Which plants are poisonous to pets?

Our pets are curious by nature, but not everything they explore is harmless. There are some natural hazards our pets face in the form of the plants we see throughout the year.

Different plants flower at different times of year, although their bulbs and seeds may always be present. Our lists below show when they are likely to flower.

Like all toxic substances, how badly your pet will be affected depends how much of the plant your pet has eaten. Some plants are more poisonous than others and so a small amount will cause severe signs. Others are less toxic but it’s still best to avoid them.

This list is not necessarily comprehensive. If your pet has eaten anything they shouldn’t have, or you’re worried about them at all, it’s best to get in touch with your vet straight away. They’ll be happy to advise you of the level of risk to your pet and how urgent it is that they are seen.

 

Poisonous plants in spring

Photo of daffodils

Make sure your pet doesn’t get their paws on any plants with bulbs while you’re organising your garden for spring, as many of them can be poisonous. There’s also a few other plants you’ll want to make sure your pet doesn’t take a snack on.

  • Azalea/Rhododendron: (Rhododendron spp) Highly poisonous to cats and dogs, even if just a few leaves are eaten.
  • Daffodil: (Narcissus) All parts of the daffodil are harmful. Dogs sometimes eat the bulbs, but even a small bite can kill a small animal. Even drinking the water in which cut daffodils have stood is potentially hazardous.
  • Geranium: (Pelargonium spp) All parts of geraniums are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Also present in summer.
  • Hyacinth: (Hyacinthus orientalis) The bulbs are poisonous to both cats and dogs.
  • Hydrangea: (Hydrangea) Bulbs are toxic to both cats and dogs as they contain cyanide. Also present in summer and autumn.
  • Iris and gladioli: (Iridaceae) All parts of these are toxic, but the bulb is most dangerous as it contains a higher concentration of chemicals.
  • Ragwort: (Senecio jacobaea) All parts of this plant are poisonous, and even small doses can be fatal to cats and dogs. Also present in summer and autumn.
  • Rhubarb: (Rheum) Rhubarb leaves are poisonous to dogs and cats, whether they are cooked or raw. Also present in summer.
  • Snowdrops: (Galanthus) While all the plant is toxic, usually the bulbs are most toxic to pets. Also present in winter.
  • Tulip: (Tulipa) The bulbs are the most toxic, however all parts of the plant can be toxic in large quantities.

 

Poisonous plants in summer

Photo of hydrangea
  • Elder: (Sambucus nigra) All parts including elderberries are poisonous for both cats and dogs.
  • Foxglove: (Digitalis) Both the leaves and seeds contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, heart problems, fits and collapsing.
  • Geranium: (Pelargonium spp) All parts of geraniums are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Also present in spring.
  • Hydrangea: (Hydrangea) Bulbs are toxic to both cats and dogs as they contain cyanide. Also present in spring and autumn.
  • Larkspur: (Delphinium) Potentially fatal to younger or smaller cats and dogs, though larger pets would need to consume a lot to show signs of poisoning.
  • Lily of the valley: (Convallaria majalis) Lily of the valley flowers and leaves, often used in bouquets, are very poisonous to dogs and cats. They contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, heart problems, fits and collapsing.
  • Nightshade: (Solanum spp) Very toxic to both dogs and cats.
  • Oleander: (Nerium oleander) All parts of the plant are toxic. Less than a handful of leaves can be fatal to dogs and cats. Also present in autumn.
  • Ragwort: (Senecio jacobaea) All parts of this plant are poisonous, and even small doses can be fatal to cats and dogs. Also present in spring and autumn.
  • Rhubarb: (Rheum) Rhubarb leaves are poisonous to dogs and cats, whether they are cooked or raw. Also present in spring.

