Plant a Dog-Friendly Garden

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Plant a Dog-Friendly Garden

Dog-Safe Greenery

Whether planning a garden or bringing a little outdoors in, knowing the difference between safe and toxic plants is crucial to the health of your dog. Unfortunately, dogs aren't able to distinguish between what's good and what's bad. That's why you must take care to plan to have only those plants, herbs and flowers that aren't harmful rather than picking ones just because they're pretty.

Common Plants That Are Toxic to Dogs

Plant toxicity can exist in some unexpected places. While far from exhaustive, here are a few of the plants and flowers you may already have in your garden that should be kept away from your dog.

Azalea

Azaleas, also known as rhododendrons or rosebays, contain grayantoxinare. This toxin is risky for dogs and it doesn't take much to get them sick. Not only can eating a small leaf cause vomiting, diarrhea and drooling, but it can also lead to cardiac distress.

Crocus

There are two types of crocus flowers: the Autumn Crocus and the Spring Crocus. Both can cause vomiting and diarrhea. However, the Autumn Crocus is particularly dangerous, since it contains colchicine. This toxin can cause internal bleeding and damage to the liver and kidneys, and brings a risk of respiratory failure.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen contains substances called terpenoid saponins. These toxins also cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs, but ingesting a large amount can result in heart abnormalities, seizures or death.

Dieffenbachia

A deep green and tropical plant, dieffenbachia can cause your dog oral distress. The plant's toxic elements burn the mouth and may lead to drooling, vomiting and trouble swallowing.

Daffodil

A common sight with the changing seasons, daffodils have alkaloids that cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and tremors. Although the entire plant is potentially toxic for your dog, daffodil bulbs are a particular hazard.

Kalanchoe

When swallowed, kalanchoe can cause typical symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, as well as heart rhythm abnormalities. In addition, because this plant contains cardiac glycosides, ingestion may lead to death.

Lily

There are many varieties of lily, some of which cause your dog to have tremors, depression and gastrointestinal upset. Stay away from lilies of the valley, peace lilies, calla lilies and amaryllis for the welfare of your pooch.

Oleander

A common plant in warm climates, oleander is yet another beautiful flower that contains cardiac glycoside toxins. In addition to nausea, vomiting, seizure and tremors, oleander can lead to abnormal heart rate and cardiac arrhythmias in canines.

Peony

It is the paeonol toxin in the peony bark that may cause vomiting and diarrhea in your pooch. Thankfully, this usually only causes mild distress, but it's best kept away from any dog.

Periwinkle

This star-shaped flower contains toxic alkaloids, such as yohimbine, vincristine and vinblastine, which may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and tremors. While most reactions are mild, periwinkle is highly dangerous for your dog if he eats too much.

Safe Plants for Dogs

Thankfully, there are many types of greenery that are both beautiful and safe for your dog. Here is just a sampling of the kinds of plants you can use in your landscaping or interior decor without worrying about possible risk to your fur baby.

African Violet

A compact, purple flower commonly placed on windowsills, pet owners can rest assured their dog is safe even if Fido decides to put a little bit of this plant in his mouth.

Aluminum Plant

Also known as a watermelon plant, the aluminum plant has a similar look to dieffenbachia, without the toxicity. This greenery is safe for your canine and feline family members alike.

Astragalus

Harvested from mature plants in traditional medicine, astragalus may help to boost your dog's immune system.

Bamboo

Although regular bamboo won't cause harm to your dog, beware of heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo. These are decorative species that may be toxic.

Burdock Herb

Burdock is a traditional medicinal plant used worldwide. Many dog owners believe it supports a dog's health. If you choose to plant burdock, a rich soil works best. Prune regularly to keep it at a reasonable size.

Peppermint

Generally safe for dogs, some canines actually like to chew the leaves of the peppermint plant to aid digestion. It can also help freshen breath.

Rosemary

Rosemary is ideal for the indoor gardener, as long as it is trimmed regularly. One of the hardiest of the perennials, it will keep providing you with savory flavor through the winter months. Best of all, rosemary is non-toxic for your dog.

Sage

Another addition to the herb garden, sage should not cause any problems for your dog. The plant and its leaves are non-toxic to canines.

Spider Plant

A spider plant is not toxic for your dog, but if you come home to find it overturned and your pooch with some stomach queasiness, he may have just overindulged.

Sunflower

Nothing says summer like a sunflower, and your dog will welcome these plants as well. They won't cause him any distress, even if he goes in for a bite.

It can be scary to think of your beloved family member in medical distress because he ingested something he shouldn't. The good news is that with quick intervention you can help your canine to stay well.

If you suspect that your dog has gotten into a toxic plant, call the Pet Poison Helpline and seek medical care at your local veterinarian. Bring a photo or sample of the plant if you can't identify it, and remember to stay calm and focused on your dog's well-being.

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  • Dana S
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