Poisonous Plants for Puppies

Real Life Wildlife (and Potentially Even Your Backyard) Dangers

Whether the word “walk”, “outside” or “car ride” gets their tail wagging, one thing's for sure — Our Goldendoodle Puppies absolutely love getting out of the house!

One of the best things about being a dog owner is the way our excitable pups inspire joy in the outdoors and can make us feel like kids again. The fresh air, the sky above and the beauty all around become extra special when being pulled by a taught leash and your best friend at the lead. But whether it's on a hike through a solitary forest or on playful frolic in the garden, it's important to remember that dogs love to taste test — and nature often hides poisonous danger underneath its colorful beauty.

This article is designed to prevent life-threatening dog illness and injury by highlighting several poisonous plants, shrubs and other wildlife dangers for dogs and puppies. As a dog owner, practicing puppy safety outdoors involves keeping an eye on your dog, being aware of your surroundings, and knowing what to look out for. It's equally important to know which plants are poisonous to dogs in the case of beautifying your home with plant life, whether indoors or in a backyard garden. Through protective knowledge and habits, puppy safety becomes second nature — and you and your dog can enjoy the wonders of the world without worry.

F1 Minature Goldendoodle Walking Down Outside Stairs Along an Exotic Garden Path

Sago Palm

Sago palm is easily at the top of the list of extremely poisonous plants for puppies and dogs as well as other pets and even humans. They look like mini palm trees, which makes them a popular choice for home décor as bonsai house plants and outdoor landscaping. Sago palms are native to tropical and subtropical climates and can be found growing naturally in some areas of the southern United States.

Common names for sago palm include cycad, Japanese sago palm, coontie palm and cardboard palm. All parts of sago palms are poisonous to dogs, but the seeds and nuts contain the highest levels of the toxin cycasin — which leads to liver failure in dogs.

Symptoms of sago palm ingestion include drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy, and clinical conditions that include abdominal fluid accumulation, jaundice, nose bleeds, bruising, liver failure, seizures and death. If you suspect sago palm ingestion or poisoning, contact a veterinarian or an animal poison control center immediately for emergency treatment.

As pet owners, it's important for us to know which plants we keep in our homes, gardens and backyards. And while sago palms are very beautiful, keeping them on our properties with dogs or other pets present is simply not worth the risk. If you have sago palms and are thinking about getting a dog or already have one, it is highly advisable to transfer your plants to a different owner for the safety of your pet.

Lily of the Valley

Found in gardens and growing naturally in woodland areas all over the United States, lily of the valley are widely known for their beauty and sweet smell. Unfortunately, they contain high amounts of cardiac glycoside toxins and are poisonous flowers for dogs. When ingested, lily of the valley poisoning can lead to life-threatening heart dysfunction and symptoms of heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat or pulse), vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, seizures, coma and death. If you think your dog may have ingested lily of the valley, call your veterinarian, a pet poison helpline, or animal poison control center immediately.

Oleander

Oleander is another pretty flower with a mean streak when it comes to pets. These flowering bushy shrubs grow naturally in the western and southern United States, and are favored in private landscapes for their height (up to 12 feet) and blooming colors.

Oleander contains cardiac glycosides, which are the same toxin found in lily of the valley. These poisonous shrubs for dogs are toxic in all their parts, but their poison is concentrated in the stem. Symptoms of oleander poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, drooling, tremors, dehydration and loss of appetite, and can lead to clinical conditions of hyperkalemia (potassium imbalance), arrhythmia, bradycardia (slow heart rate), seizures, shock and death. Needless to say, being able to identify and avoid oleander should be in the toolkit of every dog owner.

Tulips, Hyacinths, and Irises

These spring-blooming plants are some of the brightest and most colorful flowers in the world, and produce eye-catching scenery whether lined up neatly in gardens or sprawling wildly in open fields. But like with many plants, their beauty is reserved for the eyes only — and no doggie should ever go wandering in these flower fields.

Tulips, hyacinths and irises are poisonous flowers for puppies and dogs, and can lead to symptoms such as upset stomach, drooling, diarrhea, intense vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, lack of appetite and depression when ingested. The most poisonous part of these plants is their bulbs, which makes them a particular danger to free-roaming dogs that love to dig. And while these flowers are rarely fatal, they are far from safe — and can cause severe illness especially when ingested in large amounts.

Daffodil

Another beloved spring flower —and yet another poisonous threat to our dogs! It's almost as if spring time is danger time to our curious pups! While in a way true, information like this can help you and your dog enjoy the beauty and fragrance of springtime while keeping a safe distance from any dangers, so everyone comes home happy, healthy and safe.

When it comes to dogs, daffodils fall in the same category of poisonous spring-flowering plants as tulips, hyacinths and irises. They can lead to drooling, low blood pressure, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and irregular heartbeat when ingested. And like with every example of poisonous plants for dogs on this list, be sure to call a vet, animal poison helpline or control center right away if you suspect daffodil ingestion.

