So many people are dog lovers but many owners don’t know when one of their plants is dangerous for their furry friend. Keeping an eye on this toxic list of plants will save you time and money and it will also keep your adorable pooch happy! It is good to know how these toxic plants affect your pet in case you have a run-in with a plant in your very own backyard or on a walk. You will be able to identify the issue and understand if it will resolve on its own or if you need to head to the vet. I know that it gives me peace of mind when I know to stay clear of an area if I identify a toxic plant that may harm my pet. Many plants are not fatal but there are a couple that causes serious complications for all dog breeds and will require immediate medical attention.
I have included a list of some of the most common households plants as well as a couple of plants that you may plant in your backyard to keep out of reach of your dog(s).
List of Toxic Plants
1) Alocasia (a·luh·kay·zhuh)
- Scientific name: Alocasia spp.
- Family: Araceae
- Common name: Alocasia spp also known as Elephant’s Ear
- Toxic part of the plant: Entire plant due to the insoluble calcium oxalates found in the flesh of the plant.
It sucks right? This is a gorgeous plant and is very popular in nurseries right now. Very on-trend because of the unique look of the plant’s leaves. Unfortunately, the entire Araceae family is toxic to dogs. It contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in the tissue of the plant that will cause oral irritation, pain and swelling in the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. Dogs are known to paw at their face as well if they come in contact with this plant because of the irritation they will feel in their facial area. Exquisite plant but better to keep it outside if you have dogs at home that are curious like mine are!
2) Apple Tree (a·pl tree)
- Scientific name: Malus Sylvestrus
- Family: Rosaceae
- Common name: Apple tree, crabapple
- Toxic part of plant: stems, leaves and seeds
Who knew that apple trees could be toxic to your furry friend. I absolutely did not. I think having an apple tree in your backyard would be wonderful but it seems not because there is actually cyanide in parts of the plant. It is common knowledge that there is cyanide in apple seeds but did you know that there is also cyanide in the stems and leaves as well? The leaves are especially dangerous during the wilting phase when they drop from the trees and begin to decompose. If ingested, it can cause “brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, and shock.” (Apple)
3) Apricot Tree (a·pruh·kaat tree)
- Scientific name: Prunus Armeniaca
- Family: Rosaceae
- Common name: Apricot tree
- Toxic part of plant: Stems, leaves, and seeds
Who knew that apricot trees also contain cyanide throughout the plant? The dangerous chemical can mainly be found in the stems, leaves, and seeds. Much like apple trees, the leaves become more dangerous during the decomposition process. It might be a more dangerous plant to have around your dog considering they may be interested in the fruit. Sometimes dogs just like to put everything in their mouths!
4) Arum Lilly (eh·ruhm li·lee)
- Scientific name: Zantedeschia Aethiopica
- Family: Araceae
- Common name: Calla lilly. Pig Lilly, White Arum Lilly
- Toxic part of plant: Juices of plant that contain insoluable calcium oxilates
Most pet owners know that the Lilly family is one of the deadliest plants to have in the household. This plant is also commonly planted in flower beds because of its large, gorgeous blooms. Think twice if you have dogs because the juices of the plant contain insoluble calcium oxalates that can cause mouth irritation, vomiting as well as difficulty breathing.
5) Azalea (uh·zay·lee·uh)
- Scientific name:Rhododendron spp.
- Family: Ericaceae
- Common name: Rosebay, rhododendron
- Toxic part of plant: Grayantoxin
I have grown up around this plant for most of my life. Many people grew it because they loved the flowers that it produced. Unfortunately, this is also a no-go for dog owners because this is quite a dangerous plant if dogs come in contact with it! The toxin causes diarrhea, vomiting, body weakness as well as cardiac failure in dogs which is absolutely terrifying. Keep an eye out for this one!
6) Begonia (buh·gow·nyuh)
- Scientific name: Begonia spp.
