by Dawn Forster for Earth Clinic, LLC
Did you know that there are actually over 700 plants that can be poisonous or toxic to your pet? That size of a number seems almost incomprehensible and makes you wonder if there are actually any plants left over that are NOT poisonous to animals!
The list included here cannot possibly begin to cover every single poisonous plant in existence, and it should also be said that some of these plants are much more toxic than others are. It is important to use your best judgment when determining whether or not these plants should remain in your home or garden. Consider your personal situation and the normal behavior of your pets. If you keep any of these plants in areas that cannot be accessed by your pet, or if you have a pet that has never bothered with getting into your plants in the past, then it is likely you shouldn't have a problem with keeping those particular species of plants in a home with pets.
The most important thing for you do to when assessing your current plant situation, is to dig a little bit deeper and find out exactly how toxic certain plants can be and how they can affect your animal.
Let's begin by looking at a list of the 10 Most Common Poisonous Plants:
Marijuana - Animals who attempt to snack on this plant can suffer serious consequences such as diarrhea, vomiting, increased heart rate, drooling, in-coordination, and even possibly seizures and coma.
Sago Palm - While the seeds and nuts of this plant are most poisonous, the entire plant is toxic. Animals ingesting parts of this plant may suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Lilies - Plants of the lily variety are very poisonous to cats. Even very small amounts of this plant could cause serious kidney damage.
Tulips - The toxic portion of this plant is the actual bulb, which can cause drooling, central nervous system depression, gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac issues and convulsions.
Azalea - The toxins in azalea plants can be very severe and potentially cause drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, central nervous system weakening and depression, and in some cases possibly coma or death.
Oleander - All portions of this plant are poisonous and can cause gastrointestinal irritation, hypothermia, heart problems and possibly death.
Castor Bean - Poisoning as a result of this plant can cause abdominal pain, drooling, diarrhea, vomiting increased thirst, loss of appetite and weakness. More serious cases could also lead to dehydration, tremors, seizures, twitching muscles, coma and possibly death.
Cyclamen - The most poisonous portion of this plant is located in the root. Ingestion of the plant can cause severe vomiting and gastrointestinal irritation. In some cases death has been reported as a result.
Kalanchoe - Ingestion of this plant can cause gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac rhythm and rate problems.
Yew - Poisoning as a result of the yew plant can affect the nervous system and cause in-coordination, trembling and breathing difficulties. It may also result in gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac failure and could possibly lead to death.
The following is a list containing many other well-known and common plants that can be poisonous or toxic to pets.
Aconite - Is a garden flower whose roots, foliage and seeds can be poisonous.
Apple - The seeds of an apple can be poisonous to pets.
Arrowgrasses - These are marsh type plants whose leaves contain poisons.
Atropa Belladonna - This is a type of garden herb in which the entire plant can be poisonous to pets, especially its seeds and roots.
Autumn Crocus - This is a commonly found garden flower in which the entire plant can be poisonous.
Baneberry - This is a wildflower whose berries and roots are the poisonous portions.
Bird of Paradise - This is a garden flower whose pods are poisonous.
Black Locust - This is a tree in which the entire plant can be poisonous, especially the bark and shoots.
Bloodroot - Is a wildflower and herb whose stem and roots are most poisonous, however the entire plant is toxic.
Box - Is an ornamental shrub that is poisonous in its entirety, but especially the leaves.
Buckeye - This is a tree whose sprouts, nuts and seeds contain poisons.
Buttercup - This is a wildflower and garden herb that is poisonous in its entirety but mostly in the leaves.
Caladium - Is a houseplant that is poisonous in its entirety.
Carolina Jessamine - This is an ornamental plant whose flowers and leaves contain poisons.
Chinaberry Tree - Is a tree whose berries are poisonous.
Chockcherries - This is a wild shrub whose poisonous parts include the leaves, cherries and pit.
Christmas Rose - Is a garden flower that contains toxic leaves and rootstock.
Common Privet - Is an ornamental shrub whose leaves and berries can be poisonous.
