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Plants that are toxic to pets

Some dogs will eat just about anything in their reach. Rocks, weeds, socks … nothing is off-limits for some pets. When you’re planning your garden you may want to consider avoiding poisonous plants or put them only in areas pets can’t reach. Regardless of how gorgeous a plant is, it’s not worth a trip to the vet, or worse yet, the loss of a pet.

Kitten in flower garden

Garden season brings with it new plants, supplies and materials. Some items that you may think are completely harmless can kill your pets. Avoid putting these common varieties of plants in your yard, especially if you have a dog that acts more like a goat. There are many other plants that are poisonous to pets, so consider doing some research before adding anything new to your yard. For more information on other types of plants to avoid, as well as symptoms your pet might experience, visit the ASPCA website.


Keep fertilizers, pesticides, anti-fungals and any chemicals out of your pet’s reach. Any plants on the ground or within reach shouldn’t be sprayed with chemicals to avoid possible ingestion by your pets. Some types of mulch, including cocoa mulch, can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts. Other varieties of mulch that are treated can be problematic for your dogs as well. Eating wood chips or pieces of mulch can be dangerous even if the product is otherwise completely safe, as it could potentially get stuck in their intestines or be a choking hazard.


Many of the flowers on this list contain a toxic substance that can be deadly for cats, dogs and even horses. Some are garden favorites, so if you don’t want to eliminate them altogether, you may want to put up barriers to prevent access. Pay attention to changes in your pet’s behavior like vomiting or diarrhea, lethargy and even seizures and be sure to let the vet know what plants your pet may have come in contact with.

  • Carnations
  • Clematis
  • Dahlia
  • Daffodil
  • Daisy
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Azalea
  • Hyacinth
  • Foxglove
  • Gardenia
  • Geranium
  • Hibiscus
  • Hosta
  • Hydrangea
  • Lantana
  • Many varieties of lily
  • Oleander
  • Peony
  • Periwinkle
  • Tulips
  • Vinca
  • Wisteria
  • Yarrow


Generally the leaves or other elements of the following trees can cause a variety of health problems for your pet. Some are mild while others could potentially cause death.

  • Chinaberry tree
  • Various varieties of pine tree
  • Red maple
  • Umbrella tree

Edible plants

While the fruit of these plants or trees is often completely harmless and enjoyed by animals like dogs and horses, other parts of the plant are toxic. In apple trees, seeds, leaves and stems generally contain chemicals like cyanide, which can be toxic to pets. Dogs, cats and horses can suffer severe effects if they consume parts of this plant. While your pet may not go after the leaves alone, they might ingest other plant parts if they go after a fallen piece of fruit. It’s best to avoid planting these trees in areas that include pets.

  • Apple trees
  • Apricot trees
  • Avocado trees
  • Grape vines
  • Black walnut trees
  • Cherry trees
  • Citrus trees

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