The sun is shining. The wind is rustling your dog’s fur. So, you place a leash around your dog’s neck and take Spot or Lassie for a walk around the park. Your dog even wants to stop and smell the roses, literally. There’s no harm in that. Except, when Spot or Lassie ingests plants that are poisonous to dogs. Depending on the plant, side effects can be mild or serious. Learning about the various poisonous plants for dogs is the first step, so you know how to walk a dog safely. Below is a list of some of the poisonous plants to be on the lookout for this summer, no matter where your travels take you, along with common side effects.


Be Wary of These Plants

  • Amaryllis, Belladonna lily, or St. Joseph lily, is a flower commonly red, white, or pink with burgundy marks. If your pooch ingests this flower, the side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and tremors.
  • Liriope, or monkey grass, resembles long green grass with purple coloring. Side effects include nausea and vomiting.
  • Elephant ears look exactly as they sound. Green ears up to 6 feet long can cause drooling, burning, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.
  • The asparagus fern consists of herbs with red berries and typically appears on baskets on porches. Upon ingestion of the berries, your dog may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
  • Daffodils, also known as narcissus, are made up of six petals, yellow or white in color. When the bulbs are ingested, dogs can experience diarrhea and vomiting or convulsions and low blood pressure, if your dog consumes a large number of bulbs.
  • Bishop’s weed, a whitish-green plant that invasively grows throughout a garden, is a weed to some and ornamental to others. It can cause sunburn and dermatitis in dogs.
  • Azaleas, colorful flowers, contain a toxin that can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and, more seriously, cardiac failure.


Plants that Produce Fruit Can Be Toxic Too

  • Apple, or crabapple, trees consist of cyanide in the stems, leaves, and seeds, especially during the wilting process. When a dog ingests the cyanide, the side effects can vary from difficulty breathing to dilated pupils to shock.
  • Apricot, cherry, plum, and peach trees all contain cyanide, which is, as stated above, toxic to a dog’s system and can result in panting, difficulty breathing, and shock.


For a list of other plants that are poisonous to dogs, check out the ASPCA website.


How To Keep a Dog Away from Toxic Plants

You cannot prevent your dog from frolicking and enjoying nature, but you can take precautions. Aside from learning how to identify toxic plants, you can also do the following:

  • Make your garden dog-friendly. Make sure your plants are surrounded by stakes or another barrier, so your pooch doesn’t pounce.
  • Create a first-aid kit that you carry with you on dog walks. This kit should include gauze and activated charcoal, which can help prevent your dog’s body from absorbing the plant’s toxin during an emergency.


Who to Contact During an Emergency

If your dog ingests any of the above plants or other toxic plants, then contact ASPCA’s pet poison control center at 1-888-426-4435.

If your dog is not able to breathe or is experiencing cardiac arrest, then you need fast action. Contact your local vet (keep the vet’s number handy in your cell phone) or a nearby vet with emergency care. If you happen to be in the Somerset area, the staff at Somerset Animal Medical Center is available to care for your dog!