Corn Cockle - Is a wildflower and weed whose seeds are particularly poisonous.
Cowbane - This is a wildflower and herb that is poisonous in its entirety, especially the roots.
Cow Cockle - Is a wildflower and weed whose seeds are poisonous.
Cowslip - Is a wildflower and herb whose entire plant is poisonous, especially the leaves and stem.
Daffodil - Is a garden flower whose bulbs are poisonous.
Daphne - This is an ornamental shrub that contains poisonous bark, berries and leaves.
Death Camas - This is a field herb whose poisonous parts include the leaves, stems, seeds and flowers.
Delphinium - Is a wildflower that is poisonous in its entirety, especially the sprouts.
Dumbcane - This is a houseplant and is poisonous in its entirety.
Dutchman's Breeches - Is a wild and garden flower whose roots and foliage are poisonous.
Elderberry - Is a tree whose poisonous parts include the leaves, bark, roots and buds.
Elephant's Ear - This is a houseplant poisonous in its entirety.
English Ivy - Is an ornamental vine that is completely poisonous but especially the leaves and berries.
European Bittersweet - This is a vine poisonous in its entirety but especially in the berries.
False Flax - Is a wild herb whose seeds are poisonous.
False Hellebore - Is an ornamental flower whose roots, leaves and seeds are toxic.
Fan Weed - This is a wildflower and herb whose seeds are poisonous.
Field Peppergrass - Is a wildflower and herb that contains poisonous seeds.
Flax - Is a wildflower and herb whose seedpods contain poisons.
Foxglove - This is a wild and garden flower whose leaves are poisonous.
Holly - Is a shrub containing poisonous berries.
Horsechestnut - Is a tree containing poisonous nuts and sprouts.
Horse Nettle - Is a wildflower and herb poisonous in its entirety, especially the berries.
Hyacinth - This is a wild and houseplant whose bulbs are poisonous.
Iris - Is a wild and garden flower whose leaves and roots are poisonous.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit - Is a wildflower that is entirely poisonous, especially the leaves and roots.
Jatropha - This is a tree and shrub whose seeds are poisonous.
Jerusalem Cherry - Is an ornamental plant whose un-ripened fruit and foliage are poisonous.
Jimsonweed - Is a field plant that is entirely poisonous, especially the seeds.
Laburum - Is an ornamental plant whose seeds, pods and flowers can be poisonous.
Lantana - Is a houseplant whose foliage is poisonous.
Larkspur - Is a wildflower that is poisonous only as a young plant.
Laurels - This is a type of shrub with poisonous leaves.
Lupines - Is a shrub whose seeds and pods are poisonous.
Manchineel Tree - A tree containing poisonous sap and fruit.
Matrimony Vine - An ornamental vine containing poisonous leaves and shoots.
Mayapple - A wildflower poisonous in the form of its un-ripened fruit as well as the foliage and roots.
Milk Vetch - A wildflower poisonous in its entirety.
Mistletoe - A houseplant with poisonous berries.
Monkshood - A wildflower poisonous in its entirety, especially the roots and seeds.
Moodseed - A vine whose fruit and roots are poisonous.
Morning Glory - Is a wildflower containing poisonous seeds and roots.
Mountain Mahogany - Is a shrub with poisonous leaves.
Mustards - These are wildflowers whose seeds can be poisonous.
Narcissus - This is a garden flower whose bulbs contain poisons.
Nicotiana - Is a garden flower whose leaves are poisonous.
Nightshade - Is a wildflower and vine with poisonous leaves and berries.
Oaks - Are trees with poisonous leaves and shoots.
Philodendrons - Are houseplants poisonous in their entirety.
Pokeweed - Is a field plant containing poisonous roots, seeds and berries.
Poinsettia - Is a houseplant with poisonous leaves, flowers and stems.
Poison Hemlock - This is a field plant containing poisonous leaves, stems and fruit.
Potato - A garden plant whose shoots and sprouts can be poisonous.
Rattle Box - Is a wildflower that is entirely poisonous.
