Plants That Can Make Your Dog Sick

Posted on
August 21, 2020
a beagle sitting beside a houseplant
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You want the best for your dog. You may not realize that this means making sure you protect them from plants that can make them sick. There are a wide array of plants that are on this list. This guide will be sure to give you much needed insight into what plants you should avoid having in and around your house, or to make sure your dog doesn’t come across during a walk. In this article, the following will be covered.

  • Plants that can make your dog sick
  • How to best avoid these plants
  • Steps to take if any of these plants are come across or consumed
closeup of a sago palm
Some plants can make your dog a little sick, while others can cause major problems.

The 10 most common plants that can make your dog sick

Make sure your dog avoids these plants

There are a variety of plants that are poisonous to dogs

  1. Sago palms are a plant that are common to display in your house, but beware. Looking similar to miniature palm trees, they are poisonous to all pets, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver failure, and potentially death. The leaves and bark can harm your dog, but the seeds or ‘nuts’ contain the largest amount of toxins.
  1. Tulips are the next pretty flower that can cause damage to your dog. If your dog chews on the leaves, it could cause an upset stomach. Further, if your dog digs up and chews the freshly planted bulbs, they can cause the most harm because they have the most toxins, leading to an intense upset stomach, depression, and loss of appetite.
  1. Lilies of the valley are popular for their sweet smelling flower and cute look, but are highly poisonous to dogs. A small exposure to any part of the plant can cause heart problems including a change in rhythm or heart rate. Eating a few leaves or bulbs can cause your dog to throw up or lead to low blood pressure, seizure, disorientation, or even coma. So make sure you avoid planting these flowers around your house to prevent these myriad of problems!
  1. Oleander is a common plant grown on the West Coast. Pretty flowers grow on this bush-like plant that can grow up to 12 feet. But don’t be fooled by its beauty--all of the plant is poisonous to dogs. Similar to lily of the valley, oleander contains cardiac glycosides, the substance that causes the change in heart rate or rhythm. Other symptoms are also common including diarrhea, stomach pain, and drooling, and can ultimately be fatal.
  1. Philodendron, a common house plant with its large heart shaped leaves and additional vines, is poisonous to dogs. It contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, a substance that can irritate your dog’s mouth and lips. You may be able to tell if your dog has been in contact with a philodendron if they are pawing at their mouth or drooling and retching. This means that some leaves have been ingested.
  1. Rhododendron, also known as azaleas, are common backyard shrubs that have beautiful blooms in the spring. All parts of the plant contain grayanotoxin. The reaction your dog has to the plant depends on how much has been ingested. While it is rare for a dog to eat a lot of rhododendrons, if they do, it can cause weakness, tremors, and low blood pressure as well as irregular heart rate and rhythm.
  1. Dieffenbachia, also known as Dumb cane, is an indoor plant with lush green leaves with white stripes or spots. It too contains calcium oxalate crystals (like philodendron), so if your dog eats it, they will likely feel their mouth, tongue, and lips burning. The worse side effects are that your dog may drool a lot or vomit, or even have a hard time breathing.
  1. Japanese yews, also known as Buddhist pine or Southern yews, are small hedge-like plants that are common because they look like small pine trees. They have needle-like leaves and small red berries. Unusually enough, the berries aren’t toxic to dogs, but the leaves, seeds, and bark are. Early warning signs your dog has ingested these parts of the plant can include seizures and muscle tremors. Additionally, the plant can cause vomiting, lethargy, and a wobbly gait. Most serious of all is heart and blood pressure changes, which can be life threatening.
  1. Cyclamen are brightly colored flowers that are a common houseplant that last a long time so it is popular in the winter. Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause drooling, vomit, and diarrhea. The roots are especially toxic, as they can cause irregular heart rates and rhythms, leading to possible death.
  1. Autumn crocus is the last common plant that is toxic to your dog. While it blooms in the fall, the leaves and bulbs appear in the spring. Eating even a little bit of the leaves, flowers, or bulbs can cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhea. The toxin colchicine that is in the autumn crocus can have long lasting effects as well. These can include suppressing bone marrow and causing liver failure.
Dog sleeping on a rock in the woods
It’s best to avoid having poisonous plants in and around your house, but making sure your dog doesn’t get to the plants is the next best option.

How to help your dog best avoid these plants

Don’t bring them into the house, and try not to plant them near your house

A complete list of toxic plants for dogs can be found at the ASPCA website. In the meantime, try to avoid the plants as best you can so your dog doesn’t suffer any of the possible ailments. Experts say the best thing to do is to avoid the plants altogether. On the other hand, you may have moved into a house where some of the plants are already planted around the house. If this is the case, use a barrier to prevent your dog from interacting with the plants in question, and keep a close eye on your dog. Sticking to plants to liven up your home that are pet friendly is the best thing to do, including spider plants, violets, and orchids.

A toy dog in the woods looking at the camera
If your dog comes across a poisonous plant, there are a few steps you can take.

Steps to take if any of these plants are come across or consumed

Don’t fret right away, but take precautionary steps

You can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435. They’re available 24 hours, 365 days a year. If you are unsure of what your dog ate, they can guide you and tell you how toxic a plant is and steps you should take. Additionally, go to the emergency room if you think your pet has eaten a poisonous plant.

It is sometimes hard to differentiate a pretty plant from one that is harmful to your dog. Steer clear of those plants on the long list of plants that are poisonous for you pooch, and stick with those that are more pet friendly.

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Posted on
August 21, 2020

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