Is my garden dog safe?

Spring is clipping at our heels, and those with green thumbs are planning out the garden landscape for the year. Some of the most beautiful blooms are harmful to dogs (and cats), and can lead to lethal poisoning. But fret not, you can still have a rainbow of colors bursting from your lawn, while keeping your dog safe too.

Popular Plants Toxic To Dogs

The American Kennel Club has a more extensive, but still not complete list that’s worth looking over. We’ve gathered symptom info from various sources for you.

Azaleas. Gorgeous shrubs with pink, red and sometimes white flowers. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and heart failure.

Hydrangeas. Flowering plant that features a small mass of petals on one flowering portion, and comes in colors of purple-blue, pink, white and other variations. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, depression, and diarrhea.

Daffodils. Blooms with drooping stems with a two-tiered flowering portion—bulbs are especially toxic. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, salvation, diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Tulips. Flowers with a cupped shape. The bulb is particularly poisonous. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and excessive drooling.

Wisteria. Typically hangs from trees and is a vibrant purple. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting blood, diarrhea, and depression.

Ivy (English Ivy). A lively green creeping plant with peculiarly shaped leaves. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and diarrhea.

Buttercups. Precious yellow flowers that add a pop of color to any landscape. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, oral ulcers. and wobbly gait.

Lily. A flowering plant that comes in stunning ombré shades of pink, purple and other hues. (Lilies are a favorite plant during the Easter holiday.) Symptoms of poisoning: upset stomach, your pet may stop eating, and their mood can even take a downward spiral.

Plants Humans Can Eat But Dogs Cannot

Chamomile. Often used in soothing teas. Symptoms of poisoning: contact dermatitis(skin irritation), vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and allergic reactions.

Chives. Tasty long sprigs of greens that go great in salads or atop baked potatoes. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, and panting.

Garlic. Might be the most beloved herb of all time—no other explanation needed. But while giving Italian food signature flavor, dogs should never indulge. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, and panting.

Onions. Add depth to salads and are so good when seared with olive oil, and even raw from the garden they might allure your pet. Symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, and panting.

Aloe. A pointy plant with gel filled leaves. Symptoms of poisoning: lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting.

Prevention is Everything

Here are some tips to keep your dog (or outdoor cat) away from harmful plants:

  • Always supervise. After time training them in your presence, they will eventually learn. But it’s always important to attend them outside, for a number of reasons.
  • Consider fencing. Either add fencing around your garden, or fence in an area for play, with zero harmful plants within reach.
  • Redirect energy. Make other areas in the yard more alluring with toys and obstacles.
  • Use deterrents. Apple bitter spray can keep dogs from tickling their tongue with dangerous foliage.

Don’t Panic. Plan Ahead.

Don’t rob yourself of a beautiful garden, or time outside with your furry best friend. Just plan ahead with precautionary steps that will keep you both happy and safe. If your pet does get into something, be ready to provide professionals with information on exactly what was ingested, and approximately how much if possible.

Pet Poison Control. If you suspect your pup may have ingested any of the above, or something else you’re unsure about, contact the Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435. Be advised there is a fee, but the center can provide valuable life-saving info if you can’t immediately get to the veterinarian. Figo customers can chat with a veterinary professional via Live Vet in the Pet Cloud app.

Editor’s Note: Common garden plants may be hazardous to outdoor cats. Dr. Lee shares information on plants that are toxic to felines.


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

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