Rhododendron - Is an ornamental shrub whose leaves are poisonous.
Rhubarb - A garden plant with poisonous leaves.
Rosary Pea - Is a houseplant whose seeds are poisonous.
Skunk Cabbage - This is a marsh plant whose entire plant is poisonous but especially the roots and leaves.
Smart Weeds - Are wildflowers containing poisonous sap.
Snow-on-the-Mountain - This is a wildflower whose sap is poisonous.
Sorghum - Is a type of grass whose leaves are poisonous.
Star of Bethlehem - Is a wildflower poisonous in its entirety.
Velvet Grass - A variety of grass whose leaves are poisonous.
Wild Black Cherry - Is a tree with poisonous leaves and pits.
Wild Radish - A wildflower with poisonous seeds.
Wisteria - Is an ornamental plant containing poisonous seeds and pods.
Woody Aster - A wildflower whose entire plant is poisonous.
Yellow Jessamine - An ornamental vine that is entirely poisonous.
Yellow Pine Flax - A wildflower poisonous in its entirety but especially in the seedpods.
NOTE: If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, contact the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. This is 24 hour a day hotline. (Note that in some cases a consultation fee may be charged to your credit card.)
This list has been compiled using the following sources:
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Toronto Humane Society
St. John's Poison Resource Center
Humane Society of the United States
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
06/10/2009: Shannon C. from Phoenix, AZ: "I think it is important to note that Automn Crocus is not an actual "crocus" which is confusing because some crocus bulbs due come up in the fall. here is the wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colchicum_autumnale which includes a photo for distinction."
[QUESTION] 09/11/2009: Marcia from USA: "Buttercup - poisonous to dogs? Formerly my Border terrier was grass grazer, but lately she has turned to buttercup leaves. Of course, I stop her. However, is there something missing in her diet that makes her look for this plant?"Replies
11/01/2009: Alimorg from Stoke-on-trent, England replies: "My border terrier also likes to eat buttercup leaves and I was wondering the same thing about something missing in her diet. I try to stop her from eating the leaves but she has never shown any ill effects from doing so! Let's hope someone can throw somw light on this - she seems to ignore other plants."
03/12/2013: Katiem from Tacoma, Wa, Usa replies: "Buttercup is poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/buttercup/"
Cats Claw Vine
04/15/2013: Concerned Puppy Momma from Chandler, Az: "My fiance and I have recently received a pit bull puppy as a gift and she loves to wrestle, tug, and play in the cats claw vines growing on our patio. My biggest concern is these may be harmful to her. I have searched multiple sites and none of them list this vine anywhere. I dont want to just take it as a sign that there is no harm from these without being sure... Can anyone give me some information? Maybe I'm missing something. Thank you."
[QUESTION] 09/17/2010: Annette from Nashville, Tennessee: "We were given a Croton Plant and we have 2 cats. We want to make sure they are not dangerous if our cats decide to chew on the leaves."Replies
[WARNING!] 12/05/2012: Nicole.poisonous2pets from Gold Coast, Australia replies: "If the croton plant you are refering to is a codiaeum species, it is moderately toxic. It can cause eye irritation, dermatitis and eczema with contact alone. If consumed, it can cause a burning sensation to the mouth, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In can also cause more severe symptoms such as haemorrhages of the heart, and degradation of the kidneys and liver. I am a horticulturist who writes on plants which are toxic to dogs and cats and all my information has been verified by a veterinarian so the information is correct. Just be careful about this plant around your pets."
[WARNING!] 07/07/2008: Debra from Union, NE: "Poisonous Plants to Dogs:
Since ponds have become so popular, I'm trying to find a list of decorative grasses that can be used around dogs. My neighbor's 2 bichon puppies became very ill from chewing on one of the following plants: Feather Reed, Miscanthus, Blue Oat, Big Twister, Bee Balm, & Japanese Blood Grass. I've been trying to get info on these plants & have become frustrated trying to find a straight forward simple answer. And for any plant nurseries out there - you should have a list available to all of your customers & ask if they have pets BEFORE you recommend plants.
