The effects of poisonous plants on canine health

Written by heidi toth
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The effects of poisonous plants on canine health
(Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Eating greens can be as good as your dog as it is for you, but you have to make sure your canine is getting the right plants. Many plants, including common houseplants and outdoor plants, can be toxic to dogs; effects can include anything from rashes or irritation to nausea to serious internal injury or even death.


Poisoning symptoms are often similar in dogs as they are in people. They include vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness or loss of appetite. Other common symptoms include seizures and a lack of coordination. These symptoms do not always point to poisoning; a dog throwing up once generally doesn't mean the dog has been poisoned. Also, not having these symptoms but showing other irritants could indicate poisoning, as different plants affect a dog's health differently. The key is to knowing when your dog is acting strangely.

Most poisonous plants are not fatal to dogs, unless a large amount is ingested and it does not get help in time.

The effects of poisonous plants on canine health
Many common plants can be hazardous to a dog's health. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Indoor Plants

The specific symptoms depend on the plant your dog has ingested. The following cause a rash of the mouth and skin: chrysanthemum leaves, creeping fig, weeping fig sap, crown of thorns, cypress spurge, poinsettia leaves and snow-on-the-mountain leaves. Others cause your dog's mouth, lips or tongue to be swollen and irritated: arrowhead vine, Boston Ivy berries, caladium, calla lilly, Dieffenbachia leaves and berries, elephant ears, Nephthytis Ivy, peace lily, Marble Queen pothos, red princess, split leaf philodendron, star leaf, tuberous begonia or wax begonia and turf root. Many of these, as well as numerous others that you might never have considered to be toxic, can cause vomiting, tremors, and heart, lung or kidney problems in dogs. These include: amaryllis, asparagus fern, azalea, caladium, Chinese lantern, Christmas cherry creeping Charlie, crown of thorns, cypress spurge, Easter lily, ground ivy, heart, glacier and needlepoint ivy, Jerusalem cherry leaves and berries, lily of the valley, mums, oleander, ornamental pepper, poinsettia leaves, rhododendron, snow-on-the-mountain leaves, spider mum and umbrella plant.

Outdoor Plants

The lists get even longer once your dog gets outside. The good news is, many of these plants are unlikely to be fatal if the dog doesn't eat too much; the bad news is, the plants that are toxic to your dog may be healthy for you. A number of common plants can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. These include leaves, twigs, bark and seeds from almond, apricot and cherry trees, apple seeds in large quantities, seeds from balsam apple and pear trees as well as bitter cucumber and bitter melon seeds, English holly leaves, honeysuckle berries, daffodil seeds and a number of other plants. Other plants, such as buttercups, milkweed, mistletoe berries, poison hemlock, spinach, tomato vine and marigold have varied effects.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Poisoned

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, you should immediately call your veterinarian. When you do, tell the vet the symptoms if you can, such as what and how much the dog ate, when the plant was swallowed, and how much your dog weighs.

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