Deadly Types of Plants & Foods for Dogs

No guacamole for Fido; avocados can be deadly.
No guacamole for Fido; avocados can be deadly. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Dogs are hearty animals who seemingly have stomachs of steel; however, just because they love to dig through the dirt and beg for food doesn’t mean some common plants and foods won’t seriously harm their bodies. It’s important to know which items could be deadly if ingested.

Inside Plants

Indoor plants can liven up a home with a bit of greenery, but many can poison your dog. Aloe vera, chrysanthemum, azalea, hyacinth, weeping fig, caladium, dumb cane, elephant’s ear, emerald fern, philodendron, weeping fig, yew, tulips and gladiolas are some common poisonous indoor plants. Both the outer and oozy inner portions of the popular aloe vera plant contain saponins, which can produce vomiting, diarrhea and severe tremors and seizures. A common floral azalea, contains grayantoxins that depress the central nervous system and can lead to coma and cardiac arrest.

Outside Plants

Indoor plants and vases of flowers are not the only dangers for canines; deadly plants also are found in outdoor gardens and parks. Some of the most common toxic outdoor plants include: daffodils, ivy, morning glory, foxglove, nightshade, oak, green potato, wisteria, sago palm and oleander. A dog can experience seizures and liver failure from ingestion of just one sago palm seed or nut. Another deadly plant, oleander, can cause abnormal heart function, hypothermia and eventual death.

People Foods

It is tempting to share a bit of your meal with Fido when he sits quietly and gives you the puppy dog eyes, but resist the temptation. Many human foods, including the widely feared chocolate, are deadly when ingested. Avocado, garlic, grapes, fruit pits and seeds, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, raisins, onions and unripe tomatoes, potatoes and rhubarb all can have deadly consequences for dogs. Just a few grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, while avocado leads to labored breathing and fluid around the heart.

Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning

Each toxic plant or food may present specific symptoms when ingested; however, the most common, universal signs of poisoning are abdominal tenderness, diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lethargy and labored breathing. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you believe your dog has ingested a poisonous plant or food, or shows any signs of poisoning. The ASPCA’s 24-hour Poison Control Center Hot Line is another resource if you are unable to reach a veterinarian: 888-426-4435.

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