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 kernals of apricots contain cyanide and can be fatal to dogs.
Castor bean, 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.
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 elephants’ ears 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.
Eating grapes and raisins can cause serious kidney failure and death.
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)
Eating young larkspur plants and seeds can cause digestive problems including vomiting and diarrhoea, nervousness, depression. Can be fatal to dogs.
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.
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 plant can cause irreversible kidney and liver failure in your dog. Tiny doses can be fatal.
Wild cherry, Prunus avium
Eating the twigs and leaves of wild cherry can be fatal.
Yew, Taxus baccata
Eating yew 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.
- Dogs Trust factsheet on toxic plants
- How to create a cat-friendly garden
- Most poisonous garden plants
- Cats’ Protection League list of dangerous plants to cats
- Browse our Plant Finder