Dangerous Summer Plants for Dogs

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Dogs and puppies love the sites, smells and tastes of the world.

As most dog owners know, this charming fact can also be quite dangerous, as our canine friends regularly find something to chew on that won’t agree with their stomach.

One of the top summer dangers for dogs is plants. There are many common garden and landscaping plants that are hazardous to your dog. Whether garden plants, plants in the wild, or seasonal plants you bring home from the florist, plants can provide crazy smells and a taste of something new, which can be at odds with your pup’s health.

You can make great efforts to plant a dog-friendly garden, but flowers you bring in or plants your dog finds around the neighborhood can still be very dangerous.

If your dog or puppy has already ingested a plant on this list, and you see symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, abnormal urine, salivation, weakness, and any other abnormal condition, call your veterinarian.

When you contact your vet, make sure you tell them as much information as you possibly can. For example, do you know what plant your dog ate? If you don’t know the name, then take some of it with you for identification. Try to get a sense for how much they might have chewed or eaten and how long ago they ingested it.

This list of dangerous summer plants that are dangerous to dogs and puppies is by no means exhaustive. There are a number of other toxic plants, including those that we covered in our article on the danger of 20 common houseplants, but this covers the top offenders in gardens, landscaping and parks in most areas during the summer.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera is common in the south and is often kept around houses for burns, but it is toxic to dogs. Ingestion can lead to vomiting, depression, diarrhea and tremors.

Amaryllis
This is a common garden plant that is also popular around the holidays. The bulbs hold the most toxins and can cause all kinds of trouble with your dog. Ingestion can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, tremors and anorexia.

Baby’s Breath
This floral filler is also popular in home landscaping, but it can be rough on your dog’s digestion. Ingesting it is not generally considered lethal, but it will cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Begonia
Begonia are popular in home and public space landscaping because they are easy to plant and upkeep. Unfortunately, they are toxic to dogs. Ingestion will lead to oral irritation, irritation and burning in the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing and even vomiting.

Carnations
The carnation isn’t the most poisonous of the bunch, but it’s such a popular plant that it’s pretty much everywhere. It’s effects are generally mild gastrointestinal pain or discomfort and mild dermatitis.

Castor Bean
Castor bean is extremely common in landscaping around buildings and even in some homes, so keep an eye out when you’re walking your dog. This pretty plant creates a host of messy issues with your pup, including abdominal pain, dehydration, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and loss of appetite.

In very severe cases, ingesting castor bean can result in muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and, ultimately, death.

Chrysanthemum
It’s fun to say and spell, but chrysanthemum is not pleasing to a dog’s digestive track. It’s not lethal, but ingesting it can cause issues with vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis, loss of coordination and potentially depression.

Cyclamen
Cyclamen is a flower that can thrive in a garden or in pots. But they are toxic to dogs, particularly the root. If your dog is a digger, keep an eye out. Eating this flower can create gastrointestinal irritation that might lead to intense vomiting. It’s not common, but fatalities have been reported from eating cyclamen roots.

Daffodil
Daffodils are another flower that can be found in almost any direction you look in the spring and summer. Unfortunately, they are toxic to dogs, especially the bulbs. If you see your dog or puppy looking to take a nibble, pull them away or else you might have to deal with vomiting, salvation and diarrhea.

If your dog ingests a large amount, it can cause convulsions, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias.

Gladiolus
This is flower that is better known from floral arrangements, but it’s also good in the garden. The bulbs are toxic to dogs and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and lethargy.

Grass Seeds
Early in the year and in the late summer you see a lot of grass seeds around. They are not poisonous, but they are great at getting stuck the the throats and ears of animals, causing discomfort or gagging.

Hosta
Hostas are famous for their ground cover ability, making them popular in landscaping of all sorts. For the most part, animals seem to ignore them. But if your dog takes a fancy to them, ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even depression.

Ivy
Ivy is another plant that can be found just about anywhere in the summertime. It doesn’t seem to be a favorite of dogs, but if yours takes a liking to it, know that the ivy foliage is more toxic than its berries. Ingesting ivy can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and hypersalivation.

Milkweed
Milkweed has gained popularity for its ability to keep the monarch butterfly population going, but, unfortunately, it’s very toxic for dogs.

The list of common symptoms is long: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness and anorexia. The list of possible severe issues is troubling: seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid, weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and, possibly, death. If your dog ingests milkweed, call your vet.

Morning Glory
This climbing vine or shrub is mildly to moderately toxic, depending on how much your dog ingests. The seeds from the flowers of some species contain toxins that can cause diarrhea, agitation, tremors, disorientation, anorexia, and, if large amounts are ingested, liver failure. It’s also been reported to have caused hallucinations in some pets.

Oleander
Oleander is both pretty and poisonous. All parts contain the cardiac glycoside, which is highly toxic and can lead to diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, colic, recumbency, and possibly death from cardiac failure.

Poinsettia
Most pet owners have been warned about poinsettia toxicity over the years, and it is true that you should keep your dog away from it. It actually doesn’t pose nearly the same lethal threat as some of the other plants on this list, but it can create a great deal of discomfort for your dog, irritating the mouth and stomach. And, like most things on this list, it can also lead to vomiting.

Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
This is a summer danger but also an in-home danger. The golden pothos is a common house plant and chewing or ingesting it can create issues for your dog. The symptoms can be seen almost immediately and include: oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips. This irritation may lead to swelling. It can also cause excessive drooling and vomiting and lead to difficulty swallowing.

Rhodedendron (or Azalea)
This is another common plant that is very toxic to your dog. There are more than 1,000 species of rhododendrons out there and they vary in toxicity. But keep an eye out for these, as all parts of the plant are considered poisonous, and, in certain species, ingestion of 0.2% of an animal’s body weight can result in poisoning. These plants contain grayanotoxins which disrupt sodium channels affecting the skeletal and cardiac muscle.

Ingestion can lead to excessive drooling, loss of appetite, frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, leg paralysis, weak heart rate, transient blindness, coma and, possibly, death.

Sago Palm
This popular landscaping palm appears throughout many temperate regions and looks great. Unfortunately, many dogs find them fun to nibble on and they are quite toxic. Make sure you keep your dog away from these plants, as they cause vomiting, bloody stool, jaundice, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, liver damage, liver failure and death.

Tomato Plant
Everybody loves the feeling of picking their own tomatoes out of their garden, and, in general, this plant is pretty safe for your dog. The ripened fruit is considered non-toxic, but the green parts do contain solanine, which ingested in large amounts, can result in poisoning. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness and even confusion.

Tulip
Tulips are more of a spring fling than a long-lasting summer flower, but regardless of when they bloom, it’s the bulb that you need to keep an eye on. If you’re dog is a digger, keep him away from these bulbs because ingestion leads to intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

Yew
These evergreen trees or shrubs are a mainstay in landscaping, so you actually have to keep an eye on them all year. All parts of the plant, including the berry, are poisonous to dogs. When ingested by dogs, clinical signs of drooling, vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, life-threatening changes in heart rate and blood pressure, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, coma and even death may be seen.

I hope this information keeps your dog safe from dangerous summer plants.

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