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Poisonous plants for dogs

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Walking the dog is one of the best times of the day! Quality time with your pooch in the wonderful, wild countryside - true bliss! We’ve compiled a list of poisonous plants for dogs in the UK, so you can enjoy bonding time without worry. There’s nothing better than the great outdoors... well, until poisonous plants ruin all the fun!

By Alice Lang

Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:28

With the ability to make your pup extremely ill or worse, kill them, it’s essential you know what plants to be wary about for 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 at least you can keep your pooch well away should you come across them.


poisonous plants for dogs
Pretty... but poisonous!© Dei R. on Unsplash

Symptoms: Excessive drooling, sudden vomiting, diarrhoea, fast heart rate, abnormal breathing.

One of the prettiest times of the year has got to be when the beautiful national flower of Wales, the daffodil, fills our borders, meadows and vases. Yes, this lovely yellow bloom looks pretty - but you’ll need to keep it out your house and garden if you have a pet dog.

The bulbs are the most dangerous part of the plant, containing crystals which lead to tissue irritation and drooling. Daffodils also contain lycorine, a dangerous alkaloid which triggers vomiting in dogs. So even if you love this vibrant yellow flower, it’s best to admire it from afar to protect your canine bestie.


poisonous plants for dogs
Philodendrons are very trendy... but they could make your pup poorly!©Olena S on Unsplash

Symptoms: Pawing at the face, drooling excessively, foaming at the mouth, coughing, inability to swallow.

You’ll often see the philodendron climbing the walls of coffee shops and houses, sporting smooth, shiny leaves. Although it might jazz up and decorate your walls, it’s a no-go for those with dogs. The plant is full of philodendron and sharp crystals which cause severe pain when swallowed.

Laburnum (and related species)

Symptoms: Vomiting, drowsiness, difficulty walking, lack of coordination, bluish skin, fatigue, rapid breathing, increase in thirst.

Often known as the golden chain tree, the laburnum plant is extremely poisonous to dogs. The flowering vines are chockablock with quinolizidine alkaloids - which dogs just don’t agree with. 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!


poisonous plants for dogs
The pollen of the lily is poisonous to cats AND dogs©Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Symptoms: Upset stomach, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, vomiting.

While lilies tend to be more toxic to cats than dogs, the consumption of the plant by a dog is far from a good thing. It’s the lily’s pollen which causes it to be toxic to pets.

Gastrointestinal upset and vomiting can occur within just a few hours of eating the plant, so although the lily plant poisoning isn’t fatal to dogs, it’s best to be on the safe side and pick alternative blooms to grace your flower vase.


poisonous plants for dogs
Blooming gorgeous!©Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, loss of appetite, lethargy, excessive drooling, difficulty walking, coma.

The azalea is a pretty yet powerful flowering shrub, commonly found adorning gardens in the UK. However, most people don't actually realise how dangerous this vibrant plant is to dogs and other pets.

Containing cardiovascular toxins which have the ability to weaken a dog’s heartbeat to the point of coma and even death, having an azalea in your house just isn’t worth the risk.

Castor oil bush

Symptoms: Severe abdominal pain, bloody stools, dehydration, excessive drooling, increase body temperature, sudden collapse, vomiting, weakness.

In terms of poisonous plants for dogs, the castor oil bush is particularly nasty. In fact, castor bean poisoning in dogs can be fatal. Containing ricin, one of the powerful toxins in the wild, the beans of the plant are highly poisonous to both dogs and cats. However, it’s not just castor beans to worry about - poison is present in all parts of the plant, so keep your pooch away.

Wondering what the castor oil bush actually looks like? It’s found all over Europe, with vibrant red and green leaves which sprout red and yellow flowers.


poisonous plants for dogs
How would have thought something so pretty could be poisonous to dogs?!©Slawek K on Unsplash

Symptoms: Drooling, vomiting, increased heart rate, palpitations, weakness, collapse, shaking, seizures.

Oh, the foxglove - you can’t get a prettier flower! But these purple beauties contain deadly chemicals called cardiac glycosides, which disrupt the electrolyte balance in the heart muscles. It’s actually used in human medicines - it can cure heart problems incorrect doses, but kill if administered over the correct dose.

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.


poisonous plants for dogs
'Poison' ivy isn't as poisonous as you may think!©Sugar Bee on Unsplash

Symptoms: Blistering, redness, itching, swelling, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting.

‘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.

Other poisonous plants for dogs to be aware of:

  • Asparagus fern
  • Begonia
  • Box hedging
  • Cherry laurel
  • Clematis
  • Daisy
  • Dahlia
  • Delphinium
  • Elderberry
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fern
  • Geranium
  • Grape plant
  • Green seed potatoes
  • Hydrangea
  • Lobelia
  • Lupin
  • Marigold
  • Nerium oleander
  • Peony
  • Poppy
  • Privet hedge
  • Tomato plant
  • Verbena
  • Wisteria
  • Yew tree

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 exhibiting symptoms, we’d advise calling or visiting your vet at the earliest opportunity. If you do find your pooch is exhibiting symptoms of poisoning, you should drive to the emergency vets immediately - no matter what time of day or night.

Never attempt to treat your dog at home, make your dog vomit, or use salt water. It’s too risky - you’re likely to end up doing more harm than good. However, if your dog is only suffering from skin irritation, you can try washing them with a mild dog shampoo and water.

Overall, our most important piece of advice is to never ‘watch and wait’. If you think your pooch might have been poisoned, get to the vet immediately and follow their advice.

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.

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