Be aware of these trees and plants you can find in the forest when you walk your dog

walking dogs in the forest
Walking the dogs in the forest ©Aiter.Romero. Unsplash

Walking your dog is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors together. Whether it’s an energetic dash or a leisurely stroll you want, our amazing woodland and forest areas offer plenty to explore. Dogs are most inquisitive when out walking, digging in the undergrowth and sniffing amongst the leaves.

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There are, however, many trees and plants that can be dangerous and poisonous to your pets. Here we mention some of the most dangerous and toxic species to be aware of when you walk your dog.

Forest and woodland plants that are a hazard for your dog

Rhododendron – Every part of this shrub are toxic if eaten by a dog. The stems, leaves and fabulously coloured blooms all need to be given a wide berth when you walk your dog, to avoid any potential risks.

Foxglove – This stunning flower that produces blossoms like small trumpets, is highly toxic to not only dogs but humans too. Given its Latin name of Digitalis, it contains a powerful component used in cardiac medication.

Autumn Crocus – Although the highest toxicity is found in the bulb, the stem, leaves and flower are also dangerous if eaten. With symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea, kidney and liver damage and a terrible burning sensation in the mouth. Avoid these plants at all cost when walking your dog in the forest.

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Daffodil – Although classed as more of a garden plant, there are varieties of daffodil that grow wild in our woodland areas. Your dog may dig and find a bulb, and probably continue to chew it, thinking it’s a new game. Consuming any part of a daffodil can cause serious stomach problems for your pet, together with a rapid drop in blood pressure.

Daffodils can be dangerous for your dogs
Daffodils©Katherine.McCormack. Unsplash

Trees that are unsafe for your dog to come into contact with

Holly – It’s not just the dark green, spiky leaves, but also the scarlet-red berries that can be poisonous for your dogs. The holly plants contain theobromine and saponins that will cause a nasty stomach ache if munched.

Horse Chestnut – When you are walking in the forest with your dog, during the autumn season, you have most likely come across a “conker” tree – a horse chestnut. Dogs are drawn to the fallen fruits that contain the chemical, saponin. Check your pet if he has trouble breathing, begins to tremble or to stagger. Get him to a Vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Horse Chestnuts are dangerous if eaten by your dog
Horse Chestnut©David.Bruyndonckx. Unsplash

Oak – With very similar dangers and toxins to the horse chestnut tree. Oak leaves and acorns contain a combination of tannic and gallic acid which, may damage the kidneys and liver.

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Yew – Every part of this tree, including the bark and berries are poisonous. If you are taking your dog for a walk in the forest, avoid these deadly shrubs.

If you think your dog has eaten part of a toxic plant or tree

Don’t wait until symptoms develop, or leave things to chance. The sooner you contact your Vet for medical advice and urgent treatment, the more your dog has a chance of surviving.

Read more: What kind of allergies can my dog get in Autumn?


I live in County Durham, in the North East of England, and have been a freelance writer for several years. My hobbies include travelling, gardening and spending time with my grandchildren. I believe that animal lovers are a special group of humans, full of empathy, big-hearted, rather prone to sentimentality and generous of spirit. No matter how few possessions or how little money you have, owning a pet makes you a rich person!