 

Poisonous plants in autumn

Photo of conkers
  • Amaryllis: (Hippeastrum spp) All parts are toxic to cats and dogs, but especially the bulbs. Also present in winter.
  • Autumn crocus: (Crocus speciosus) All parts of the plant are very toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Chrysanthemum: (Chrysanthemum) All parts of the plant are toxic, although the smell is likely to deter dogs and cats from trying to eat it.
  • Conkers and acorns: These are toxic to dogs. Although serious cases of poisoning are rare, they can cause stomach problems, vomiting and intestinal blockages.
  • Hydrangea: (Hydrangea) Bulbs are toxic to both cats and dogs as they contain cyanide. Also present in spring and summer.
  • Oleander: (Nerium oleander) All parts of the plant are toxic. Less than a handful of leaves can be fatal to dogs and cats. Also present in summer.
  • Ragwort: (Senecio jacobaea) All parts of this plant are poisonous, and even small doses can be fatal to cats and dogs. Also present in spring and summer.

 

Poisonous plants in winter

Photo of holly
  • Poinsetta: (Euphorbia pulcherrima) This plant is mildly toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Amaryllis: (Hippeastrum spp) All parts are toxic to cats and dogs, but especially the bulbs. Also present in autumn.
  • Holly: (Ilex spp) All parts of the plant are toxic, and eating the sharp, spiky leaves can also cause damage to the throat, stomach or guts. Pets may be likely to try to eat the berries over winter.
  • Mistletoe: (Viscum album) Present all year round but typically brought into houses over winter. The berries are usually the most toxic part of the plant. Hang well out of reach.
  • Snowdrops: (Galanthus) While all the plant is toxic, usually the bulbs are most toxic to pets. Also present in spring.

 

Poisonous plants present all year round

Photo of indoor aloe vera plant
  • Aloe Vera: Usually kept all year round as a houseplant, it’s not overly poisonous to pets but can cause diarrhoea if they consume too much.
  • Cherry laurel: (Prunus laurocerasus) This hedging plant is often used in gardens and public parks. Be careful how you dispose of hedge cuttings as the most common cause of dogs being poisoned by the plant is from eating or chewing these leaves.
  • Dumbcane: (Dieffenbachia) The leaves can be poisonous to cats and dogs that chew or bite them.
  • Foxtail: Grass species across the UK. While not directly toxic, their seeds are barbed and can lodge in your pet’s skin, ears and eyes, and even migrate under the skin to cause problems deep inside the body.
  • Heavenly bamboo: (Nandina domestica) Evergreen shrubs which produce very toxic berries that pets may try to eat.
  • Ivy: (Hedera) Dogs and rabbits are more likely to eat ivy than cats and it can cause poisoning.
  • Laburnum: (Cytisus alpinus) All parts of this plant are poisonous, but especially the seeds. Even chewing and spitting out laburnum bark or twigs can affect a dog.
  • Oak: (Quercus pedunculata) Leaves can be harmful to pets if eaten.
  • Lilies: (Lilium) All lilies, including Tiger, Easter, Stargazer and Arum, are potentially poisonous, especially to cats. Pets can be poisoned by eating or chewing the leaves, stems or flower heads. Even the pollen can be harmful, as cats may lick this off their fur after brushing against the flower head. Always make sure lilies in the house are kept in a place where your cat cannot access.
  • Philodendron: (Philodendron and related species) All parts of this ornamental houseplant are poisonous. Commonly, pets might chew or eat the leaves, which can irritate the eyes and mouth causing excessive dribbling. Rarely, swelling due to the irritation can prevent breathing and be fatal.
  • Potato: The leaves on potatoes can be toxic to cats and dogs. Raw, green or sprouting potatoes can also be harmful.
  • Sago palm: (Cycas revolute) All parts of this plant are toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Tomato: Leaves and unripe fruit on tomato plants are toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Yew: (Taxus baccata and related species) Nearly all parts of the plant are harmful, including dried clippings. Ingesting a small amount of leaves can kill a dog.

Hazards and poisons

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Itchy pets

Sometimes plants and other things can cause our pets to be particularly itchy! Read our advice on this.

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Treats for pets

As far as biting and chewing goes, it's best to stick to pet friendly toys and treats!

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