Is There Danger Lurking In Your Yard

Spring has come to the Pacific Northwest. My beautiful spring flowers are out and more are starting to appear everyday. The grass is starting to green up and looks lush.

Pretty right?

Yes, it is beautiful and I sure enjoy looking at those first signs of Spring popping up in the flower beds but did you know that there are many flowers, weeds, and toxins that are dangerous (even life threatening) to your dog in your yard??!!??


Dogs can be very energetic and curious creatures. Especially in the puppy stage, they like to put things in their mouth and chew on or consume things that they shouldn’t. Eating poisonous plants ranks in the top five dangers for our dogs. 

Grass is perfectly fine if your pet eats some, provided it has not been chemically treated. Some dogs seem to actually crave some greenery now and then. Make sure to keep dogs off any lawn that’s been treated regardless of whether they eat grass or not. Pets who wander around a treated lawn can still pick up chemicals on their paws which can be ingested when they clean themselves. 

Some garden flowers to watch out for are: Amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Begonia, Carnations, Castor Bean, Clematis, Crocus, Daffodil, Day Lilies, Gladiola, Hosta, Lily of the Valley, Morning Glory and Tulips. The list is by no means exhaustive, there are a number of other toxic plants, but this covers the top offenders.

Garden plants your pet shouldn’t chew on include potatoes, tomatoes, rhubarb and onions. 

Weeds to avoid with your pet are: Sorghum, Velvet Grass, Nightshade, Poke weed, Skunk Cabbage, and Milkweed. 

Symptoms to watch out for include sudden vomiting, diarrhea, heavy panting or breathing, acting like they are depressed and have no energy. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have. If you can’t immediately reach a vet call the ASPCA poison control center. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A fee of $60 may be charged to your credit card. But well worth the fast action they can provide. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, make the call that can make all the difference: (888) 426-4435.  You can also call the 24-hour Pet Poison Helpline at 1-888-426-4435. Identification of the plant is critical. Have the plant itself, the container, package or label available when on the phone or in the veterinarian’s office. If you don’t know what it is, the vet may know, but either way it can help determine exactly what the toxin is so the vet can properly treat your pet.

Dangerous plants are not just a problem if eaten. When we moved to Oregon we were warned about Foxtails. Foxtails weren’t found in Indiana so I immediately began to read up on them. What I read alarmed me!!  

Foxtails are among the most dangerous plants for dogs, and they aren’t necessarily eaten. This weed is primarily found west of the Mississippi River. Once the sharp, barbed seeds of the Foxtail stick and become embedded in your pet, they can cause abscesses and infection. If a seed goes up your dog’s nose – a common occurrence when sniffing – it can eventually travel to his brain and kill him. If you live in an area where Foxtails are common, check your dog and yourself thoroughly after outings. Inspect the paws and face especially carefully. If you find a Foxtail head, remove it carefully with tweezers. If the area appears swollen or you can’t get the seed head out, take your dog to the vet. Dogs who have inhaled Foxtails may suffer nasal discharge or frequent sneezing. 

Don’t think that the list is confined to weeds and flowers. Several shrubs and trees are also a danger to your precious pet. 

Scrubs that pose a treat include Rose of Sharon,Yew, Hydrangeas, Boxwood, Azaleas, and Rhododendrons. 

The common apple tree has leaves that are toxic according to the ASPCA. Oak tree leaves and acorns are another tree should not be eaten. The American Holly is also lethal to your sweet pooch. 

For more information on toxic outside plants, please check out this site. This is by no means a complete list of all 700 toxic plants, but it is a good place to start. If you have questions about a plant, talk with your vet.

But the first defense is a stroll around your yard or the place where you walk your dog.

While writing this post, Halia and I took a break in our back yard. I walked around the yard and determined some areas that need to be watched when she is out there and also some threats that need to be dealt with. 

We all want our precious pets to live a long and healthy life so let’s be their protector when it come to things that can harm them outside!!


6 thoughts on “Is There Danger Lurking In Your Yard

  1. What great info for those that need it. We just recently lost our dog, due to age, and miss him so much. You have to be really careful when you have them. We had our garden behind a fence and made sure that nothing was ever easy to access in other places. 🙂

  2. Very informative. We have several oleanders, and I know those are poisonous. Hard to avoid in the desert, though. I didn’t know apple leaves were dangerous to dogs – have those, too. We don’t let our dog outside on his own, though, mostly because I’m afraid he’ll destroy everything!

    Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays.

  3. OK wow, I had no idea of all these plants that were dangerous. We moved into our home a few years ago and I am still figuring out what is what in the yard… this is very helpful – thanks so much and thanks for linking up with #TuneInThursday this week. Sorry for my delay in stopping by, it has been a busy week 🙂

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