Plants toxic to dogs

August 14th, 2014

Enjoy the look of lilies in a vase or azaleas on your kitchen windowsill? Be careful, these and many others are plants toxic to dogs. Kylie Baracz reports

Our pets have easy access to a variety of plants around our homes and gardens, but fortunately few plants are actually toxic.

According to Dr Andrew Kapsis, head veterinarian at inpatients at Lort Smith Animal Hospital, the most frequently reported plants causing serious toxicity in pets include the lily, azalea, daffodil, oleander, sago palm (cycad) and kalanchoe.

“While lilies are extremely poisonous, causing renal failure in cats, it is unknown whether the toxin in this plant is poisonous to dogs,” says Dr Kapsis.

When checking your garden for noxious plants, don’t forget about your veggie garden — onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and grapes/raisins are also poisonous to our pets.

“It is important to know that any part of the plant is potentially toxic, eg stem, leaves, pollen, fruit, and roots,” says Dr Kapsis. “Also, wandering jew is a common weed in gardens and is notorious for causing contact allergic skin reactions in dogs.”

Treating toxic plant exposure

If you feel that your pet may have had a taste of one of the toxic plants mentioned above, make sure you monitor them for signs of exposure, says Dr Kapsis.

“Most plant exposures in dogs result in mild non-specific signs, which include vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation, inappetence [loss of appetite] and lethargy,” he says. “However, some garden and household plants cause serious signs or death when just a small amount of the plant is ingested.”

These serious signs include damage to the:

• liver

• kidney

• heart

• central nervous system.

If your dog shows any of these signs, it is best to take him straight to your local vet.

“Animals that have ingested a toxic plant require urgent veterinary treatment. Treatment is supportive, as there a few antidotes available for plant toxicities,” says Dr Kapsis.

What plants are safe?

Many plants are in fact safe around pets, according to Dr Kapsis.

“Nurseries will often tell us how to water and how much sunshine a plant needs, but rarely tell us if the plant is pet-safe,” he says.

To find out which plants are safe, visit the ASPCA website, which features an excellent reference list


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One Response to Plants toxic to dogs

  1. Tayla Neil says:

    We had a new dog move into our street a while back and for a long time he and our Labradoodle Tahchee wrestled on our lawn and in the garden. After a few weeks his owners started noticing him itching himself a lot and a while after that we found many many small red dots all over his stomach. We thought that he could be allergic to the grass so we stopped them from wrestling on the grass but were fine with them wrestling in the garden. He got a hydro bath and the lady washing him told us that the little red dots all over his stomach had spread onto his back. After that they decided it was time for the vet. They came back with medication for him and told us to stop the wrestling altogether. The dots on his back calmed down but the dots on his stomach didn’t make any progress in disappearing. We were talking about the spots with another one of our friends and she immediately asked us if we had any Green and Purple plants in our garden. We had the exact plant she was talking about. It turned out that the plant we had was a Rhoeo Dwarf-Moses in the garden and the specific name, Rhoeo Spathacea Nana and it is a very popular plant in Australia. The wrestling in the garden cause him to get all the spots on his back and the reason it didn’t go away was because he was so short, every time he peed on the garden his stomach would rub on the plant. We ended up removing the plant and his itchy little spots soon disappeared and him and Tahchee got back to wrestling right away.