Poisonous Plants for Pets

Puppy smelling a potted flower

MuddyLove.com Pet Photography

There are many plants in our gardens that should not be eaten and that are potentially poisonous to pets and humans. Take a look at the video from my recent appearance on the CTV News at Noon with Ann Luu and then have a read of the article that follows.

Keep Your Pets Safe in the Garden
We love our gardens and we love our pets but sometimes the two do not mix. There are many common garden plants that are potentially poisonous to cats and dogs. Luckily most pets don’t show much interest in the plants around them. Also, many poisonous plants are unpalatable or taste bad so your pets will often make their own decisions not to eat them. Though there is not much data on the quantities of each plant that would need to be consumed to have a negative impact on your pet, in many cases much more than a nibble would be required.

As a pet owner you don’t need to remove all of these plants from your garden or stay away from parks that contain them. These plants are everywhere. It is important to be aware that some plants can be harmful. Being aware of these potential botanical hazards is just another part of responsible pet ownership.

If your pet shows any of negative symptoms after ingesting an unknown plant, contact your veterinarian. Get a sample of the plant and take a picture for identification.

Tips for Protecting your Pets

  • Don’t allow your pets to eat or chew on plants that you don’t know.
  • Teach pets to stay away from potentially harmful plants if they show interest. Pay particular attention to inquisitive puppies who like to chew things.
  • Put poisonous plants where pets can’t reach them.
  • Use alternatives that are non-toxic.
  • Provide adequate entertainment so that your pets don’t get bored. Toys, bones, walks, and playing with your dogs and cats will help them lead fulfilled lives without feeling the need to get into trouble.
  • Provide alternative plants for animals to eat and play with such as catnip and catmint for cats or access to grass for dogs.
Puppy smelling a potted flower

MuddyLove.com Pet Photography

A List of Plants Potentially Poisonous to Pets

All of the plants listed here have the potential to cause negative effects to your pets if ingested. Keep in mind that some plants might cause mild reactions while others might be more serious due to varying factors: the relative toxicity of the molecules in the plant species, the part of the plant consumed, and the quantity consumed. Some of these plants might have no effect on your pet at all or just cause mild irritation of their mouth or skin while others could lead to more serious physical effects.

  • Achillea – Yarrow

  • Aconitum – Monkshood

  • Allium – Garlic, Onions, Chives (cats)

  • Alocasia – Elephant Ear

  • Arisaema – Cobra Lily, Jack-in-the-Pulpit

  • Azalea – Azalea (Unpalatable but a few leaves can be serious)

  • Brugmansia – Angel’s Trumpet

  • Cannabis sativa – Marijuana

  • Chrysanthemum – Chrysanthemum

  • Citrus – Citrus

  • Clematis – Clematis

  • Colchicum – Autumn Crocus

  • Convallaria majalis – Lily-of-the-valley

  • Crocus – Crocus

  • Cyclamen – Cyclamen (rhizome)

  • Dahlia – Dahlia (mild)

  • Daphne – Daphne

  • Delphinium – Larkspur

  • Dianthus – Carnation, Pinks (mild)

  • Dicentra – Bleeding Heart

  • Digitalis purpurea – Foxglove

  • Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus

  • Gardenia – Gardenia

  • Gladiolus – Gladiola

  • Hedera helix – Ivy

  • Helleborus – Christmas/Lenten rose

  • Hemerocallis – Daylilies (cats only)

  • Hibiscus syriacus – Rose-of-Sharon

  • Hosta – Plantain Lily

  • Humulus lupulus – Hops (dogs only)

  • Hyacinthus – Hyacinth

  • Hydrangea – Hydrangea

  • Ilex – Holly

  • Ipomoea – Morning Glory

  • Iris – Iris

  • Lathyrus latifolius – Perennial Sweet Pea

  • Lilium – Asiatic Lily (cats only)

  • Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower

  • Lupinus – Lupin

  • Malus – Apple (seeds)

  • Nandina domestica – Nandina, Heavenly Bamboo

  • Narcissus – Daffodils (bulbs)

  • Paeonia– Peony

  • Pelargonium – Annual Geranium

  • Pieris japonica – Lily-of-the-Valley Bush

  • Primula – Primrose (mild)

  • Rheum Rhabarbarum – Rhubarb

  • Rhododendron – Rhododendron (Unpalatable but a few leaves can be serious)

  • Ricinus communis – Castor Bean

  • Skimmia japonica – Japanese Skimmia

  • Solanum spp. – Tomato, Potato

  • Taxus – Yew

  • Tulipa – Tulips (bulbs)

  • Zantedeschia – Calla Lily

As you can see, there are many common plants in gardens that should not be eaten by pets (or humans, for that matter). But to put it in perspective, when was the last time your dog chowed down on your Daphne or your cat went crazy for your Crocus ? They prefer maple bacon and bowls of milk. Overall the risk that your pet would ingest a poisonous plant is very small. So don’t fret. Just be aware.