5 Types of Plants in New York That Are Toxic To Dogs

Types of Plants in New York That Are Toxic To Dogs
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.com

Taking care of your dog can be tricky when living in New York. If you live in the city, there are challenges associated with smaller living spaces: rules and laws, crowded streets, and traffic. Take care to keep your furry friend safe when outdoors. 

Whether you’re out exploring New York’s green spaces or strolling through the streets and gardens in an urban neighborhood, it’s easy to come across potentially toxic plants. Educate yourself and keep an eye out for these poison plants so you can find them before your dog does. While these plants can be appealing to the eye and seemingly harmless to humans, they can cause serious injury or even death to your dog.

5 Common New York Plants That Are Toxic to Dogs

Here are a few common New York plants to be aware of that are toxic to dogs:

  • Sago Palm  

Cycas revoluta is a highly toxic plant because only a tiny dosage has the potential to be lethal to a large dog. The toxin is present in the entire plant but is concentrated in the seeds, or nuts. 

Symptoms often start as soon as fifteen minutes after ingestion and include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, and liver failure. These ornamental plants don’t fare well outdoors during New York’s long winters but are a popular potted plant decorating many front porches and stoops during the summer.

  • Azaleas or rhododendrons

Azalea is a pretty plant to look at, but it contains a powerful neurotoxin. Every part of this flowering bush contains this toxin. Ingestion of a toxic dose of azalea or rhododendron leads to gastrointestinal upset, cardiac abnormality, weakness, paralysis and death.

  • Autumn Crocus

The autumn crocus looks like a crocus but is actually part of the lily family. While the autumn crocus was originally a European flower, it is common in the New York area. This purple and yellow flower contains a poison that causes severe digestive upset and potentially lethal organ failure.  

  • Oleander

Oleander is a common decorative plant in summer gardens. If you have dogs, this is one flower you will want to skip, as ingesting only a small amount of oleander can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias. The toxin in oleander is so potent that even consuming water contaminated with leaves or petals can be dangerous.

  • Tulips

Tulips are moderately toxic for dogs and no part of the plant should be freely consumed. However, in addition to the toxins they contain, ingesting the bulbs of a tulip can cause severe intestinal blockage requiring surgery to remove.

When to call poison control

The best way to help a dog who is certain to have ingested a dangerous amount of a toxic plant is to get him to throw it up as quickly as possible. Call an animal poison control hotline or a vet immediately if you’re sure your dog just ate a substantial amount of a poisonous plant.

Delaying treatment until a dog is showing symptoms from eating a toxic plant decreases the chances of having a good outcome. Attempting to induce vomiting at home is risky and may waste valuable time if it doesn’t work, but poison control or an emergency vet will guide you through any immediate steps you should take depending on your situation.

Keep in mind that the amount of plant material eaten usually determines the severity of the consequences. A dog who eats well under the toxic dose of a poisonous plant might not get sick at all. It’s difficult to know if your dog ingested enough of a toxin to be dangerous, but it’s better to err on the side of caution in a potential emergency.

What about a non-emergency situation?

If you witness your dog eat a plant that is known to be toxic, it should always be treated as an emergency situation even if they are not displaying symptoms. If you have not witnessed your dog eating a toxic plant, but they have been displaying mild symptoms, you can book a virtual care appointment to help you get the right info for making a decision on what to do next.

The symptoms caused by poisonous plants may look the same as several other conditions, so it’s not always easy to know if your dog is sick from eating a plant or from something else. A virtual appointment can help you to determine what steps you need to take.

If you worry about toxic plant ingestion because your dog has an unusual appetite for plants, a vet at Vetster can help you to determine what may be causing this behavior. They can work with you to come up with a plan to curb the behavior before it can cause damage to your dog’s health.

Finally, here’s a short clip with a few more plants you should avoid having your dog around:


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