F1 Minature Goldendoodle Laying Down in a Field of Grass

Rhododendron (Azalea)

Azalea are a flowering shrub known for their bright, gorgeous and repeated blooms, which makes them quite popular and a common sight in home landscaping, backyards and gardens. But when dogs eat a substantial amount, this poisonous shrub for puppies can lead to toxic shock and even death.

Symptoms of azalea poisoning including upset stomach, vomiting, confusion, weakness and slow heart rate. If you have azalea on your property or are familiar with the plant, it's important to keep your dogs and kids away from azalea, as it can be equally toxic to humans.

Ivy

Ivy may not be the most toxic plant for dogs, but it's on this list because it's practically everywhere — and is in fact poisonous. Whether growing on the side of a building, on a tree or in the bushes, ivy can lead to illness in dogs when ingested, with symptoms of upset stomach, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain — and a very unhappy puppy.

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily)

Dieffenbachia, which goes by the name of dumb cane, is so called because eating it will result in swelling of the tongue, lips and mouth, making it hard to talk. When ingested by dogs, dumb cane has similar symptoms, along with drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and even difficulty breathing. Fortunately, this tropical plant is native to locations south of the United States, so you're unlikely to run into it outside. At the same time, it is a very popular indoor decoration, so make sure to know your house plants if you've got a doggie on the prowl.

Japanese Yew (Buddhist Pine or Southern Yew

While it makes a great hedge, the notorious toxicity of the Japanese yew and the fact that they're potentially fatal to both people and animals makes it quite risky to have around. The Japanese yew can be identified by its red berries, but it's not the berries you have to watch out for — it's the leaves, seeds and bark.

The Japanese yew is extremely toxic when ingested, and can lead to symptoms of vomiting, loss of balance, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, blood pressure changes and heart failure. If you have children, pets or both, you'll probably want to go with a different type of hedge.

Other Notable Mentions

We only wish this was the end of the list, but unfortunately, there are quite a few other plants that are poisonous to dogs. You can review a complete list of toxic plants as well as non-toxic plants at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website, found here.

F1 Minature Goldendoodle Standing On Two Paws Looking Out the Window

Poisonous Mushrooms

Mushrooms can grow just about anywhere, whether in the backyard, under the house or in the woods. And while only about 1% of all mushrooms species are known to be toxic, it's pretty hard to even know what you're looking at unless you know your mushrooms.

In the United States, a mushroom species known as the Amanita, dubiously dubbed as the “death cap” and “panther cap”, has been responsible for the deaths of both humans and animals. And while rare, such dangerous species have been known to sprout up right in the yard.

The severity of mushroom poisoning typically depends on the amount ingested and species of mushroom. Dogs may have no symptoms at all, or get better after a minor tummy ache. But serious cases of mushroom poisoning can involve symptoms of vomiting, panting, lethargy, confusion, increased heart rate, seizures, kidney failure, liver failure and death. Because it's hard to know the mushroom species type and safe limits of ingestion, a general rule of thumb is to simply avoid mushrooms altogether.

Of course, it's much easier said than done! If you suspect that your dog may have eaten mushrooms, don't panic, and contact a local veterinarian to discuss details, symptoms and if treatment is necessary.

Dangerous Trees

Flowers, shrubs and mushrooms aren't the only types of plant life that can be dangerous to dogs. From the leaves and seedpods, acorns and fruit they drop to the mold they grow, trees can pose a toxic risk to our pups which every dog owner should be aware of. Fruit trees in particular are worth mentioning, such as apple and crabapple trees, plum trees, peach trees, cherry trees and apricot trees. But other trees, such as mimosas, boxwoods, oak trees, red maples, black walnuts and more come with their own dangers, such as toxic seedpods, acorns and mold.

To learn more, contact your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or a certified arborist for more information on local tree species that can pose a risk to your pets. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a tree toxin or is showing unusual symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, dilated pupils, panting, difficulty breathing, dark-colored urine, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, tremors, spasms or convulsions, call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center immediately.

Dangerous Wildlife

If you love to hike with your dog, it's very important to know exactly what kind of wildlife lives in the areas you visit. From poisonous snakes, spiders, toads and lizards to fire ants, bees, wasps and dangerous mammals such as raccoons, coyotes and mountain lions, some local wildlife may warrant certain safety measures depending on your location and activities. Because wildlife is unique to geography and climate, it's best to contact your local DNR or veterinarian to discuss dangerous wildlife for dogs and how to avoid any unfriendly encounters.

Being a dog owner is a big responsibility, and part of that responsibility is doing your best to keep your best friend safe while enjoying the wonderful outdoors. It's always a good idea to get to know your local DNR office, veterinarian and other qualified support platforms so you can have the information and resources you need to stay safe and get immediate help in case of emergency.


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