Dogs | Cats | October 26, 2016

Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats

Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats

There are many many poisonous plants for dogs and cats which can cause your pet to become very ill or even kill them.  Whether it’s mushrooms that sprout in your garden, or an innocuous-looking houseplant, it’s essential to arm yourself with the knowledge to prevent unnecessary suffering for your four legged family member.

Here are some poisonous plants that you should watch out for


Fall is a time of year when people who know how to properly identify mushrooms, can take advantage of the tasty treats that nature has to offer. Sadly, many pets also find mushrooms to be a tasty treat, often to their detriment or even their demise. The almost overnight appearance of the deadly Amanita phalloides or ‘Death Cap’ mushroom on my own front lawn this week has made me realize just how easy it would be to end up with a dead dog. All it would take is a very small amount ingested (about 3 grams) to kill my precious furry best friend. Toxic Amanita mushrooms attack the body by inhibiting the formation of certain proteins in the liver and kidney, leading to coma and death. Death Cap mushrooms are an invasive species that can be found all over North America.

IMPORTANT: When it comes to mushrooms you are best to clear your yard of them entirely, regardless of variety, to make sure no heartbreaking accidents occur.

Here are the most common toxic mushrooms you need to avoid at all costs:

  • Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria); is the classic toadstool of fairy tales and legend. Don’t let it’s colourful appearance fool you, though. These mushrooms have bright red caps with white spots and are renowned for their toxicity and hallucinogenic properties.
  • Jeweled Death Cap (Amanita Gemmata); is the cousin to the Death Cap mushroom. It has a yellowish cap with white spots or ‘warts’. It can be deadly and is often misidentified.
  • Elf’s saddle (Helvella Lacunosa); has a grey ‘saddle’ and a lighter coloured stem and can often be found in wooded areas. Not much is known about it and reports of it’s toxicity vary, but this mushroom should be avoided.
  • Autumn Galerina (Galerina Maginata); These are nondescript brown mushrooms that like to grow on lawns or decaying wood. They will often pop up after a heavy rain, even in sawdust. These mushrooms are as deadly as the Death Cap, so stay away!

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a toxic or poisonous mushroom, make sure you take the mushroom with you when you take your pet to the vet so they may identify what type of toxin or poison they are dealing with.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can be:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Read More: Dog First Aid: What Every Owner Should Know

Other Plants to Avoid:

Beyond the challenge of keeping your pet away from mushrooms in the fall, there are a host of everyday plants which your pet will also need to steer clear of:

  • Autumn Crocus (not to be confused with springtime crocuses)
  • Azaleas
  • Cyclamen
  • Calanchoe
  • Lilies (true lilies like Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies)
  • Oleander
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Daffodils
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulips
  • Hyacinths
  • Poinsettias

These plants have varying degrees and types of toxins but regardless are cause for concern should your dog or cat decide to nosh or nibble. Immediate veterinary attention is crucial. Don’t let your beloved furry friend be a victim. Clear your yard of all mushrooms and be careful what kind of plants you keep in your garden and your house.