plants.
Sago palm: This shrub may look harmless, but it is actually among the most toxic plants for dogs. Every part of the sago palm is poisonous, especially the seedpods.
Plants That Are Safe for Dogs
It’s important to know that consuming any plant material may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset in dogs, according to the ASPCA. However, non-toxic plants aren’t expected to cause any serious problems if consumed. The beloved houseplants and garden plants below are some of the best options for homes with dogs.
African violet: This small houseplant can add some pop to your interior decorating without posing a risk to your dog. Be sure to place your African violets in a partially shady spot.
Areca palm: If you’re looking to give your home a tropical feel, the areca palm is a beautiful and safe choice for dogs! Also known as the butterfly palm, this long-leaf plant grows best with plenty of sunlight.
Baby rubber plant: The baby rubber plant has shiny leaves and makes a nice complement to rooms with indirect light. However, don’t get this confused with the rubber tree, a closely related plant that is toxic to dogs. Make sure you buy the plant with the scientific name Peperomia obtusifolia—NOT Ficus elastica, which refers to the rubber tree.
Baby’s tears: The baby’s tears plant offers lots of lush charm and looks best in a hanging basket. You can also use baby’s tears to cover the soil and discourage your dog from digging, according to The Spruce.
Calathea: Need the perfect dog-friendly plant for a shady spot in your home? Calathea is a gorgeous choice! Just remember to water this dark-green plant every week or two.
Gloxinia: If someone gifts you a gloxinia plant for the holidays, there’s no need to worry about your dog. Give this plant indirect sunlight and plenty of moisture for a stunning appearance.
Mosaic plant: Your Cadet doesn’t need to be kept away from the relaxing mosaic plant. White or pink veins make this plant easily identifiable, and it only needs a little bit of light plus moderate watering to thrive.
Orchid: This flowering plant is one of the most common non-toxic plants for dogs. Give your orchids partial sunlight as you and your pup admire their simple yet elegant beauty.
Ponytail palm: As long as you don’t mind the ponytail palm’s long leaves mesmerizing your furry friend, this dog-friendly plant is a fantastic option. Bright light is sure to help your ponytail palm thrive.
Spider plant: As its name suggests, the spider plant has long leaves that resemble an arachnid’s lanky legs. Don’t confuse this dog-friendly plant for the toxic sago palm, though.
Dog-Friendly Garden Plants
Aster: Many home gardens include perennial, daisy-like asters. Whether you and your dog are relaxing in the yard or taking a walk, these plants will provide some picturesque scenery.
Camellia: If you’re thinking about adding camellias to your garden, place them in an area with some shade and provide occasional watering—and don’t fret if your dog sneaks a bite!
Creeping zinnia: From the moment they pop up, creeping zinnia offer rich orange or yellow flowers that you and your dog will adore. These sunflower-like plants do best with monthly fertilization.
Fuchsia: Interested in dog-friendly plants for hanging baskets? Fuchsias’ colorful blossoms and drooping nature make them ideal for plant containers.
Garden marigold: While garden marigolds are non-toxic to dogs, they can attract bees. Keep an eye out for these insects the next time your dog is trying to smell the flowers!
Houseleek: Easy to grow in many regions, houseleeks are a robust favorite for gardens. Place these plants in the sun and keep them away from any garden plants that may be toxic to dogs.
Magnolia bush: This landscape plant is also one of the most attractive! Magnolia bush flowers come in vibrant colors such as purple, pink, and white. No need to fret the next time you spot one of these beauties in the neighborhood.
Petunia: If you’re planning a summer garden, petunias are pleasant plants that are safe for dogs. Choose from a variety of colors and place your petunias in full sun, providing occasional waterings.
Snapdragon: The snapdragon is a fun, bushy garden plant that’s pleasing to the eyes (and your dog’s eyes, too). Make sure this plant gets about an inch of water per week.
Sunflower: These annual plants are a time-tested favorite. If your dog is attracted to investigating the textured center, you can rest easy!
Keeping Your Dog Safe
Now that you know some of the most common plants that are toxic to dogs, check your home and yard for those that pose a risk and make them as inaccessible as possible. Research any plants you are unsure about and always assume these plants could be dangerous if you are uncertain.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs cannot distinguish safe plants from unsafe plants. That’s why it’s up to you to keep your furry friend safe. If you see your dog trying to eat part of a plant, utter a stern “No” and remove either your pup or the plant from the area. Many dogs will chew plants when they are bored, so offer a long-lasting bully stick or beef hide chew instead to keep them occupied.
You never know when a plant might grab your dog’s attention—especially if you’re walking or hiking. Save our list as a quick go-to guide to help ensure a safe and happy journey!