Gardens or parks are often safe places for dogs to have fun. These spaces are perfect for running around and exercising your dog, allowing them to sniff and explore to its heart’s content.
But gardens and parks have some risks, not just the obvious ones. Of course, public spaces can be crowded, meaning your dog might not be allowed off its leash, and they can be messy with litter and broken glass, which might end up injuring your dog’s paws. Although gardens are much easier to control as it is often private space, they also come with a risk that parks share – plants.
Some common garden plants can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs. The issues that can arise after plant poisoning, often caused by dogs ingesting toxic plants, can range from an upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhoea to difficulty breathing or even death.
Situations like this, where a dog can pick up and ingest a poisonous plant, are why it’s important to train your dog correctly. If you want to know what dogs are easier to train, click here.
These plants can be considered toxic to dogs:
- Amaryllis (Hippeastrum species)
- Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
- Azalea/Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum)
- Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster species)
- Daffodil (Narcissus species)
- Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
- Geranium (Pelargonium species)
- Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
- Grape vines (Vitis vinifera)
- Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)
- Holly (Ilex species)
- Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
- Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
- Hydrangea (Hydrangea species)
- Iris and gladioli (Iridaceae)
- Ivy (Hedera species)
- Laburnum (Cytisus alpinus)
- Larkspur (Delphinium species)
- Laurel (including Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) and other laurels)
- Lilies (Lilium species)
- Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
- Mistletoe (Viscum album)
- Mushrooms/fungi (Many species)
- Nightshade (Atropa belladonna, Solanum dulcamara, and related species)
- Oak (Quercus pedunculata)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Onions and garlic plants (Allium species)
- Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
- Potato plant (Solanum tuberosum)
- Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
- Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)
- Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
- Snowdrops (Galanthus species)
- Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
- Tulip (Tulipa species)
- Yew (Taxus baccata and related species)
To understand these toxic plants more easily, we have split up the most common poisonous plants for dogs in the UK by season below:
Table of Contents
Spring Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs in the UK
Dog owners should be aware of poisonous plants that bloom in the springtime, both in public spaces and private. Most people are planting bulbs at this time of year; these are especially dangerous to dogs as they contain a higher concentration of nutrients than flowers and leaves. Due to this, it might be best to keep your dog out of the garden when you’re planting bulbs.
Even after they have been planted, curious dogs can dig bulbs up. To avoid this from happening, you can cover them with mesh until they’ve started growing.
If your dog eats any of the following plants, it is advised to take them to the vet immediately.
Most Common Spring Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs:
Daffodils can be extremely toxic to dogs, even if they are just sniffed. If your dog ingests the bulb, leaves, or flower of a daffodil, it can suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and even a reduced heart rate and low blood pressure. In some cases, dogs who have eaten daffodils have experienced fits.
Hyacinths are highly toxic to dogs; the toxin contained in this plant can irritate a dog’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract. If ingested, they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and trembling.
Tulips also contain toxic ingredients that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and drooling if ingested. It is important to know that the bulb is the most toxic part of tulips.
Summer Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs in the UK
In the summer months, many dangerous plants can bloom and flourish in gardens. In the UK, most of these plants are found in public gardens, parks, and even in wild meadows. It is important to be aware of these plants and keep your dog away from them to avoid health risks.
For those of you who have vegetable patches, it’s worth noting that unripe fruits and tomato and potato plants can also be extremely poisonous to dogs.
Contacting your local vet and following proper veterinary advice is essential if your pet eats any of the plants listed below:
Most Common Summer Plants that are Toxic to Dogs:
Rhododendrons contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and a slowed heart rate. If your dog eats this plant, it is best to seek medical attention for your pet.
Foxgloves are highly toxic to dogs and can be deadly if ingested. This plant contains toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, an irregular heartbeat, and even seizures in some cases.
Oleander contains toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and even death if ingested in large quantities. It is important to know that even if your dog only touches this plant, it can still suffer from skin irritation and blisters.
Autumn Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs in the UK
As the weather begins to cool down, be aware of the dangers that can present themselves. For example, leaves will begin to fall from trees, and although dead leaves can be less dangerous, they are easier for dogs to reach as they are on the ground.
This is also the time of year when many plants begin to produce berries, which can be extra tempting for canines. This same temptation can also be applied to fungi and conkers.
Most Common Autumn Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs:
Although all parts of the horse chestnut tree are poisonous to dogs, the seeds (also known as conkers) are the most easily accessible for our four-legged friends. The toxins in horse chestnuts can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and an irregular heartbeat if your dog eats them. They can even cause life-threatening blockages if consumed whole. Read this article on how to help dogs that are choking.
The autumn crocus is a common and attractive flower during the autumn months, but it can be deadly to dogs. All parts of the plant contain a toxin called colchicine that can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, and even death.
The yew tree is often found in gardens and parks and contains a toxin called taxine that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and even death if eaten. It can be especially dangerous if your dog consumes its bark, leaves, or seeds.
Winter Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs in the UK
The winter can bring snow and frost to gardens, but some flowering or evergreen plants can poison pets.
As seasonal favourites, holly and mistletoe are often brought into homes during the winter. It’s best to use common sense and keep these plants, even the berries, out of your dog’s line of sight.
Most Common Winter Plants that are Toxic to Dogs:
Holly is an evergreen shrub that grows in gardens and the wild. All parts of the plant are poisonous to dogs, but the leaves and berries are most likely to be eaten. Eating holly can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration.
Mistletoe is a common Christmas decoration, but its berries are highly toxic to dogs. Eating mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, seizures, and even coma.
English ivy is a common evergreen found in gardens and parks during the winter months. All parts of the plant contain a toxin called triterpenoid saponins which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and a drop in blood pressure if eaten.
Indoor Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs in the UK
Indoor plants can also be dangerous to pets, as many are poisonous if eaten. It’s important to ensure that your dog can’t reach any of these plants, or to keep them out of reach in a room your pet can’t access.
Most Common Indoor Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs:
Philodendron plants are toxic to dogs if eaten. Eating them can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.
Peace lilies contain a toxin called calcium oxalate that can cause severe mouth and gastrointestinal irritation if eaten.
Aloe vera is a common indoor plant, but the sap inside the leaves can be toxic to dogs if ingested. This can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and an increased heart rate, so keeping them out of your pet’s reach is best.
But it’s not just plants that dog owners have to look out for.
As well as many plants, certain garden items, like grass seeds and weed killers, can be extremely dangerous for our canine companions. It is important that pet owners keep these highly toxic products out of paws’ reach. If the following products are ingested, dogs should be taken to the vet immediately.
- Slug and snail bait
- Lawn fertilizers
- Compost and mulch
- Cocoa mulch and cocoa bean shell
- Pressure-treated wood
- Lead-based paints
- Antifreeze and coolant
- Lye and bleach
- Rock salt
To Sum Up
Generally, it is best to watch your dog while they are out exploring, as even non-toxic plants can cause problems if eaten in large quantities. If you are unsure if your garden or local park has poisonous plants for dogs, it is best to avoid them altogether. Training your dog and providing alternative activities are great ways to prevent them from getting into trouble.
If you think that your dog has eaten a poisonous plant, it is important to contact your vet as soon as possible.