There’s nothing better than a walk in the great outdoors, without worrying about plants that might ruin the day!
Nature has the ability to make your pet extremely ill through plants so it’s essential you know what plants to be wary about when you’re out and about. So while this list is by no means exhaustive, we’ve put together a list of the most common poisonous plants for dogs in the UK. It's impossible to avoid them completely, but you can try and keep your dog away from danger.
Daffodils in full bloom are beautiful to look at. These yellow trumpets filling borders and meadows look pretty, and out in the fields aren’t likely to cause much of an issue - unless your dog is a digger and finds some of the bulbs! Many owners plant daffodils in their gardens, or have indoor potted versions of the British flower. But did you know the bulbs can be toxic to dogs? Daffodil bulbs contain lycorine; an alkaloid which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tachycardia (a fast heart rate) and abnormal breathing.
Keep your canine pal away from your daffodil bulbs, and don’t let them dig where these beauties are growing!
Philodendrons are a house plant found in different forms in trendy coffee shops and houses. There are lots of varieties of the philodendron, and they don’t all look the same. Most meals are smooth and shiny, but can come in lots of different colours and shapes. If you’re a house plant hobbyist these aren’t plants to stock in your collection. These might look great on a shelf or a wall, but if ingested they can cause irritation to the oral cavity and face. Your dog might drool, foam at the mouth, cough or wretch. If you can’t live without your house plants, keep them well out of reach of your dog - or choose a pet-friendly plant.
Laburnum (and related species)
Often known as the golden chain tree, the laburnum plant is extremely poisonous to dogs. The flowering vines are chockablock with quinolizidine alkaloids and merely chewing off some bark or a twig can cause your dog to fall ill. It’s not hard to spot a laburnum tree - despite their poisonous nature, they’re undeniably beautiful. Keep an eye out for an ornate, vibrant tree with wisteria-like, yellow flowers dropping off every branch - then keep your pooch away!
Signs of laburnum poisoning include vomiting, drowsiness or lethargy, ataxia or difficult walking and a loss of coordination, a bluish tinge to skin, rapid breathing and an increase in thirst.
Most cat owners are aware of the dangers of lilies. But what about dogs? Household lilies, found in bouquets aren’t going to bother your pet, but the little white flowers found around British countryside called the Lily of the Valley - can.
These tiny white plants contain cardiac glycosides, these toxins can cause cardiac dysrhythmias and a drop in heart rate as well as vomiting and diarrhoea.
The azalea is a flowering shrub found commonly in UK gardens, but many gardeners don’t realise how dangerous this plant can be. These plants can cause vomiting or nausea, diarrhoea, depression difficulty breathing and coma symptoms, and if eaten in large enough quantities - can even kill your pet.
Oh, the foxglove - you can’t get a prettier flower! But these plants contain deadly chemicals called cardiac glycosides, which can disrupt the electrical activity of the heart. No matter how appealing it may be to the eye, this trumpet-like blossom has the potential to kill your dog. Therefore, you’ve got foxgloves in your garden and have a pet, we’d recommend getting rid. Symptoms of ingestion include drooling, vomiting, tachycardia, weakness, collapse and seizures.
‘Poison’ ivy may just be the most well-known of poisonous plants for dogs. Despite its bad reputation, the effect it has on dogs isn’t as serious as other poisonous plants. Ivy contains a naturally-occurring steroid known as sapogenin which can cause skin irritation and allergies when swallowed.
The reaction to ivy in dogs is normally mild, but in severe cases, gastrointestinal distress can occur. Common symptoms of contact or ingestion include blistering, redness, itching and swelling of the skin, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, appetite reduction and nausea or vomiting.
Other poisonous plants for dogs to be aware of:
- Asparagus fern
- Box hedging
- Cherry laurel
- Grape plant
- Green seed potatoes
- Nerium oleander
- Privet hedge
- Tomato plant
- Yew tree
These plants can be found in houses, gardens and in the wild.
What to do if you suspect has eaten a poisonous plant
No matter how careful you are, accidents happen. If you think your dog has eaten or chewed at a poisonous plant, it’s important to act quickly.
Even if your pooch isn’t showing symptoms, we’d advise calling or visiting your vet at the earliest opportunity. If you do find your pooch is showing symptoms of poisoning, you should contact your vet as an emergency, no matter what time of day or night.
Never attempt to treat your dog at home. You may do more harm than good. Even mild skin irritations should be checked by a professional. Never watch and wait, if you think your pet might have been poisoned, speak to your vet immediately.
Now you know the most common poisonous plants for dogs in the UK, you can keep an eye out and keep your dog as safe as possible.