Poisonous Plants affecting Dogs
Ten tips for a Poison-Safe Household
- Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your pet's
yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, mistletoe, sago palm, Easter
lily, or yew plant material, by an animal, could be fatal.
- When cleaning your house, never allow your pet access to the area
where cleaning agents are used or stored. Cleaning agents have a
variety of properties. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while
others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth, and
- When using rat or mouse baits, ant or roach traps, or snail and
slug baits, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your
animals. Most baits contain sweet smelling inert ingredients, such as
jelly, peanut butter, and sugars, which can be very attractive to your
- Never give your animal any medications unless under the direction
of your veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans
can be deadly when used inappropriately. One extra strength
acetaminophen tablet (500mg) can kill a seven-pound cat.
- Keep all prescription and over the counter drugs out of your pets'
reach, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines,
anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are
common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal
even in small dosages. One regular strength ibuprofen (200mg) could
cause stomach ulcers in a ten-pound dog.
- Never leave chocolates unattended. Approximately one-half ounce or
less of baking chocolate per pound body weight can cause problems.
Even small amounts can cause pancreatic problems.
- Many common household items have been shown to be lethal in
certain species. Miscellaneous items that are highly toxic even in low
quantities include pennies (high concentration of zinc), mothballs
(contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. one or two balls can be
life threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener
sheets, automatic dish detergents (contain cationic detergents which
could cause corrosive lesions), batteries (contain acids or alkali
which can also cause corrosive lesions), homemade play dough (contains
high quantity of salt), winter heat source agents like hand or foot
warmers (contain high levels of iron), cigarettes, coffee grounds, and
- All automotive products such as oil, gasoline, and antifreeze,
should be stored in areas away from pet access. As little as one
teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be deadly in a
seven-pound cat and less than one tablespoon could be lethal to a
- Before buying or using flea products on your pet or in your
household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea
products are recommended for your pet. Read ALL information before
using a product on your animals or in your home. Always follow label
instructions. When a product is labeled "for use in dogs only" this
means that the product should NEVER be applied to cats. Also, when
using a fogger or a house spray, make sure to remove all pets from the
area for the time period specified on the container. If you are
uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer or
your veterinarian to clarify the directions BEFORE use of the
- When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides, or
insecticides, always keep your animals away from the area until the
area dries completely. Discuss usage of products with the manufacturer
of the products to be used. Always store such products in an area that
will ensure no possible pet exposure.
Jill A. Richardson, DVM.
Veterinary Poison Information Specialist
ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center
1717 Philo Road, Suite #36
Urbana, IL 61801
Click "Search Database" link to the left to see a detailed list of plants affecting dogs. Please do not assume that a plant is "safe" if it is not listed here. If your pup has eaten something you are not sure is safe, check with your veterinarian.