Thanks for any information you can share with me."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 10/05/2008: Louise Fennell from Herne Bay Kent, England replies: "Our dog Mindie a cavalier spaniel is currently staying overnight at our vets after she ate miscanthus sinensis, she has been constantly vomiting and poorly. We did not know at first what had caused this problem but reading your site has helped us detect the cause and inform the vet of our info regarding the grass. We are still waiting to hear if she is ok but thank you for this valuable information."
06/15/2011: Ma from Moose Jaw, Sk replies: "Hi, I would like to know if Japanese Blood Grass is poisonious to cats? What would the symptoms be? My cat has been eating it and I have found vomit outside with grass in it. Ma"
08/27/2012: Joe from Green Valley, Az: "I frequently walk my dogs through the scrub desert east of the Santa Rita mountains along the Santa Cruz river. Upon browsing this site to find out what might be harmful to them, I find a LIST!!!!! No pictures!!!!
Obviously, this does me no good. I would have to know ALL the plants I come across in order to look up and see if they are harmful. A list is useless to me. Where can I find pictures?"Replies
08/28/2012: Wendy from Columbus, Oh/usa replies: "Just scroll down from your post at this link and you'll find the link to the ASPCA page of toxic and non-toxic plants:
Here it is:
10/07/2011: Mary from Albany, Ny Usa: "Are pussy willows poisonous to cats? Mine likes to pick them off, with his teeth, and bat them around the floor of the apartment."Replies
[NAY] 10/26/2011: Sherri from Huntley, Il replies: "Whoever stated they applied aloe vera to their dogs' hot spot did not check with the Animal poison control" website.
Aloe Vera is Toxic to your dog and to cats etc. when ingested.... Hope band Aid guarantees stickability...
I'm not a vet just someone who double checks all remedies that claim to heal...."
07/26/2012: Wendy from Columbus, Oh/USA replies: "Here's the ASPCA link to Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants:
[QUESTION] 06/03/2009: Paul from Ridgewood, New Jersey: "Is honeysuckle poisonous to cats? My wife recently brought in cuttings from a Yellow Honeysuckle (Lonicera Flava) and a Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera Japonica). I noticed one of our cats eating the leaves. Can this make him sick?"
EC: Honeysuckle is mentioned on various forums as being toxic to cats, but no varieties are listed.
List of good links to other sites with extensive databases: http://amby.com/cat_site/plants.html
[QUESTION] 04/16/2009: Kathy Novak : "I have a planter that has Ivy in it. I called the flower company that sent it and asked what kind of ivy it is. The reason being I have four cats in my house and I know that some ivys are poisonous. After searching on line I think I have it narrowed down to an ivy called Hedera a. Gloire de Marengo. I can't find any information on whether or not this is toxic to cats. I have it up high now so they can't get at it. But eventually I will need to put the plant where it can get sun. Thanks so much!"
EC: Here are photos from a google search if anyone is interested to see what this type of ivy looks like: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&um=1&sa=1&q=Hedera+a.+Gloire+de+Marengo&btnG=Search+Images&aq=f&oqq
[QUESTION] 05/24/2009: Christina from Columbia, SC: "Hi, I have a lantana bush in my backyard. My dog eats the leaves and then throws up, I noticed that you all say they are poisonous. Is she just eating them to make herself throw up? Also, my backyard is filled with azaleas, wisteria, wild black cherry, and a huge yew tree. Should I worry about these plants around my dog...she never eats those but the lantana and she also eats camelia flowers...when she eats the lantana she vomits then she's ok. What should I do?"Replies
08/26/2011: Eunice from Tucson, Az replies: "I have a dog that ate Lantana. I almost lost her. I carried her to the vet and her urine was like ice tea. I moved all of my lantana plants to the front yard where she can not get to them."
