Keeping Kilo the Pug Safe in the Garden
I recently read that there are hundreds of potentially poisonous plants for dogs.
I am not a knowledgeable gardener by any stretch. However, I have been working with my husband on the little front garden in our new house over the last few weeks. I like a good mix of green and white plants, as well as lots of flowers for the bees to pollinate and to add color (plenty of pink).
I invest in perennials with a supplement of annual flowers. The front garden has quite a bit of shade because of some big old trees on the street, with a little bit of afternoon sun in some spots. The previous owners left some established perennials and shrubs. I added more euonymus, hostas, roses, peonies, begonias, lilies, geraniums and hydrangeas so far.
Kilo the Pug has been my little helper. The garden is open so he is on his leash, but he still occasionally gets his nose into things. My good friend in Minneapolis is also redoing her garden and just got a gorgeous new puppy- Buster. Given Kilo and the puppy both love to lick and chew, and we already had a nasty chocolate incident with Kilo, I decided to research on the ASPCA animal poison control site to see which common plants are the most dangerous. The results were overwhelming. I had no idea that stopping to smell or chew the plants could have so many hidden risks. I picked a few I know below to share.
List of common plants dangerous for dogs
Also called English Ivy, branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy contains triterpenoid saponins that, if ingested, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and diarrhea. Ivy is very common in our neighborhood, but Kilo has not shown much interest in eating it. We won’t be planting any.
Hostas seemed innocent enough, but I was disappointed to read that the Saponins from Hostas may cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression. I kept them and Kilo shows no interest.
I was very surprised to find that most parts of the tomato plant are poisonous to animals. Ingesting tomato plant leaves, vines or stems is unlikely to be deadly, but symptoms may include weakness, unusual drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis. We usually plant a few tomatoes, but I think we’ll skip them this year or put them up the back, well out of Kilo’s reach.
Tulip/Narcissus and Daffodil Bulbs
The bulb portions contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities in dogs and cats. As Kilo loves to dig up then chew things, we avoided bulbs this year.
Members of the Rhododendron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse. We have one someone gave me that lives up high indoors then moves out of reach outdoors in our back yard.
I planted some white and pink geranium as so hardy and good for flowers. I will have to watch Kilo.
Symptoms from eating may include vomiting, anorexia, depression, dermatitis.
There are over 1,000 species and 10,000 hybrids and they are really common around here. I think I may have planted some of them. Apparently if eaten they can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing. I will have to watch Kilo closely near them.
I have plants that look like Bishop’s Weed. They may cause symptoms similar to Begonia’s.
All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Apparently ornamental plants and pruned foliage are common sources of poisoning. The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death. I don’t think we have this one.
Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.
This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.
Taxus spp. contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death. Who knew.
Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.
Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression. So pretty but so dangerous.
These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.
Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.
Lilies, especially for Cat Lovers
Some Lilies can be bad for dogs but pet parents need to be aware of the potential dangers if cats ingest lily plants and lily bulbs. Ingesting the smallest amount of any part of the plant, especially the bulb, can lead to kidney failure and lily toxins can cause awful illness, even death. Signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and kidney failure. We have a few, but Kilo and the local cats have shown no interest so far.
Insecticides and weed killers
You should also make sure your dog does not lick or swallow insecticides or weed killers on your own or other people’s lawns and plants. I do not use any, but I know one of my neighbors uses weed killer on his lawn so we avoid it, much to Kilo’s chagrin.
Signs of Poisoning
Going out in our neighborhood or garden now seems like crossing a minefield. Signs to watch for in cases of potential poisoning in dogs can be loss of appetite, vomiting, abnormal stool, irregular bodily functions, respiratory distress, balance issues, paralysis, weakness, and lethargy.
You should know what is normal, in order to know if something is not normal (as per Puppy advice from trainer Gillian Ridgeway).
An animal who has ingested anything toxic should be taken to the vet immediately. If you think that your dog is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the 24-hour ASPCA emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435 (fees may apply).
For another great article on Spring plants that could be harmful to animals check out Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them. Cathy mentions several more plants I have near or in my garden including Boxwood and Privet Hedge.