In this post:
- Different Types of Toxicity – Not All Toxic Plants are Deadly
- 5 Common Toxic Plants to Avoid
- My 5 Favorite Dog Safe Flowers
I think it’s important to know that not all toxic plants that your dog might ingest can kill them! For example, there has always been a lot of hype around the holidays about poinsettias. I was pretty sure that plant could kill both my dogs and my cats, so I never had live ones in the house. As it turns out, yes, they can make your pets sick, but they’re not as deadly as all the hype has said. There’s also a lot of hype around Easter about lilies and cats. That is 100% true – lilies ARE deadly to cats.
I like the Midtown Animal Clinic’s list of dog-toxic plants the best, because they break it down into just how dangerous it is. There are 4 levels:
- Major – can cause serious illness or death.
- Minor – can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Oxalates – The juice or sap of some plants has crystals that can irritate the skin, mouth, nose and throat of your dog. It can lead to swelling and breathing difficulties, along with burning pain and upset stomach.
- Dermatitis – The juice, sap, and thorns of some plants can cause skin rash or irritation. After contact with these plants, you should wash your dog with soap and water. The rashes can sometimes be very serious and painful.
I think knowing these toxicity levels can reduce some of the panic that might happen if your dog ingests or comes into contact with one. Knowing what to expect and whether or not to rush to the vet can be important! I personally prefer to keep all toxic plants away from the dogs, because even just a sick dog is no fun for anyone.
5 Common Toxic Plants to Avoid
These plants are common in my area of the country, there may be others that are more common where you live. We have each of these in our yard, but they are outside of the dog yard.
Rhododendron: Major toxicity!
Hydrangea: Major toxicity and dermatitis
Azalea: Major toxicity
Daffodil: the bulbs only – minor toxicity and dermatitis
Lilies: True lilies have minor toxicity and dermatitis to dogs. Don’t forget, they are MAJORLY TOXIC to cats. I mentioned in Part 3 that daylilies are not true lilies and are not toxic to dogs. The photos below illustrate the difference. I believe you can tell by the leaves. Daylilies have many long grass-like leaves that grow from the soil lines. True lilies have one long stem with the flower at the top, and leaves along that stem.
If you enjoy beautiful flowers and want to plant some that are safe for your dogs, the following are 5 of my favorite dog safe flowers. I enjoy each of these flowers not just for their beauty, but because they’re easy to grow and in most cases inexpensive to start from seed, or buy in 6 packs from your local nursery. The forsythia is the only bush in this group and it is also easy to grow. If you trim it back each year it will come back even stronger.
Confusion! I was all set to share pansies as one of my favorite non-toxic flowers. They didn’t appear on either list I checked for toxic plants. Then when researching something else, I read one place that said they should be avoided if you have dogs! The truth is sometimes the answers here are not clear; and all we can do is the best we can.
Are any of these flowers your favorites?
I’ll have one last post in this series where I’ll talk about other things in your yard and garden that can affect your dogs. Here are the previous posts in our series thus far:
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Quiz – Do you know what these plants are and if they are safe for your dogs? Even though the prize giveaway is now closed, you can still have fun with this quiz and then find the answers in Part 3.
Part 3 – Quiz answers
Part 4 – Herbs