Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs and Other Pets

Spring arrived a few weeks ago. But here in Albany, East Greenbush and throughout Upstate New York’s Capital District we have only been treated to a handful of days when the temperature has climbed above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Like the rest of my friends with dogs, I seized upon the opportunity to take my pup on extended walks on those “balmy” days.

Pet Toxins in Plain Sight

While out on the trail I spied budding blossoms peeking through the mulching leaves and clumps of still-dead grass. My canine companion was far more interested in wildlife we happened upon. Even so, the budding flowers got me wondering exactly what plants might be poisonous to my dog. 

So what are some of the most common plants that are toxic to pets?  An online article from PetMD  revealed the top 10 most common poisonous plants for dogs: 

  1. Autumn Crocus 
  2. Azalea
  3. Daffodil
  4. Dieffenbachia
  5. Tulip
  6. Kalanchoe
  7. Sago Palm
  8. Oleander
  9. Cyclamen
  10. 10.  Amaryllis

Now this list is by no means all inclusive. Even a much larger list provided by the ASPCA of more than 400 plants is not all inclusive. That extensive list with a number of photos can be found at

For instance, most people know that Lily of the Valley (which won’t blossom until late May) is poisonous to dogs and cats as well as humans, but did you know that Aloe Vera is toxic to cats and dogs, too? Aloe contains saponins, elements that have a toxic effect on our pets if consumed, according to information from (  

Plant Dangers in the Home

Pets don’t have to be outdoors to come face to face with potentially poisonous plants. I discovered this the hard way a few years ago when one of my kitties decided to gnaw on the fresh aloe plant that I kept indoors for my own heartburn. Fortunately, she didn’t eat enough to damage her kidneys.

And then there was the time Koko, my then-13-year-old tortoiseshell cat who was my feline soulmate, decided to eat a couple of leaves off a plant that belonged to my neighbor and was kept in a common hallway. Koke became violently ill within a few hours of ingesting it and had to be rushed to the closest veterinarian. At the time I had no idea what was making her sick but the vet figured it out almost immediately. When we got back home I found a plant with leaves that had clearly been tampered with. Koko pulled through but, according to the vet, had aged her kidneys by four or five years from the toxic exposure. 

Most every plant (even those that are considered non-toxic) will often cause vomiting and some form of gastro-intestinal distress if consumed by our pets. But unless you’re certain that your dog, cat or horse ingested something non-toxic the safest course of action is to take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible, according to the ASPCA.

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