Poisonous Plants for Puppies

Plants that are toxic to dogs and how to treat accidental poisoning

dog and flower
Certain flowers can be poisonous to dogs. Frindt / EyeEm/ Getty Images

While plants can make a lovely decorating statement, poisonous plants can kill pets. The deadliest plants must be chewed or swallowed for the poison to work.

Puppies are affected most often, particularly breeds that eat anything that doesn’t move faster than they do. Paws, mouths, and sometimes ears and eyes also are vulnerable to spiky parts of plants. Swallowed Christmas tree needles, for example, do damage to the tender insides of the puppy, too.

Dangerous Holiday Plants

There are many plants like poinsettia that prompt only mild problems, such as excess salivation or mouth discomfort. Keeping these out of reach of curious paws may be sufficient to protect your pups. Others, like mistletoe, can kill your puppy if he eats just one or two berries.

In the spring, popular Easter flowers pose the greatest risks. Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily and some species of the day lily can cause kidney failure. Vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite may appear within a few hours and will continue to worsen as damage to the kidneys progresses. Without prompt and proper treatment, kidney failure can develop in 36-72 hours. All parts of the lily are considered toxic. Consuming even small amounts can be life-threatening for cats, and lilies can poison your puppies, too.

Pet plant poisoning is a veterinary emergency that requires immediate medical attention. But you can save your pet’s life simply by steering clear of the worst plant offenders, both inside and out.

First Aid for Puppy Plant Poisoning

Different plant poisons require very specific first aid. Usually, that will be to either 1) induce vomiting, or 2) give milk or water to wash out the mouth, neutralize the poison and/or dilute the toxicity.

Making the pet vomit the wrong poisonous plant, though, could make a serious situation even more deadly, so you MUST know what to do for each type of plant.

Poisonous Plants—Induce Vomiting

The following is a list of some of the most dangerous houseplants and symptoms of poisoning. If you see your puppy eat these plants, make him vomit right away.

  • Belladonna, datura, henbane, jessamine, jimsonweed: Red and dry skin, fever, seizures, thirst, dilated pupils.
  • Crown of thorns, English ivy: Thirst, vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, death in one to two days.
  • Daffodil, tulip, wisteria bulbs: Depression, violent vomiting.
  • Foxglove, larkspur, lily of the valley, monkshood, oleander: Depression, bloody diarrhea, fast or slow heart rate, stomach pain, coma, death.
  • Holly: Stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Lily: Excess urination and drinking from kidney failure.
  • Mistletoe: Vomiting, diarrhea, slowed breathing and heart rate.
  • Rhubarb: Vomiting, drooling, stomach pain, convulsions, kidney damage.
  • Yew: Muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, sudden death without signs.

Do NOT Induce Vomiting

With these plant poisons, vomiting may make the problems worse. Instead, if you see the puppy eat these plants, give lots of water or milk to dilute the poison and to wash and coat the stomach.

  • Azalea: Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma, and death.
  • Caladium, dieffenbachia, philodendron: Tongue and throat swell, difficult breathing.
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant): Mouth irritation to collapse.
  • Jerusalem cherry, nightshade, potato (green parts/eyes): Vomiting, bloody diarrhea, trembling, weakness. ANTIDOTE is available from your vet, see as soon as possible.

If you see your pet with one or more of these signs, particularly if a suspect plant is within paw or nibble reach, get help immediately! First aid can save the puppy’s life. Then take the pet to see the veterinarian as quickly as possible.

You’ll also need to be ready to administer rescue breathing if necessary. When there’s a question about what first-aid to offer, call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center for accurate advice.

ASPCA Animal Poison-Control Center provides a database of common pet poisons and is available for telephone consultations (1-888-426-4435) in a case of a poisoning emergency. The fee can be charged to your credit card. Preventing plant poisoning is ideal. Choose only pet-friendly safe varieties for your garden and home.