These common home and garden plants are actually poisonous to dogs

Do you have these plants in your garden? (Picture: Getty/

For many us our our gardens and our house plants are our pride and joy.

They bring some much-needed greenery and colour to our living spaces, and they make our homes look decidedly more Instagrammable.

But what many of us aren’t considering is how our love of plants and flowers could be dangerous for our four-legged friends.

More than 65% of UK dogs , approximately 7.8 million, are exposed to poisonous plants in their very own gardens.

It’s well known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but – according to research released by charity Guide Dogs – more than half (51%) of UK dog owners aren’t aware that popular plants can pose an even greater threat to pets.

Don’t cheap out on training time. Make training fun and frequent. Keep training light and fun. Don’t get demanding with your dog. Instead, go with the flow. See what develops. Trust that if you do this long enough, you’re going to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Only a third of owners (36%) know to keep their eyes on their dogs while they sniff around the back yard.

Only half of dog owners have thought about which plants are poisonous when planning their gardens, in spite of the fact third of owners (32%) admit they have caught their dogs eating plants before.

Perilous plants are not limited to the garden either – the common household Sago Palm is so toxic to dogs that one seed alone ingested from this dwarf tropical tree could result in death, yet only 10% of owners are aware of this and 4% even have the poisonous plant in their home.

It’s not so black and white. It’s a myth that dogs only see in black and white. In fact, it’s believed that dogs see primarily in blue, greenish-yellow, yellow and various shades of gray.

A further four in 10 (39%) of dog owners are oblivious that certain plants can induce sickness when ingested, and over half (51%) are not aware it could even prove fatal. Other symptoms as a result of poisoning are diarrhoea, excessive drooling, lethargy and difficulty swallowing.

The most popular plants that pose a risk

  1. Daffodils
  2. Tulips
  3. Clematis
  4. Geranium
  5. Hydrangeas
  6. Bluebells
  7. Snowdrops
  8. Rhododendrons
  9. Irises
  10. Azaleas

The charity advises that owners also need to watch out for substances such as insecticides and poisons used in treating common garden nuisances (used by 39% of dog owners) that can be potentially toxic to dogs.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Former Michael Vick dogs, Sox and Hector, are certified therapy dogs. They now spend their days cheering up people at hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

One in five dog owners have unwittingly used slug pellets in their garden, unaware that commonly available types can be fatal to their dogs and cause severe symptoms within an hour.

Pink Azalea Blossoms
Avoid azaleas. (Picture: Getty)
Close-up image of the beautiful summer flowering Climbing Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ on a garden trellis
Clematisis also a no-no. (Credits: Getty Images)

Owners also need to be aware that like humans, dogs can be struck by hay fever – and don’t even need to ingest plant substances to experience negative effects.

Many dog owners have seen their dog suffer with skin itchiness (22%), coughing (14%) and swollen eyes and noses (9%) due to allergies to airborne pollen, grass and trees. However, as few as four in 10 (43%) knew that this can be easily treated.

Make Yourself the Funnest Thing in the World for a Reliable Recall. When training your dog to “come here” make sure you’re giving out a lot of praise & treats. The goal is to make coming back to you the best decision they could have made, if not your dog is likely going to decide that whatever he was chasing/sniffing is more interesting.

‘It’s important owners put your dog’s welfare front of mind when planning a garden,’ says Dr Helen Whiteside, head of research at Guide Dogs.

‘As much as you would consider light and soil type when buying plants, ensure you think of dog friendliness too.

‘Our canine companions are curious by nature and explore the world through their hypersensitive sense of smell and taste – if you invite a dog to share your home you have to ensure it is a safe space for them too. Make sure you check the labels carefully and do your research on what plants will work best.’

Move over Rover! 45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed (we’re pretty sure a large percentage also hog the blankets!)

How to make sure your garden is dog-friendly

Award-winning garden designer Jonathan Smith has shared his top tips on how to make your house and garden and pooch-friendly paradise:
  1. Toxic trees:Trees can pack a lot of poison. The main ones to steer clear of are Bird Cherry (Prunus Avium), Horse Chestnut and Oak. But the number one poisonous tree is the Yew, so make sure you definitely don’t have this in your garden.
  2. Bothersome bulbs:Bulbs can be tempting for dogs due to their ball shape and the fact they are buried, however many are poisonous including hyacinths, daffodils, alliums and tulips.
  3. Check the positioning: Adapt the position of plants to keep dangers out of reach. Most dogs won’t usually eat ivy, but it can be potentially hazardous if eaten in very large quantities. So, if you have large quantities of ivy, especially with berries, consider cutting them back away from ground level.
  4. Quantity control: Be very aware of what you have in your garden. For example, though apples are generally safe for dogs to eat, in large quantities they can be potentially hazardous due to the seeds. Aim to reduce the number of apple trees you have or clear up the fallen apples in the autumn, so they don’t all get eaten.
  5. Safe for summer: For lots of colour, plants like roses, lilies, hollyhocks and camelias are very dog-safe.
  6. Perfect pots:For pots, borders and hanging baskets go for bedding plants like snapdragons, petunias, salvias, fuchsias and sunflowers.
  7. Go-to greenery: Choose a native, mixed Hawthorn hedge, which is not only good for wildlife but is also a lot more dog-friendly than Laurel hedges which are often toxic (with the exception of Bay). For lower lying foliage, grasses and ferns are generally good dog safe options.

Get Your Dog Microchipped For a Permanent Identifier. A scan of your dogs microchip will give all of your personal information to help with a speedy reunion, just remember to update your information with the microchip company if you move. (microchips are also one of the ways a court can make a decision regarding ownership of a dog, if it ever came to that)

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected] .

The lifestyle email from

The Fix

Get your need-to-know lifestyle news and features straight to your inbox.

Not convinced? Find out more