Good dogs have been waiting patiently for spring just like their people have, and it's a relief to let them out to expend some of that energy. But first you'll want to make sure you're keeping your furry friends safe, especially because a lovely garden can harbor a number of dangers. If you're ready to exercise your green thumb, plan to either keep Fido out of the garden or bone up on your knowledge of plants that are toxic to dogs.
How do you know what's safe and what's dangerous in the plant world? The list of toxic flowers, shrubs, trees, and vines reaches into the hundreds, and includes many that are popular among gardeners. A comprehensive list is available on the ASPCA website, but here are a few of the more common culprits and the symptoms they can cause if consumed.
If you suspect you dog has gotten into one of the plants below, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. They get nearly 14,000 calls a year related to pet scares from the garden and can help with quick, possibly life-saving guidance. But filed under better safe than sorry, it's wise to also train your dog to stay out of the garden altogether. Even if you don't grow any potentially harmful plants, do you really need four paws flinging soil everywhere?
These deciduous or evergreen shrubs burst into pink and crimson blooms in warmer months. Colorful azaleas may be a good thing with their profusion of vibrant blooms, but they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and cardiac failure.
Doubling as houseplants, these tropical flowering plants feature striking leaves ranging from half an inch to a foot in measured length, and bright petals. Begonias are popular both indoors and outside (especially in container gardening or as landscaping), but hiding below the spectacular leaves are toxic parts that can result in vomiting.
Bright yellow or white blooms mark these perennial bulbs. Their cheerful appearance notwithstanding, the springtime favorite daffodil (particularly the bulb) is toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea in small amounts, while convulsions and cardiac arrhythmia can result from larger ingestions.
Named for its blooming bells that resembled gloves, these flowering plants come in an array of colors and can grow several feet high. The garden favorite foxglove features lovely, colorful blooms, but all parts of the flower are toxic. Poisoning can cause cardiac arrhythmia and failure, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.
With massive flower heads, these elegant flowering shrubs may bloom in shades of pink, lavender, blue, and more—all on the same plant. Gorgeous hydrangeas can bring a rainbow of colors to your garden, but can lead to vomiting and diarrhea for dogs.
Lavender is prized for its fragrance; lemon verbena features tiny sprays of flowers; mint plants make the best juleps; and the perennial herb oregano grows deeper green leaves. Herbs like lavender, lemon verbena, mint, and oregano may make for a fun kitchen garden, but keep your pup away or risk vomiting or diarrhea.
Show-stopping lilies feature large and showy, often trumpet-shaped, blooms crowning tall stems and come in striking colors. Learn your lilies; certain kinds of the colorful flowers are toxic, including amaryllis, calla lily, lily of the valley, snake lily (iris), climbing lily, and peace lily. Symptoms vary depending on the plant, but can include vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and seizures.
Growing many feet tall, this shrub or small tree has profuse blooms in a variety of brilliant colors. While the low-maintenance ornamental shrub oleander makes for an excellent garden border, if your dog is prone to exploring then know that all parts of the plant are toxic and can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, or death.
From spreading groundcover to 100-foot tall trees, these woody landscape plants come in hundreds of species and a range of colors. Rhododendrons are popular for screening, but even a few leaves can cause severe symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, coma, cardiovascular collapse, or death.
The popular backyard crop features lush foliage in addition to its delicious main attraction. Tomatoes are a tempting fruit to add to your garden, but if your pup gets into the plant, it can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, depression, weakness, and slow down heart rate.
A sign of spring, the jewel-toned flowers have a cup-shaped blossom. Tulips may make for a charming springtime arrangement, but toxins found especially in the bulb can lead to vomiting, depression, and diarrhea.
This hardy perennial produces tightly-packed flower heads in white, pink, red, or yellow atop ferny foliage. Yarrow may be easy to grow, but if you add the showy flowers to your garden, be aware they can cause vomiting and diarrhea.