One particular deciduous species, known as the white cedar, melia azedarach, is poisonous to dogs. It has several other names: the Ceylon cedar, bead tree, Japanese bead tree, China ball tree, paradise tree, Persian lilac, pride-of-India, chinaberry tree and the Texas umbrella tree. By whatever name, dogs can become quite ill after ingesting any part of a white cedar tree and it may even lead to death.
The white cedar contains chemicals known as meliatoxins. Certain parts of the tree are more toxic than others. The berries are the most poisonous but the bark, flowers and leaves contain toxins as well.
Symptoms associated with ingestion of the white cedar tree include excessive salivation, depression, diarrhea and vomiting. Dogs can also exhibit neurological symptoms such as weakness, seizures and even death. Dogs that ingest white cedar tree berries, bark, flowers or leaves should be taken immediately to a veterinarian, even before symptoms are present, for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Always monitor your dog while he is outside if you have white cedar trees in your yard, especially in the fall when berries and leaves begin to drop to the ground. Puppies are usually more curious than older dogs and should be watched closely. Removal of poisonous trees and plants in your yard is the best guard against accidental ingestion.