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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Poisoning, Plant View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition




Condition Overview

Eating plants and vegetation is not a common cause of poisoning in dogs, but does occur. Puppies going through the chewing stage are more likely to ingest indoor and outdoor plants.


The variety of potentially poisonous plants and shrubs allows for a wide range of symptoms. Signs include mouth irritation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, rapid labored breathing, staggering, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and death. Some plants cause sudden death without pre-monitory signs. Other plants contain chemicals that are extremely irritating to the skin.


Milkweed, lily-of-the-valley, azakea, foxglove, and oleander all contain cardiac glycosides of the digitalis class. Even though these plants have a bitter taste, pets will sometimes eat enough to cause death. Ornamental plants of the night shade family, including Chinese lantern, Christmas cherry, and ornamental pepper, contain solanines that are toxic to the gastrointestinal system and brain. They too, are a rare cause of death.

You can find a list of toxic plants and shrubs here: Toxic Plants, but this list does not include every potentially poisonous plant. The ASPCA also has a list of poisonous plants, many with pictures, here. Your local Cooperative Extension is often a good source of information about poisonous plants. Note that with some plants, only certain parts are toxic. With others, the whole plant may be poisonous.


Diagnosis can be made by evaluating symptoms and finding evidence of eaten plants in the house or yard.


If you suspect your dog has ingested a poisonous plant, induce vomiting and call your veterinarian for further instructions.


To prevent houseplant poisoning, determine which plants are toxic and either dispose of them or keep them in a place the dog is unable to reach. Outside, be careful of any sticks you throw for your dog that he may chew on. Fence off dangerous plants so your pet can't reach them.


Contact your veterinarian for detailed instructions or call on of the poison hotlines listed below:

  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (fee)
  • Angell Animal Poison Control Hotline 1-877-226-4355
  • Animal Poison Hotline operated by the North Shore Animal League and PROSAR International Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-232-8870

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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