Toxic Plants

Some plants are toxic to dogs. Photo: simplyalex/Flickr

A client shared a recent story of how her chocolate lab found trouble by ingesting marijuana. Although we might giggle and picture a “stoned” dog listening to Pink Floyd and enjoying himself, many plants including pot, are EXTREMELY toxic. It was two days before Brinkley was back to normal. He weighs 90 pounds!

The most common route of exposure to pet animals is oral. Unfortunately, there have been cruelty cases involving smaller animals, such as a cat placed under a large bowl or bucket and someone blowing their used smoke in with the cat, exposing the pet to toxic levels of THC. In dogs, clinical signs develop within 30-90 minutes after ingestion and even faster with smoke. The effects of the THC may last up to 72 hours.

The most common clinical signs of toxicosis in the dog include depression, ataxia, bradycardia (slow heart rate), hypothermia (low body temperatures), vocalization, mydriasis (dilated eyes), muscular incoordination, respiratory depression, hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, seizures and coma. The most consistent clinical sign in dogs is central nervous depression, usually appearing as if the dog was falling asleep. Additional clinical signs that may be seen include hyperreflexia (exaggeration of the reflexes), hyperesthesia (increased sensation in the nerves of the skin), and nystagmus (rotation of the eyes). It is rare that a lethal dose is taken, although the period of depression may be prolonged.

Garden toxins can cause severe toxicity in animals. Just a seed, a bulb or even a few leaves can cause symptoms like vomiting, liver damage, and in some cases death. The Sago Palm for example, if ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death.

Common toxic plants in our gardens today:

  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea
  • Cyclamen
  • Hyacinth/TULIP BULBS
  • Kalanchoe
  • Oleander
  • Daffodil Bulbs
  • Lily

Potentially poisonous plants that effect the heart are:

  • Convallaria majalis – Lily of the Valley
  • Nerium oleander- Oleander
  • Rhododendron species-Rhododendron, azalea, rosebay
  • Taxus specie.- American, Japanese, English, and Western Yew
  • Digitalis purpurea- Foxglove
  • Kalanchoe spp-. Kalanchoe
  • Kalmia species-Mountain laurel, lambkill, calico bush
  • Leucothoe species- Dog hobble, dog laurel, fetter bush
  • Lyonia species-Fetter bush, male berry, stagger bush
  • Pieris spp-Fetterbush, lily-of-the-valley bush
  • Pernettya species

Plants that could cause liver failure:

  • Cycads (Cycad species)
  • Amanita phalloides- mushroom

Plants that can cause multiple effects:

  • Autumn Crocus (Colchicum species) Can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, shock, kidney failure, liver failure, bone marrow suppression.
  • Castor Bean (Ricinus species )
  • Mushrooms

ALWAYS assume that any ingested mushroom is highly toxic until that mushroom is identified by a mycologist. Toxic and non-toxic mushrooms can grow in same area.

Information compiled by á staff and á la Mutt Inc. For questions or comments, email us at Information and advice contained on this site is for your consideration only. Consult your veterinarian for specific advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet.