Deadly Beauty – Hidden Poisons in Your Yard

As spring draws near many of us are drawn to planting beautiful gardens and hours of outdoor play with our pets.  This Month my posts will focus on backyard safety with your pet.  While your yard is a great place for your dog to hang out, many pet owners are unaware of the number of species of plants that are potentially poisonous to our dogs. This is also the time of year many of us decorate our homes with beautiful bouquets of cut flowers.  All species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat or dog—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora.

Dogs, especially puppies, love to chew on fun stuff they find in the yard! If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Here is a list of plants commonly found to be toxic to pets. Please note that the following is not a complete list. If you have a particular plant in mind for your home or yard, you should thoroughly research it first. Use the ASPCA’s online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets and gardens. If you suspect your pet has come into contact with a potential toxin, please contact your vet or poison control immediately.

US Poison Control Hotline (Human) 1-800-222-1222  Free

Pet Poison Control  888-232-8870 $35 fee

ASPCA Veterinary Poison Control   (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

Plants Poisonous to Dogs

One that really surprised me ·  Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)

Aloe Aloe vera vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, tremors, change in urine color
Amaryllis Amaryllis sp. vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, tremors
Apple and Crabapple Malus sylvestrus seeds, stems and leaves can result in red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting and shock
Autumn Crocus/Meadow Saffron Colchicum autumnale oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, organ damage, bone marrow suppression
Azalea/Rhododendron Rhododendron spp. vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, weakness, coma, death
Calla Lily/Trumpet Lily/Arum Lily Zantedeschia aethiopica oral irritation and pain, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Castor Bean/Castor Oil Plant Ricinus communis oral irritation and burning, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, convulsions; Note: beans are highly toxic
Chrysanthemum/Mum/Daisy Chrysanthemum spp. vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, loss of coordination, dermatitis
Cyclamen Cyclamen spp. excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, seizures, death
Daffodil/Narcissus Narcissus spp. vomiting, salvation, diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, heart arrhythmias
Dumbcane Dieffenbachia oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Elephant Ears Caladium hortulanum and Colocasia esculenta oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
English Ivy Hedera helix vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, diarrhea
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea heart arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, death
Hosta Hosta plataginea vomiting, diarrhea, depression
Hyacinth Hyacinthus orientalis vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors
Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens vomiting, diarrhea, depression
Iris Iris species excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy
Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis vomiting, irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, seizures
Marijuana/Hashish Cannabis sativa depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, excessive salivation, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizure, coma
Mistletoe/American Mistletoe Phoradendron flavescens gastrointestinal complications, cardiovascular collapse, difficulty breathing, slow heart rate, behavior changes, vomiting, diarrhea
Oleander Nerium oleander vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, collapse, cardiac failure
Peace Lily Spathiphyllum oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Philodendron Philodendron spp oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Pothos/Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Sago Palm Cycas revoluta, zamia species vomiting, black (tarry) stools, jaundice, increased thirst, bruising, blood clotting problems, liver damage, death
Schefflera Schefflera oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Tobacco Nicotiana glauca hyperexcitability then depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, paralysis
Tulip Tulipa species vomiting, depression, diarrhea, excessive salivation
Yew/Japanese Yew Taxus sp. sudden death from acute cardiac failure (early signs include muscular tremors, difficulty breathing, seizures

Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides

It is very easy to reach for a chemical pesticide, fertilizer or fungicide when faced with a problem in the lawn or garden. Fortunately for the average home gardener, safer alternatives are available for most commonly encountered problems, reducing the risk of a toxic exposure for your pet. If you notice damaging insects on your plants such as aphids, spider mites or thrips, these insects can be eliminated or reduced by a simple spray of water. These soft-bodied insects are easily dislodged. Adjust the nozzle of your hose so a firm spray will not harm your plants and wash them away. If you have only a few plants, use a good stream of water from your watering can and a little hand washing. It may take a day or two but an infestation can be cleared by no more than a good shower!