- Family: Begoniaceae
- Common name: Extremely wide range of species (over a thousand!) with 10,000 hybrids. AKA too many to list in this post.
- Toxic part of the plant: Soluble calcium oxalates in the plant’s juices and sap.
The begonia plant, scientific name Begonia spp. is part of the Begoniaceae family and is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses according to the ASPCA. It is toxic due to the soluble calcium oxalates that can be found within the flesh of the plant. It can cause vomiting, and salivation in dogs since they cannot process calcium. They most likely will experience burning in the mouth from the needle-like microscopic crystals entering their system. The entire plant is moderately toxic but the roots are considered highly toxic.
7) Bird of Paradise (burd uhv peh·ruh·dise)
- Scientific name: Strelitzia reginae
- Common name: Crane Flower, Bird’s Tongue Flower
- Toxic part of the plant: The most toxic areas of the Bird of Paradise are the flowers but it is also dependant on the species since other varieties are more toxic than the Strelitzia reginae.
- Family: Bird of paradise
One of my absolute favorite plants to admire and grow! Unfortunately, the flowers are the most toxic part of the plant! It can cause mild nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness in dogs. It is also known as the crane flower and birds tongue flower. This type of bird of paradise should not be confused with other strains such as Caesalpinia or Poinciana Gilliesii which are also known as Birds of Paradise plants but are much more toxic to your furry friends. Make sure you read those labels at nursery stores and if you aren’t sure about the strain of plants, make sure to ask!
8) Black Cherry Tree (blak cheh·ree tree)
- Scientific name: Prunus Serotina
- Family: Rosaceae
- Common name: Black cherry tree
- Toxic part of plant: Stems, leaves and seeds
Seems innocent enough right? Not so fast! The black cherry tree is actually quite dangerous for your canine friend. Cyanogenic glycosides ( also known as cyanide) can be found in many species of the plant. The toxic chemical can cause panting, shock, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, and dilated pupils. Like many other stone fruits, they contain cyanide throughout the plant. Keep this in mind if you would like to plant a fruit tree in your backyard.
9) Branching Ivy (bran·chuhng ai·vee)
- Scientific name: Hedera helix
- Family: Araliaceae
- Common name: English Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, California Ivy
- Toxic part of the plant: The leaves of the plant are known to be toxic to both animals and humans. The leaves can cause an allergic skin reaction if touched.
Something straight out of a fairy tale, is it not? So delicate with cute little green heart-shaped leaves with white veins. It is a fast-growing indoors as well which might be nice for newly seasoned gardeners that like to see a quick payoff from their plants. Don’t be naive though because it looks innocent but it is not! Also known as English Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, and California Ivy, this plant is part of the Araliaceae family and is toxic to dogs, cats as well as horses. The part of the plant that is toxic is called the triterpenoid “(defensive compounds against pathogenic microbes and herbivores)” (Sawai and Saito Triterpenoid biosynthesis and engineering in plants) and it can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and diarrhea. It should be noted that the berries that the plant produces are not as toxic as the foliage itself.
10) Caladium (kuh·lay·dee·uhm)
- Scientific name: Caladium Hortulanum
- Family: Araceae
- Common name: Malanga, Elephant Ears, Stoplight plant, Mother in law plant
- Toxic part of plant: Insoluable Calcium Oxolates
Like many other tropical house plants, Caladium’s contain insoluble calcium oxalates in the juices of the plant. If ingested it can cause mouth irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and diarrhea in dogs.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post and make sure to check back as I will be updated this list often with more plants to be aware of. I am hoping this will keep your dogo happy and healthy!
Apple. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/apple. Caladium. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/caladium. Alocasia. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/alocasia. Apricot. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/apricot. Arum Lily. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/arum-lily. Azalea. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/azalea. Begonia. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/begonia. Bird of PARADISE FLOWER. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/bird-paradise-flower. Black cherry. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/black-cherry. Branching ivy. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/branching-ivy. Caladium. ASPCA. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/caladium.