Keep your pet safe from poisons in the Garden

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

dog-1362730_640-1-300x213 Keep your pet safe from poisons in the Garden

Many species of flowers and plants around the garden could cause your pet to become ill. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others are dangerously poisonous. Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and although they probably wouldn’t bother with a shrub that has been in your garden for years, if they find a bulb or an acorn, you can bet that they will have it as a plaything or eaten within a matter of seconds.

Pet owners should avoid growing many plant varieties, with fairly common types such as Dahlias, Marigolds and Geraniums topping the list. Eating can bring health problems such as stomach upset and drooling to the more severe conditions that damage the liver, kidneys and nervous system—instead, plant Busy Lizzies, Gerberas, Fuchsia and Sunflowers.

Some plant varieties you must try and avoid if you are a pet owner are:


Usually grow in prime dog-walking locations, yet they need to be avoided. Symptoms, if eaten, include lack of coordination and vomiting.


How can this beautiful plant be so dangerous to our pets? The petals and leaves of the plant harbour cyanogenic glycosides, otherwise known as cyanide. If chewed by our pets, symptoms can appear in as little as 20 minutes, with depression, diarrhoea and vomiting.


It’s not only the bulbs we need to be wary of; if daffodil flowers are eaten, your dog may become ill. Symptoms include changes in heart rate, fits, collapse or appearing wobbly or sleepy. Read our article on Daffodils


The stems and leaves of the tomato plant are lethal to dogs if consumed, yet the ripe tomato fruit itself shouldn’t cause any problems. Look for slow heart rate, difficulty breathing, weakness and stomach upset.

Onions, chives, leeks and garlic

It can all be toxic if chewed and eaten. These vegetables can all cause gastrointestinal upset and anaemia.


Although not many of us will grow mushrooms in the garden, on our dog walks, it’s quite common to come across fungi, and while some species are edible, others are very toxic. If poisonous varieties are eaten, symptoms may arise within ten minutes, vomit or blood in the stools, fits or hallucinations. If possible, take a sample of the affecting mushroom along to the Vet’s to help them to identify the species and treat your dog accordingly.

Other garden items that could potentially poison or cause illness to your pet are:

  • Conkers and Acorns
  • Foxgloves
  • Stones from cherries, plums etc., if eaten in quantities
  • Freshwater Algae, found in garden ponds
  • Compost heap that your dog will love to dig around in but could contain mouldy food products, onion peelings, avocado stones, raisins or grapes, all of which are potentially toxic to your pet
  • Fertilisers in most gardens contain poisonous ingredients such as pesticides, herbicides, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen. If you treat your lawn with a fertiliser product, keep your pets away until dry and safe to walk on.
  • Slug pellets are very appealing to dogs, yet some are high in toxins. Containing the chemical metaldehyde, your dog can develop symptoms such as fits, twitching and tremors that can continue for several days.

It’s not always easy to supervise your dog while in the garden, but you can protect them and help to keep them healthy by knowing and understanding which are the most toxic trees and plants and, where possible creating a dog-friendly garden. If you think your pet has eaten any poisonous plants, vegetables, flowers, or other poisonous items, contact your Vet immediately and take a sample of the plant or plant label for easy identification.

You may also be interested in our article on Dog Poisoning and winter garden tips for dog owners