Garden Plants That Can Be Toxic to Pets

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Many of the tasty veggies in your garden are toxic if ingested by your pets or livestock. This is a page about garden plants that can be toxic to pets.


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December 12, 2005

At times it seems as though our pets like gardening just about as much as we do. They love to stay close to us when we are out working outside. And sometimes all that beautiful black dirt is just too irresistible to pass up digging up and rolling around in. Most of us are familiar with at least some of the houseplants that can be harmful to pets, but there are a few plants from the garden that can harm your pets, too.

First Off, I'm Not a Veterinarian

God bless their work, I couldn't do it. This short list of potentially toxic garden plants is not meant to be an exhaustive list. It is just a guide. The plants listed here are commonly grown in vegetable gardens, and do not include the hundreds of potentially toxic trees, shrubs, flowers or houseplants.


The toxic effects of these plants vary with the species, age and health of each animal and the time of year, and growth conditions/stages of the plants. Some of the types of pets that may be affected by these plants include; dogs, cats, birds, fish, goats, mice, rabbits, horses and other livestock.

This information has been compiled from a number of credible sources including the ASPCA, the AVMA, the University of Illinois and the Canadian Poisonous Plant Information System. As with all issues regarding the health of your pets, it is best to consult with your veterinarian if you have questions regarding the potential toxicity of a specific plant.

Not So Healthy Veggies

Avocado (fruit and pits): This common food does all kinds of weird things to a number of different animals. Ingesting it causes death to the mammary tissues in goats and heart damage in cattle, mice, rabbits, fish and birds. Birds that ingest even a small amount of avocado should be treated immediately to prevent possible death. Cats and dogs may show signs of intestinal distress and should be watched closely for heart related symptoms.


Onions (and garlic): These two are in the same family and can cause allergic reactions and anemia in livestock, dogs, and especially in cats. Severe poisoning can be fatal.

Potatoes (leaves, flowers, and immature fruits): The entire potato plant contains a toxic substance called glycoalkaloids, but the skin, eyes and sprouts generally develop the most toxic levels. Green colored potatoes should be discarded, and skins and sprouts being composted should be buried and kept away from all domestic pets, livestock and wild animals.

Radishes (leaves and seeds): Can cause the break down of red-blood cells and weight loss in goats and other livestock.

Tomatoes (leaves, flowers and immature fruits): As members of the nightshade family, tomatoes can cause serious heart, nervous system and intestinal problems in cats and dogs. This is especially true of the immature fruit, which becomes less toxic as it ripens.


Potentially Harmful Herbs

Chives: chives have been known to be toxic to horses when leaves are ingested during growth in early spring.

Horseradish: Under normal circumstances, horseradish does not pose a threat to most animals. When ground up for use as a condiment, however, it may cause irritation to their mucous membranes.

Fruits Animals Should Fear

Grapes (including raisins): Grapes and raisins have been known to cause kidney damage and even complete kidney failure in dogs within 24 hours of ingestion. Their effect on cats and other animals are unknown.

Rhubarb (leaves): Causes oral irritation and intestinal and kidney damage in dogs and cats. The leaves are also toxic to pigs and goats.

Pesticides & Herbicides

Exposure to pesticides and herbicides can be extremely toxic to animals that live or exercise in areas near their use-including you! Use organic controls whenever possible, and if you decide to use chemicals, be sure to keep them stored safely away from children and animals.


Visible Symptoms of Plant Poisoning

Visible signs of animal poisoning can include refusal of food, swollen tongue, pale gums or tongue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, convulsions, and severe or persistent vomiting. As most pet owners know, it is common for dogs and cats to vomit after eating or chewing on plants. Persistent or severe vomiting, however, could be a sign of something more serious.

What to Do

If your pet appears to be showing signs of plant poisoning, consult with your veterinarian immediately. Identify the plant if possible, and bring along a sample of it to give to the veterinarian.

