Lush green gardens and brightly colored flowers are the hallmarks of spring. Gardeners exercise their green thumbs and coax botanical masterpieces from the warm earth while birds and butterflies flourish in the lovely landscape. Yet some plants and shrubs can pose a danger to domestic pets. Plants that are toxic to dogs can vary from mildly irritating to deadly.
Symptoms of Plant Poisoning in Dogs
A dog that has chewed on or ingested parts of a plant that he shouldn’t have may experience the following symptoms.
- Irritation or swelling around the mouth
- Excessive thirst
- Breathing difficulties
- Coma or death
Common Garden Plants Dangerous to Dogs
While choosing plants for the yard, dog owners will want to avoid those that can make dogs sick. Below is a partial list of garden plants that may irritate dogs.
- Aloe Vera
- Autumn Crocus
- Castor Bean
- Japanese Yew
- Jerusalem Cherry
- Lily of the Valley
- Morning Glory
- Precatory Beans
- Trumpet Vine
Common Houseplants Dangerous to Dogs
Plants make a home beautiful but dog owners will want to keep their pet’s safety in mind and avoid the plants listed below.
- Aloe Vera
- Chinese Evergreen
- Corn Plant
- Norfolk Pine
- Peace Lily
- Mother in Law’s Tongue
- Sago Palm
The lists above are only partial lists and not all-inclusive. Also, note that plants considered safe for dogs may not be safe for other types of pets and that plants safe for other pets may not be safe for dogs. To check for the safety of a specific pet concerning a specific plant, visit ASPCA Toxic and Nontoxic Plants.
Other Gardening Hazards and Alternatives
Chemical insecticides can be toxic to dogs. Be sure to read all labels carefully. If the insect problem is not serious, commercial insecticidal soaps are available with less toxicity than chemical insecticides. Alternatively, a homemade solution of one teaspoon of dish soap mixed with a gallon of water and sprayed onto plants may do the trick as well.
Old fashioned yard and kitchen waste compost may serve as a better and safer fertilizer than chemical products.
Care must be taken when applying herbicides. Read all labeling carefully and follow directions concerning pets. Toxicity levels are generally reduced after application.
Keep all pest and rodent baits, as well as citronella candles and cocoa bean mulch securely out of reach of pets.
What to Do When a Pet is Poisoned
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is staffed by 30 veterinarians who have access to a veterinary medical database system of more than one million animal exposure case histories.
Pet owners who suspect a pet has been exposed to a toxic substance should immediately call a veterinarian or the ASPCA 24 hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435. The call is free but a consultation fee may be charged to a credit card.
Collect in a plastic bag anything the pet has vomited or chewed. Information such as animal’s species, breed, age, gender, weight, symptoms, substance ingredients or packaging, the amount involved, and time that has lapsed will be helpful.