Poisonous plants to dogs: what to look out for
There are some really common plants that cause canine poisoning, especially spring bulbs. Incidents of poisoning from bulbs are most likely to occur when dogs dig up and eat the bulbs either in autumn when they are planted, or in spring when they begin to flower.
Daffodils (Narcissus species)
Effects from poisoning can include vomiting, stomach upset and salivation, but can escalate to dogs appearing sleepy, wobbly on their legs, or collapsing. In more serious cases it can result in changes to heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure, and even lead to a seizure. Dogs can also become unwell if the flowers are eaten, or if water from a vase containing daffodils is drunk.
Tulips (Tulipa species)
The toxins found in tulips cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract and usually only result in drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea. Serious cases are rare, but effects could include heart problems and breathing difficulties.
Crocus (Crocus species)
These flower in spring and are said to be of low toxicity and may only cause a mild stomach upset if eaten. These bulbs are not to be confused with autumn crocus, which flower in autumn and can cause severe stomach upset, kidney and liver problems and bone marrow depression.
Tomato plant (Solanum lycopersicum)
The favourite plant of many vegetable growers - the humble tomato is harmful to dogs. It's not surprising really, since this species is in the same family as deadly nightshade. Eating the leaves and stems can cause stomach pain, weakness, difficulty breathing and slow heart rate. The actual tomatoes are okay so long as they’re ripe.
Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
All parts of a rhododendron plant, including the leaves, stems and bloom, are toxic to dogs. Only a small amount of rhododendron is needed to cause health problems if your dog eats part of the plant. Small dogs will typically experience more severe toxic effects than large dogs eating the same amount of rhododendron.
What should I do if I think my dog's eaten a poisonous plant?
Don’t leave anything to chance - contact your vet immediately for advice and don’t wait for any possible symptoms to develop. The quicker you get medical attention for your dog, the more likely its chance of recovery.