Soap and Water

If your insect problem is more serious, add a teaspoon of dish soap to a gallon of water and use it in a garden sprayer. The soap is an irritant to a lot of insects and can help break down the protective barriers of their external skeleton. There are commercial insecticidal soaps available that are less toxic than most chemical alternatives.

And Don’t Forget

Sometimes we forget the simplest things! Put your pets inside when mowing the lawn. A lawn mower can make a projectile out of a stick or rock that can injure your pet. Paint your garden tools a bright color such as red or yellow so you can see them out in the yard. Many pets step or trip on sharp garden implements. Store your chemicals out of reach and in their original containers. Don’t assume your pet will not be interested in consuming these products. If there is a toxic exposure or consumption, call your veterinarian immediately with the information from the product label. Keep your pets inside when applying any chemicals to the lawn or garden. With a little planning you and your pet can enjoy a safe and beautiful garden.

Have a great spring!

* Info Taken from  and

3 responses to “Deadly Beauty – Hidden Poisons in Your Yard

  1. I am confused by your list. It does not contain, and neither does the ASPCA list, the Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans). But right above your list you write, “One that really surprised me · Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)”. What is your reference for that statement, especially since it’s not in your list? I’ve seen a number of articles saying Trumpet Vine is poisonous, but I wonder if they are confusing it with Trumpet Lily, or something else with Trumpet in the name.

    There’s a lot of pressure to pump out blogs filled with info so I wonder if if this is bad info being propagated around — or if it is truly poisonous. I cannot find any “official” lists showing it to be toxic to people or dogs.

    But my new dog is eating the little dried out pods from the base of each flower, in our backyard. All recent previous owners of this house had dogs, so I’d think one of them would have killed the vine off the pergola by now if it poisoned their dogs.

    Can you help find the truth of this matter?

    • I am really glad that you made me aware of this because when I started to research it there was a lot of confusing information out on the web. What I discovered through research is that according to the department of Agriculture Trumpet vine (Campsis Radicans) is NOT toxic but Angel’s Trumpet (Datura wrightii) which is a member of the Nightshade family is extremely toxic. So there you go. Good to know.

  2. Deidre Daugherty

    I have been researching for toxicity on this plant because I was using the empty pods for an art project. I was handling the seeds and pods with my bare hands. I had intestinal problems the days I was handling them so I decide to do some research. The pods from my vine are long, narrow and smooth from 5″ to 10″ and look like a grean bean pod or pea pod.

    These warnings are for my less poisonous vine. In my research before I knew which plant I had, I learned some of the Trumpets are deadly and can cause a lot of painful physical effects by injesting or just touching and rubbing your eyes or mouth. There are some pretty graphic descriptions of the affects online.

    I’d recommend researching what plant you have and keep all your pets and children away from it until you know which plant you do have. Some websites suggest fencing it off to prevent pets and kids from touching it.

    I have copied and pasted some quotes about my least poisonous vine:

    1.USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center Warning: Contact with the leaves and flowers of trumpet creeper results in skin redness and swelling among mammals. It is also slightly toxic if ingested. Alternate Names Bignonia radicans, cow-itch, Gelseminum radicans, Tecoma radicans, Tecoma speciosa, trumpet flower, trumpet vine.

    2.The trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans), also referred to as chalice vine, is prized for its magnificent red blooms that grow in a trumpet shape. This flowering vine uses aerial rootlets, which are tiny roots that grab onto structures and other plants, to climb, but without anything to grab onto, the trumpet creeper will grow in the form of a small shrub. The fruit, foliage, flowers and sap are toxic and can cause mild to severe skin rashes and irritation if handled, according to University of California. Wear gloves when pruning and wash your hands immediately after handling any portion of the plant. The foliage is mildly toxic if eaten and causes digestive trouble.
    From SFGate

    3.”Warning: The sap of this plant can cause skin irritation on contact.”

    Hope this helps.

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