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From the team at Gardeners' World Magazine
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Plants toxic to dogs

Published: Saturday, 2 November, 2019 at 9:12 am

Want to avoid growing plants that are poisonous to dogs? Browse our list.

Many common garden plants, such as apples and tulips, have some toxic elements that could prove dangerous to your dog. The majority won't cause much more than an upset stomach, and most dogs won't eat plants that are poisonous to them. Most toxic garden plants, such as granny's bonnet, bluebells and hellebores, need to be eaten in such huge quantities to cause harm, that they're very unlikely to do so.


However, some garden plants can be lethal to dogs. It’s therefore important to identify the worst culprits, so you can avoid growing them.

Kate Bradbury, BBC Gardeners' World Magazine, explains why dogs may be prone to eating toxic plants, and which plants to avoid growing, in this Quick Tips video:

As with all fear of toxicity, if you suspect your dog has eaten part of a toxic plant then seek veterinary advice immediately.

With help from Dogs Trust, we've created a list of the most toxic plants to dogs. All of these are plants can be lethal to dogs and dog owners would be well advised to avoid growing them.

For a complete list of plants that have varying levels of toxicity to dogs, see the Dogs Trust factsheet.

Browse our list of plants that are lethal to dogs, below.

The majority won't cause much more than an upset stomach, and most dogs won't eat plants that are poisonous to them. However, there are some garden plants that can be lethal to dogs. It’s therefore important to identify the worst culprits, so you can avoid growing them.


The kernals of apricots contain cyanide and can be fatal to dogs.


How to grow azaleas
Azalea flower

If ingested, all parts of azaleas and rhododendrons cause nausea, vomiting, depression, difficulty breathing and even coma. They can be fatal to dogs if eaten in large enough quantities.

Castor bean, Ricinus communis

Plants dangerous to pets
Castor oil plant, Ricinus communis

All parts of the the castor oil plant are lethal to dogs and humans, and even the tiniest amount, such as a single seed, can kill.


Narcissus 'Hawera' daffodil
Narcissus 'Hawera' daffodil

Daffodil and other narcissus bulbs are toxic to dogs and cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. They can be fatal.

Elephant ears, Bergenia

Eating the leaves or flowers of Bergenia can cause burning, irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat. If your dog's tongue swells enough to block its air passage it could die.

Grapevines, Vitis

Grape 'Schiava Grossa'
Grape 'Schiava Grossa'

Eating grapes and raisins can cause serious kidney failure and death.

Jessamines, Cestrum

Eating the berries and sap of jessamines can cause digestive problems, including vomiting and diarrhoea, affecting the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. Can be fatal.

Jimson weed, Datura

Eating any part of the plant can cause extreme thirst, distorted vision, delirium, incoherence, coma and death to your dog.

Larkspur, Delphinium (young plants and seeds)

Larkspur flowers
Larkspur flowers

Eating young larkspur plants and seeds can cause digestive problems including vomiting and diarrhoea, nervousness, depression. Can be fatal to dogs.


Mistletoe growing on an apple tree
Mistletoe growing on an apple tree

While it's unlikely that your dog would reach mistletoe growing in the garden, problems can occur when you bring plants into the house for Christmas. Eating mistletoe berries can upset the gastrointestinal tract and cause dermatitis. Just a few berries are enough to kill puppies.

Deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna

Eating any part of the plant can cause severe digestive problems and death.


Oleander flowers
Oleander flowers

Eating any part of oleander can cause heart problems, severe digestive problems, dermatitis and sometimes death to dogs.

Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum

Eating any part of the plant can affect the nervous system, cause dermatitis and be fatal to dogs.


Any part of the ragwort plant can cause irreversible kidney and liver failure in your dog if eaten in sufficient quantity.

Wild cherry, Prunus avium

Wild cherry blossom
Wild cherry blossom

Eating the twigs and leaves of wild cherry can be fatal.

Yew, Taxus baccata

Yew hedge
Yew hedge

Eating yew (Taxus baccata) berries and foliage (but particularly the foliage) can cause dizziness, a dry mouth, abdominal cramps, salivation and vomiting. Can be fatal to dogs and death can come without any prior symptoms.


Reducing the risk of poisoning

Bear in mind that most dogs don’t eat plants that are poisonous to them. Those that do may be bored or stressed, so consider looking at ways in which you can change your dog’s lifestyle to encourage them not to eat garden plants in the first place. 

Further information


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