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Which Plants Are Poisonous to Dogs?
Your home is full of dangers for a curious dog.
And it’s not just the obvious ones like bleach, rat poison, antifreeze, pesticides, drain cleaner and so on. It goes without saying that these products should be kept well out of reach in a locked cupboard.
But the risks don’t end there. It’s common knowledge that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but that hardly makes it unique among foods meant for human consumption. You certainly shouldn’t give a dog alcohol, but you might be more surprised that even grapes and avocado can cause serious harm.
Perhaps the most overlooked danger is the plants in your home and garden. They may look benign, but many common plants can make your dog seriously ill. Some can even be fatal.
There are hundreds of plants you need to watch out for, but you’ll find the lowdown on ten of the most common dangerous plants here.
With their distinctive bell-shaped flowers and vertical growing habits, foxgloves have been popular in gardens for centuries.
But they’re highly poisonous to pretty much everything. Ingestion can be fatal for dogs, cats and most other animals. Including humans, so keep your hands off!
You’ll find ivy all over the place – in gardens, parks and suburban walls. You can’t avoid it entirely, but it’s a good idea to remove any you might have in the yard.
And never grow ivy indoors. Potted houseplants are much easier to chew than a vine creeping up a wall.
Daffodils are incredibly popular spring flowers, but they’re also poisonous to dogs.
While the flowers are harmful, the bulbs are a lot worse. The outer layers are full of toxic compounds, and most dogs are more likely to eat a bulb than a flower.
Bright red berries are a classic warning sign, but the needles on yew trees are even more toxic.
The worst thing about yew poisoning is how rapid and unexpected it can be. Rather than a steady progression of worsening symptoms, healthy dogs that have eaten yew can horrifyingly drop dead with almost zero warning.
Like daffodils, tulip flowers are toxic to dogs and the bulbs are significantly worse.
Tulips are only mildly poisonous compared to some of the other plants on this list, but they do contain harmful alkaloids that can still cause serious damage in large quantities.
With curtains of gorgeous purple blooms that can cover entire houses, wisteria has got to be one of the most beautiful plants on Earth.
It also doesn’t taste bad and doesn’t produce any immediate negative effects, so dogs can easily eat large quantities of wisteria before you catch them. But every part of the plant is poisonous (especially the seeds) and ingestion can cause serious gastrointestinal issues and eventual collapse.
Commonly kept as houseplants or naturalized around the base of trees, cyclamens are a feature in thousands of homes, gardens and parks.
But these tough little perennials will cause severe problems if your dog decides to see what they taste like. Cyclamen ingestion has been known to cause convulsions and paralysis.
Native to huge swathes of Eurasia and North America, rhododendrons are an incredibly problematic invasive species in the UK and Ireland. They’re easy to grow and the flowers are beautiful, which led to their cultivation in areas they probably should never have been grown.
And that’s bad news for dogs – every part of the rhododendron is potentially deadly to our furry friends.
Lily of the Valley
Often found in damp, shady patches in woodland and gardens, lily of the valley has a sweet scent that seems to attract some animals.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Lily of the valley berries are the most poisonous part, but you can minimize the risk by cutting back the stems when the berries begin to ripen.
Rather than affecting the gastrointestinal tract like most poisonous plants, sweet peas will instead damage the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
Symptoms include pacing, lethargy and weakness, but your dog might seem fine for the first few days after ingestion, which makes sweet pea poisoning notoriously difficult to diagnose.
What About Cats?
You can find some of the most common plants poisonous to cats here. Some plants that are poisonous to dogs are fine for cats, and some that won’t hurt a dog could be fatal for a cat.
The same goes for rabbits, horses and any other animal, so you should always do some species-specific research before buying a new houseplant.