Poisonous Plants for Pets

A bright orange lilium flower

Poisonous Plants for Pets

Some plants are bad for dogs. We’re building up a list of them, but it’s incomplete. Compiling this list is important work.  Don Burke points out the ones we know about, but we need your help in identifying all the plants dangerous to dogs.

Brunfelsia.  Perhaps the most dangerous plant for dogs (especially puppies) is yesterday, today and tomorrow (Brunfelsia). This is a poisonous plant for dogs, and if they eat the plant, especially the fruit which comes after flowering, they may die. You should consider removing or at least fencing off this plant. This is the common small flowering shrub with the violet, lilac and white flowers, all on the same plant.

Liliums. All types of liliums are toxic to cats especially, and all parts of the plants are poisonous – bulbs, leaves, flowers. This includes the cut flowers you buy from the florist as well as the garden plants.

Wandering jew. Wandering jew (Tradescantia albiflora) is very common in gardens especially in moist, shady areas. It is a horrible weed that will grow in near total shade and almost can’t be killed. Pull it out and it miraculously regrows. Dogs love lying on it in cool areas, as it is comfy and cooling. Sadly, it causes an allergic skin reaction in almost all dogs. A rash and, later, ugly callused areas of skin form on the ‘elbows’, groin, stomach, under the chin and any area that the dog rests on. The solution is to rake up the plants, put them in a plastic bag, seal it and put it in the garbage. When the new growth occurs in the garden, fertilise it (use any fertiliser you have at hand) and get the plant growing strongly. Now spray it with Zero or Roundup with a few drops of dishwashing liquid added to the weedkiller as a spreader. Keep spraying the weeds each week until they give up. Tenacity is what kills wandering jew, not just the chemicals. And keep your dog off the sprayed areas for a day after spraying each time.

Stephanotis. (Madagascar jasmine) We have received quite a few letters from people who have lost their dogs as a result of them eating the seed pods of stephanotis,

Other poisons

• oleander (Nerium oleander)
• yellow oleander (Thevetia peruviana)
• many bulbs (including daffodils, onions and snowdrops)
• toadstools
• tomato plants
• potato plants and green potatoes

Many garden plants are poisonous to dogs, not just those listed here. Puppies to the age of about 18 months are better off kept fenced away from most garden areas. This protects both the dog and the garden. Many indoor plants are poisonous to dogs – so all indoor plants should be moved up out of Fido’s reach.

Bad foods

Curiously, many foods eaten by people are dangerous for dogs:
• onions
• apricot kernels
• macadamia nuts
• chocolate
• avocados
• even grapes, sultanas and raisins could injure or kill your dog.

Other toxins

Not so surprising is the revelation that rat and mouse baits and snail baits also can kill dogs.

Plants dangerous to pets

In cases of poisoning, the veterinary profession is superb at treating dogs, but is not as thorough with plant identification as it should be. This is what we know so far.
Some of our most beautiful and useful plants are deadly to our pets (cats as well as dogs), so it pays to be aware of the risks and keep your pets well away from them.

• Anemone or windflower (A. coronaria)
• Bulbs (onions, plus all the spring-flowering favourites, such as daffodils, tulips, jonquils, and snowdrops)
Caladium bicolor (indoor foliage plant)
• Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)
• Chalice vine (Solandra maxima)
• Cherry tree (Prunus serrulata)
• Clematis (the large-flowered hybrids)
• Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophylla)
• Cycads (seeds on female plants)
• Daffodils (Narcissus varieties)
• Daphne (various)
• Delphinums
• Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
• Dicentra (Dicentra spectabilis)
• Dieffenbachia
• Euphorbias (poinsettias, Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, etc)
• Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
• Golden Robinia (R. pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’)
• Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis)
• Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
• Holly (Ilex varieties)
• Hydrangeas
• Indoor Plants: many are poisonous to pets, so it’s wise to keep all indoor plants out of the reach of puppies and kittens especially, but also adult dogs and cats.
• Iris
• Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
• Jasmine (not clear which ones)
• Lantana (L. camara, the common one)
• Lilac (Syringa varieties)
• Liliums: All parts of the plant are particularly toxic to kittens and cats, causing kidney failure and death; reactions are not quite so severe in dogs.
• Mountain laurel (Kalmia varieties)
• Mushrooms (not clear which ones)
• Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
• Oaks (Quercus varieties – the acorns are toxic to pets)
• Oleanders (Nerium oleander, Thevetia peruviana)
• Philodendron (many, it appears)
• Pine ((eg, savin, Juniperus sabina, also several others)
• Poinciana (not the tropical tree, but the shrub Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
• Potato pl ants and green potatoes
• Privet (Ligustrum varieties)
• Pyracantha (not clear which one)
• Rhododendron (including azaleas)
• Rhubarb (presumably the leaves)
• Snowdrops (Leucojum)
• Snowflakes (Leucojum)
• Strelitzia (not clear which one)
• Sweet peas
Solandra maxima (chalice vine)
Stephanotis (Madagascar jasmine) (consumption of the seed pods is especially deadly to dogs)
• Strelitzias (Strelitzia reginae, S. nicolai)
• Sweet peas
• Toadstools
• Tomato Plants
• Tulips
• Walnuts (mouldy nuts near the ground)
• Wisteria
• Yellow oleander (Thevetia peruviana)
• Yew (Taxus varieties)

We’d be grateful for any feedback on this list, especially other plants where there is evidence that they damage dogs.

We recommend fencing off potentially dangerous plants from puppies and kittens especially. Be very wary of pups and kittens near any indoor plant, and any cut flowers (especially liliums for cats). Try to train your pets not to chew any garden plants or indoor plants. If you suspect a plant has made your pet ill, don’t delay – take it straight to the vet, along with a sample of the plant, for identification. And let us know about it: email magazine@burkesbackyard.com.au

There is a new  book called Poisonous 2 Pets (plants poisonous to dogs and cats) by Nicole O’Kane available from the CSIRO  AU $ 39.95 which also provides additional information which is well worth a look.