Puppy proofing: Which plants aren’t safe for pets

Many indoor and outdoor plants can be dangerous or fatal to your puppy

Puppy proofing is an almost impossible job. One of the most important things to consider is poisoning. Some poisons like rat poison and antifreeze are obvious. It can be easy to forget about plants, both indoors and out in the yard.

Some poisonous house plants:

Asparagus fern, caladium, elephant’s ear, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), philodendron, poinsettia, mums, umbrella plant, aloe vera, mistletoe, Chinese evergreen, corn plant, devil’s ivy, golden pathos, lily, dracaena, green gold nephthysis, and hibiscus.

Some poisonous outdoor and garden plants:

Puppy proofing: Which plants aren't safe for pets

Holly berries, azalea, morning glory, mushrooms, oleander, daffodil, tomato vines, potato vines, English ivy, jasmine, oak ,cherry, peach, almond, apricot, yew, apple, gladiola, hyacinth, iris, foxglove, nightshade, onions, bamboo, rhododendron, yucca, avocado tree, chinaberry tree, hurricane plant, mother-in-law, amaryllis, crocus, fiddle leaf, foxglove, pigweed, oats, rhubarb, hemlock, pokeweed, and jimson weed.

Common symptoms:

Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominals pain, upset stomach, mouth inflammation, rapid increase in breathing, seizures, increased heart rate, drooling, hyperactivity, fever, increase in thirst, pupil dilation, staggering, convulsions, kidney failure, tremors, mouth swelling, asphyxiation, depression, loss of appetite, dilated pupils, and death.

You are probably most familiar with poinsettia as a toxic plant which causes mouth irritation and upset stomach. You normally only see them at holidays along with mistletoe (also poisonous). Listed below are some more common toxic plants and signs that they have been ingested.

Devil’s ivy or golden pathos, dieffenbachia, and elephant ear, cause intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing.

Mums cause skin irritation.

Rhododendrons (including azaleas) cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, weakness, coma, low blood pressure, depression of the central nervous system, cardiovascular collapse and death.

Nightshade and mushrooms can cause drooling, loss of appetite, severe upset stomach, diarrhea, drowsiness, depression of the central nervous system, confusion, behavioral change, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate, hallucinations, numbness, dilated pupils, trembling, labored breathing, nasal discharge, rapid heartbeat, weak pulse, loss of coordination, paralysis or severe shaking of the rear legs, eyes rolling back in the head, bloat, and sometimes death.

Holly causes intense vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

English Ivy causes stomach irritation, diarrhea, troubled breathing, coma, and death.

Hemlock causes dilated pupils, frothing at the mouth, muscles spasms, restlessness, convulsions, and death (which can occur within 15 min to 2 hours).

Jimson weed causes rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, dilated pupils, restlessness, nervousness, twitching, frequent urination, diarrhea, depression, weight loss, weak pulse, convulsions, coma, and death.

Yew causes trouble breathing, trembling, weakness, heart problems, upset stomach, and very sudden death.

Rhubarb can cause Staggering, trembling, breathing difficulties, weakness, diarrhea, increased drinking and urinating, and death.

Pigweed brings on breathing trouble, trembling, weakness, coma, and death.

Pokeweed causes colic, diarrhea, blood in stool, anemia (rare), and possible death.

Oats cause trouble breathing, skin irritation, paralysis, convulsions, and death (rare).

Of course there are too many toxic plants to list. Check with your county extension office for common poisonous plants in your area. The best way to keep your puppy safe is to keep all houseplants out of his reach, and check all outside areas for suspicious plants. Keep you puppy out of the garden, and secure all compost piles. Compost piles are a big source for mushrooms. If you suspect that your puppy or adult dog has ingested a poisonous plant contact your vet, the ASPCA Poison Control Center, or an emergency animal clinic immediately. Do not waste any time!

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