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Guide to Poisonous Plants

Dogs are notorious for putting their snout where it doesn't belong; they happily sniffle anything that crosses their path. While some things your dog comes across is just gross; others can be dangerous. In fact, there's a lot of vegetation that can be dangerous to pets. Below we have listed the 10 most common, according to the ASPCA Poison Control Center. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reported that 5% of all calls in 2017 were related to pets ingesting toxic plants, making it ninth on their list of the top 10 pet toxins.

While some plants can just give your canine diarrhea, there're others that are extremely poisonous and can cause serious illnesses. On top of that, many poisonous plants are also common house plants, like sago palm plants. One dog treated in an East Texas spent two weeks in an animal hospital after injesting Sago Palm; it took the dog six months for his liver values to return to normal according to Sara Ochoa, DVM.


  1. Sago Palm: The palm sago looks like a tiny palm tree; and can live indoors or outdoors. “Sago palms are toxic to all pets and the symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver failure, and potentially death,” says Laura Stern, DVM, DABVT, director of client programs for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. And while the leaves and bark will harm your pup, “the seeds or ‘nuts’ contain the largest amount of toxins,” she claims.

  2. Tulips: Tulips are spring blooming flowers that are in many gardens because of their bright vibrant colors. If your dog chews on the lance-shaped leaves, he could get an upset stomach. However, most of the toxins are in the newly planted bulb; which can cause an intense stomach aches, depression and loss of appetite.

  3. Lily of the Valley: Lily of the Valley are sweet smelling with little white bell shaped flowers. However, they're very poisonous to dogs. Even a small exposure to any part of the plant can cause heart problems for dogs—changes in heart rate and rhythm, disorientation, seizures and more.

  4. Oleander: Oleander is a bushy shrub with colorful clusters of flowers in yellow, white, pink and red. Every inch of this plant us poisonous to our canine counterparts. Like lily of the valley, oleander also contains cardiac glycosides. Other symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, and drooling. Ingestion of this plant can be fatal.

  5. Philodendrons: Philodendrons have heart shaped leaves growing off their long vines. These popular house plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate your dog’s mouth and lips. If he’s swallowed philodendrons leaves, your pet will probably be pawing at his mouth or even drooling and retching, says Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in New York City.

  6. Autumn Crocus: There're two Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring (Crocus species) and the other in the autumn (Colchicum autumnale). The spring plants are more common. These ingestions can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. These shouldn't be mistaken for Autumn Crocus, part of the Liliaceae family, which contain colchicine. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure. If you’re not sure what plant it is, bring your pet to their veterinarian immediately for care. Signs and symptoms may be seen immediately but also can be delayed for days.

  7. Cyclamen: The roots of this seasonal flowering plant are especially dangerous to pets. If ingested, cyclamen can cause severe vomiting and even death.

  8. Dieffenbachia: Popular in many homes and offices, dieffenbachia can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.

  9. Rhododendron: These are woody evergreens that can be an indoor ornamental plant or grow as large hedges in the yard. These are toxic to both dogs and cats with vomiting occurring before other signs develop. Rhododendrons can cause changes in heart rhythm, heart rate, blood pressure, and neurological problems.

  10. Japanese Yew: The yew is a universal evergreen foundation plant in landscaping. Dogs chewing on sticks during yard clean up is a common type of exposure. All parts of this plant can be extremely toxic except for the berries. The berries generally only cause GI upset, though the rest of the plant has the potential to cause severe heart and neurological problems.

This is only a partial list of poisonous plants. For a more complete list of plants poisonous to cats and dogs, visit the Pet Poison List. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 or your veterinarian for assistance. Accurate and timely identification of the suspected substance is very important. Having the container, package, or label in hand will save valuable time and may save the life of your pet.


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