Keeping Pets Out of Harms Way

The garden plants listed above should be kept out of your animals diet. When tying dogs and cats outside, be sure their tether isn't long enough to reach garden plants or make sure they are supervised if roaming free near the garden.


If necessary, erect sufficient fencing to keep animals out of the garden and construct special outdoor play areas for cats and dogs. Bury potentially harmful plants in the compost pile to prevent animals from consuming them.

Additional Sources of Information:

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I was just about to buy a sago palm, but now I won't since Sampson 2 still chews on everything. They are toxic to dogs.

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When choosing house and garden plants, many pet owners want to first check to see if they might be toxic to their pets. The ASPCA has a great page on their website that lists both toxic and non-toxic plants and lets you sort by dogs, cats, and horses.

ASPCA List of Toxic and Non-toxic Plants - tortie cat and plant

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 24, 2011

Is clover poisonous to my puppies he ate a lot of it at the park today?

By Dmb from NM


June 25, 20110 found this helpful

Poisonous Plants

Poison plants can prove to be very dangerous if your puppy is allowed to chew on them. Being forewarned is being forearmed. Here is a list of dangerous plants provided by The American Humane Society:

Amaryllis (bulb)
Apple Seeds (Cyanide)
Castor Bean
Cherry Pits (cyanide)
Climbing Lilly
Crown of Thorns
Daffodil (bulb)
Dieffenbachia (houseplant in colder areas)
Dumb Cane ( " " " " " )
Elephant Ear
English Ivy
Hyacinth (bulb)
Iris (bulb)
Japanese Yew Jasmine (berries)
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimson Weed
Marijuana (!)
Mistletoe (berries)
Narcissus (bulb)
Oleander (even the smoke from burning this plant is poison)
Poison Ivy
Snow on the Mountain
Stinging Nettle
Tulip (bulb)

Just because a plant is NOT listed here of course does not necessarily mean you should allow your pup or adult dog to eat it or chew on it regularly. As we know, puppies chew indiscriminately during teething. They should always be under supervision outdoors - and all indoor houseplants kept out of reach.

If your dog becomes ill suddenly - with vomiting and/or diarrhea with weakness and/or difficulty breathing, and there is evidence that the dog has chewed on the leaves of ANY plant, get that animal to a vet with several samples of the leaves (or berries or flowers or bulbs or seeds) that were eaten.
New ASPCA Poison Control number manned 24/7 by veterinarians:
(888) 4ANI-HELP or (888) 426-4435

The NAPCC notes that different body weights, different breeds, quantity and kind of plant ingested, age of the dog, and the dog's current health status (pregnant bitch, for example, or an older dog with other health problems) indicate that each possible poison situations is different.

The organization recommends, for the reason above, that you should call them or your vet before doing anything. If you know exactly what the dog ate, and if the ingestion was within the hour, they may recommend vomiting. However, inducing vomiting is NOT appropriate for all types of poisoning.

Other general recommendations include: fill the dog's stomach with food to prevent damage from vomiting; then, give two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide by mouth. This should cause the dog to vomit within 20 minutes. The dose may be repeated one time if the first dosage doesn't bring on vomiting.

Epsom salts and Ipecac syrup are NOT recommended by the NAPCC.

If the ingestion occurred more than one hour prior to discovery, or if the dog is already showing signs of poisoning (vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing), you should take your dog immediately to your veterinarian. Take with you samples of the vomit, diarrhea, and a large portion of the plant you think the dog ate.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
June 27, 20110 found this helpful

I found another list of poisonous plants to dogs:
and clover IS on that list. I would call my vet right away and ask their advice, you just don't want to take any chances!

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Answer this Question...

October 17, 2014

Are hedge apples safe for dog's to chew on?

By J Bauserman from St. Louis, MO

Answer this Question...

September 10, 2016

This is a page about plants that are harmful to dogs. Keeping your canine friends in a safe environment is important to all dog owners.

Aloe vera plant that is harmful to dogs.

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