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Plants & Flowers That Are Poisonous to Dogs

aloe vera image by Magdalena Mirowicz from

More than 700 flowering plants, trees and shrubs are known to have toxic effects on dogs, according to the Humane Society of the U.S. Poisoning symptoms can range from mild to severe but include difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, drooling, diarrhea, balance problems and panting. With effects ranging from gastrointestinal distress to death, dog owners should use caution in deciding what plants to include in landscaped outdoor areas and as ornamental decorations inside the house.

Dangerous Fruit Trees

Although it's safe to feed your dog many of the same fruits you enjoy, some fruiting plants have parts that are toxic to dogs and their fruits should never make it to the dog dish. These toxic fruit trees and plants include avocado, grapes, apple seeds, apricot stems, leaves and seeds, citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit, cherries and figs.

Toxic Outdoor Flowering Plants

Common plants that grow around North America that have poisonous flowers to dogs include azaleas and rhododendrons, daffodils, oleander, tulip, day lily, wisteria, clematic crocus bulb and bird-of-paradise. If these plants are already in your landscaping, you can make a safer environment for your dog by replacing them with dog-safe flowering plants, such as snapdragons, zinnia, nasturtium, begonia and columbine.

Naturally Occurring Poisonous Plants

Many of nature's most commonly occurring plants can be toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities. These plants range from region to region but commonly include English ivy, morning glory, nightshade, azalea, chokecherries, buttercup, foxglove, horse nettle and woody aster. Use care when playing, hiking or walking in open space areas, and if you have these plants in your yard, before using chemicals and creating a toxic environment for your pet, try natural elimination methods first, such as hand-pulling and hoeing.

Toxic Plants Found Inside the House

Seemingly harmless houseplants that sit on shelves and hang in sunny areas can also be harmful, should your dog attempt to dissect them. These include Norfolk Island pine, aloe vera, caladium and mistletoe. Some plants only have poisonous flowers, and other are toxic if your dog eats the whole plant. Instead of taking a chance on any of them, eliminate them altogether and replace them with ornamental alternatives such as African violets, camellia, star lily or even the carnivorous Venus fly trap.

Posionous Garden Plants

Dogs can eat most vegetables if they are lightly steamed, grated or pureed, but some should never be eaten straight out of the ground because of their toxic nature. These include garlic, rhubarb, potato, tomato, eggplant and onion. Protect your dog from poisonous vegetable garden plants by keeping your garden securely fenced. Motion sensor sprinkler systems can also act as a deterrent.

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