Plants that Poison Dogs: Trees and Flowers to Avoid Planting in a Dog-Friendly Garden


Dogs and gardens don’t combine well. Any animal will use the garden as a litter box, dig in it or bury things from bones to toys. However, dogs, especially when they’re puppies or a larger breed, are more likely to wreak havoc with attempts to seed a plot of land.

Establishing a fenced off area and keeping the garden to vegetables, apart from onions, or wild flowers is best. Put tomato plants out of reach. Plant strawberries or raspberries in the front yard if the dog’s run and bathroom area is in the back yard.

Most important, however, is steering clear of planting anything, whether flower, shrub or tree, that can potentially do the dog harm. If one chooses to have a dog, its health and life is more important than a diverse and flourishing garden.


The bulb part of these flowers is especially poisonous to dogs. If the dog digs and likes to chew on what it finds beneath the earth, don’t plant: crocuses, irises, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and lily of the valley, among others. Bulbs can cause nausea, vomiting, tumors, depression, spasms and sometimes death.



While often grown in pots out of reach of canines, when planted in the earth the leaves and particularly the berries are poisonous to dogs. The asparagus, lace and plumosa fern are problematic plants in this category.

Flowering Plants

Cyclamens and hydrangeas are very dangerous for dogs. While their beautiful blooms are popular with gardeners, a dog that decides to munch on one is risking its life. They both create gastrointestinal upsets and the cyclamen causes death.

Garden Perennials

Whether grown as a potted plant in the house or, in temperate climates, planted in the yard, these blooms can be deadly. Among the worst offenders for canine distress are the foxglove, morning glory, nightshade and the Christmas Rose. Consumption of these flowers will cause the dog to develop a burning mouth, pain, vomiting, depression, confusion and even hallucinations.


These plants, often used as hedges or borders for the garden are among the most deadly for dogs. Bamboo, holly, oleander, rhodedendron, yucca and the mistletoe cause seizures, stomach problems, drooling, trembling, depression and death.

Lilies and Succulents

Usually only cats have problems with these plants, but the glory lily and the popular aloe cause liver and kidney damage, gastrointestinal upsets, irritation and bone marrow suppression.


Many trees, if the dog gnaws on the bark or consumes the berries, can cause health issues. Trees like the Japanese Yew, the Macadamia Nut, the Buddhist pine and the Avocado tree give the dog a burning mouth, vomiting, spasms, congestion and heart failure.


All of these are toxic, and especially the foliage of these climbing plants including the English, Needlepoint and Branching ivy. Keep them trimmed above the dog’s reach to avoid giving the canine symptoms such as fever, dilated pupils, diarrhea and muscle weakness.

Pay attention to what is planted in the garden and prioritize the dog’s well being over a selection of the most exotic or attractive flowers and trees.

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