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Health & Wellness

Poisonous house and yard plants that aren't safe for dogs

Keep your precious pup safe from harm’s way.

Curious canines have their hearts set on exploring just about anything they can get their paws on. And while we love them for their adventurous spirit, dog parents should exercise caution as to what plants they choose to keep around their inquisitive pups. 

We spoke to Jamie Freyer, a veterinarian expert at Veterinarians.org, and Michelle Burch, a veterinarian at Paramount Pet Health, to learn more about the types of houseplants that are poisonous to dogs.  

Common yard and house plants poisonous to dogs

“Many of the plants that make yards beautiful are not healthy for our pets to eat,” Freyer begins. “As a veterinarian, I considered each plant carefully before planting.”

Freyer notes that many common plants such as dahlias, chamomile, chrysanthemums and calla lilies can cause contact dermatitis and painful sores on dogs’ skin and mucous membranes. Contact dermatitis is a skin condition dogs can develop from certain substances that damage the skin — if your dog is itching and scratching an awful lot, you should take them to a veterinarian.

Other plants like daffodils, bluebells, hydrangea, gladiola, baby’s breath and aloe can cause gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhea, Freyer continues. This includes fruit-bearing trees that produce fruits like cherries, peaches and apples, whose aroma and flavor are appealing to dogs despite the toxic properties of their seeds. 

“One cup of apple seeds can be toxic to an adult human, so it can take very little to affect a small dog or other small pet,” Freyer warns.  

Loving owners may even be surprised to learn that other common foods can also be toxic to dogs including avocados and tomatoes. Freyer says that while the ripened tomato fruit is not harmful, “the foliage can be quite toxic and can cause gastrointestinal upset and depression of the central nervous system.”

RELATED: Reverse sneezing in dogs

Top poisonous plants for dogs

Other plants to be wary of include lilies, oleander, milkweed and the needles of the yew tree. These plants can cause death if ingested in large enough amounts.  

Burch provided us with a brief overview of several plants that are toxic to dogs: 

  • Sago palms
  • Oleander
  • Autumn crocus
  • Foxglove
  • Lily of the valley
  • Rhododendrons (“The leaves of the rhododendron plant are most toxic to dogs, but the flowers and nectar can also contain harmful components,” Burch notes.) 

Although we touched on several plants you should keep away from your dog, we haven’t covered all of them — so make sure to always ask your vet and do research before bringing a plant into or planting one outside of your home. 

And, if you suspect that your pup has gotten into a dangerous plant, don’t wait to see if they develop symptoms before taking action, as this can delay necessary treatment. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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