Poisonous Plants and dogs

Eating plants and vegetation is not a common cause of poisoning in dogs, but it does occur. Puppies going through the chewing stage are more likely to ingest indoor and outdoor plants. In adult dogs, chewing on plants may be a sign of boredom or frustration associated with separation anxiety or a recent change in the household routine. The variety of potentially poisonous plants and shrubs allows for a wide range of symptoms. Signs include mouth irritation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, rapid labored breathing, staggering, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and death. Some plants cause sud- den death without premonitory signs. Other plants contain chemicals that are extremely irritating to the skin. Milkweed, lily-of-the-valley, laurel, azalea, foxglove, and oleander all contain cardiac glycosides of the digitalis class. Even though these plants have a bitter taste, pets do sometimes eat enough to cause death. Ornamental plants of the nightshade family, including Chinese lantern, Christmas cherry, and ornamental pepper, contain solanines that are toxic to the gastrointestinal system and brain. They, too, are a rare cause of death. If you’re not sure about a plant, ask your veterinarian or the local plant nursery. The ASPCA also has a list of poisonous plants on its website (www.aspca.org). Your local Cooperative Extension is often a good source of information about poisonous plants. Note that with some plants, only certain parts are toxic. With others, the whole plant is poisonous.

Treatment: If you suspect your dog has ingested a poisonous plant, induce vomiting and call your veterinarian for further instructions.

Prevention: To prevent houseplant poisoning, determine which plants are toxic and either dispose of them or keep them in a place the dog is unable to reach. Outside, be careful of any sticks you throw for your dog that he may chew on. Fence off dangerous plants so your dog can’t reach them.

Indoor Plants with Toxic Effects on dogs

Houseplants that cause a skin reaction after contact with the skin or mouth

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Poinsettia
  • Creeping fig
  • Weeping fig


Irritating plants, some of which contain oxalic acid, which causes mouth swelling, difficulty swallowing, respiratory problems, and gastrointestinal upsets:

  • Arrowhead vine
  • Boston ivy
  • Caladium
  • Calla or arum lily
  • Dumbcane (diffenbachia)
  • Elephant’s ear
  • Emerald duke
  • Heart leaf (philodendron)
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Majesty
  • Malanga
  • Marble queen Mother-in-law plant
  • Neththyis
  • Parlor ivy
  • Pothos or devil’s lily
  • Peace lily
  • Red princess
  • Saddle leaf (philodendron)
  • Split leaf (philodendron)
  • Tuberous begonia


Plants that contain a wide variety of poisons – most cause vomiting, an acutely painful abdomen, and cramps; some cause tremors, heart and respiratory and/or kidney problems, which are difficult for owners to interpret:

  • Amaryllis
  • Asparagus fern
  • Azalea
  • Bird-of-paradise
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Crown of thorns
  • Elephant’s ear
  • Ivy species
  • Jerusalem cherry
  • Nightshade
  • Pot mum
  • Ripple ivy
  • Spider mum
  • Sprangeri fern
  • Umbrella plant


Outdoor Plants with Toxic Effects on dogs

Outdoor plants that can cause vomiting and diarrhea

  • Bittersweet woody
  • Castor bean
  • Daffodil
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Ground cherry
  • Indian turnip
  • Indian tobacco
  • Larkspur woody
  • Poke weed
  • Skunk cabbage
  • Soapberry Wisteria


Trees and shrubs that may cause vomiting, painful abdomen, and diarrhea:

  • American yew
  • Apricot
  • Almond
  • Azalea (rhododendron)
  • Balsam pear
  • Bird-of-paradise bush
  • Buckeye
  • Cherry
  • English holly
  • English yew
  • Horse chestnut
  • Japanese plum
  • Mock orange
  • Monkey pod
  • Peach
  • Privet
  • Rain tree
  • Western black locust yew
  • Wild cherry


Outdoor plants with varied toxic effects:

  • Angel’s trumpet
  • Buttercup
  • Dologeton
  • Dutchman’s breeches
  • Jasmine
  • Jimsonweed
  • Locoweed
  • Lupine
  • May apple
  • Matrimony vine
  • Mescal bean
  • Moonseed
  • Mushrooms
  • Nightshade
  • Pigweed
  • Poison hemlock
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Sunburned potato
  • Tomato vine
  • Water hemlock



  • Locoweed
  • Marijuana
  • Morning glory
  • Poppy


Outdoor plants that cause convulsions:

  • Chinaberry
  • Coriaria
  • Moonweed
  • Nux vomica
  • Water hemlock