[YEA] 04/24/2007: Tracey from Houston, Texas: "To Cat Lovers, Our newly kitten ate rose petals from my potted miniature rose bush and started coughing up blood non stop. We rushed him to the emergency room and the doctor stated the petals were eating away his stomach lining. Luckily, they pumped his stomach and were able to treat him back to health. My cat spent 48 hours in the hospital w/ an iv and $1200 later was able to come home. I do not see roses listed on any site as poisonous. They are highly toxic. Please add roses to your list so more cat lovers will know. Thanks!"Replies
05/18/2009: Chris from New York, NY replies: "Roses are an edible flower, our cat loves rose petals, not to mention that roses are used in drinks and other foods. I would have to guess that your cat was sickened by some kind of spray (either a leaf food or a pesticide) on the roses, as is very common with roses purchased at nurseries that don't specify if they do or do not use pesticides. also, many many professional gardeners use sprays as a matter of habit. You should certainly ask your vet what they think, but i also hope it helps you not be afraid of roses in the future."
Norfolk Island Pine
12/01/2008: Norma Gutierrez from Camden, New Jersey: "please tell us if the norfolk island plants are poisonous for cats? "
EC: Here's a thread from a garden site with mention of a Norfolk Island Pine as being non-toxic to pets: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/houseplt/msg0806512216955.html
01/25/2012: Tina from Champlain, Ny: "Good afternoon! I just wanted to find out if the Poinsettia is really poisonous to animals. According to the paperwork that has come with our plants, it says that even though the plant can make them sick, they are not poisonous. However, your site says the opposite. Please advise. Thank you"Replies
[SIDE EFFECTS] 12/05/2012: Nicole.poisonous2pets from Gold Coast, Australia replies: "Poinsettia can be listed as toxic but it is a low toxicity plant. Your pet can be affected either by contact or by consumption. If your pet has regular contact with the poinsettia symptoms such as eye irritation, conjunctivitis and eye ulceration can be seen. Skin disorders such as dermatitis, skin irritation and blisters can also become evident. If ingested it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Even though it can cause problems in your pet, it is a low toxicity plant as the symptoms are usually quite mild in the sense they can not cause organ damage or death (although they can still be quite distressing)."
[WARNING!] 06/18/2011: Melanyh from Houston, Tx, Us: "We have poison ivy in our backyard, which my husband & I know to avoid. We have both had poison ivy more times than I'd like to mention. This summer, our 2 yr old Bull Terrier began getting red spots under her fur and on her stomach. She was itching and nibbling at her skin constantly. She is already treated with an internal & external flea medication, so we couldn't figure out what it was. She was completely miserable - always scratching, itching, and biting herself. She was even losing hair in those itchy areas. I tried a variety of pet products for skin issues, but nothing was working.
One day I was bathing her & I noticed that I had a small patch of poison ivy on my arm. Then it hit me - - she had poison ivy. We have always been told that dogs cannot get poison ivy, but I decided to do a little more research. Almost every site out there will tell you that dogs cannot get it; therefore, there are no remedies for it. I finally found one site that said, "yes, dogs can get poison ivy if the oils get past the fur. " This is why she had most of it on her stomach, where there is little hair. When she scratched, it moved the oils to other parts of her body. My husband & I swear by Burt's Bees Poison Ivy soap(you can find it at WFM). I immediately washed her with this soap, and you can tell she felt better. I washed the affected areas once or twice a day, and her poison ivy went away. Now, it has recently come back because we still have poison ivy in our yard, but now I can nip it in the bud before it gets bad. YES, your dog CAN get poison ivy!"Replies
04/27/2013: Brandy from Mantua, Ohio replies: "I know I get so irritated when I hear people say that dogs can't get poison ivy... The oils distribute to the skin / if it doesn't just stay "put" on the hair then YES dogs get it and it is awful... Burt's bees soap is very good! My poor lab got it - baby was miserable!!!"
10/20/2008: Kathy from Bay City, MI: "Poison plants for dogs: I do not know the proper name for umbrella plant but my puppy is eating the leaves; will she get sick? It is a very large house plant. Thanks."
EC: Is it a Cyperus alternifolius (aka Umbrella Palm)? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyperus_alternifolius