If your dog ingests a potentially dangerous plant, food or product, take them to a veterinary clinic immediately. Prompt treatment can mean the difference between life and death. If you are unsure whether it is poisonous or not, it is best to seek medical advice just in case.



Chocolate, Coffee and Caffine

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Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine that can cause vomiting in small doses and potential death if ingested in larger quantities. The more cocoa that is in the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Dark chocolate and cooking chocolate are more toxic than milk or white chocolate. The severity will depend on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and the size of the dog. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.

Excitability, fast heart rate, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and potential death.


Rasins, Sultanas and Grapes

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These fruits can induce kidney failure. Even a small number can cause problems in some dogs.

Depression, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, diarrhoea, increased drinking or urination. Signs are due to kidney failure. 



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The fruit and seed pit in avocadoes contain a toxic element called persin which can damage the heart, lung and other tissues. They are high in fat content and can trigger vomiting or even pancreatitis. The seed pit if swallowed can become lodged in the intestinal tract where it may cause a severe blockage.

Diarrhoea, vomiting, laboured breathing, pancreatitis. Can be potentially fatal.


Fruit Pits and Seeds

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Apple seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which can cause cyanide poisoning. The raw fruit is safe but not the core or seeds

Similarly apricot, peach, cherry stones etc also contain these chemicals which cause cyanide poisoning.

Diarrhoea, vomiting, laboured breathing.


Onions and Garlic

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Onions contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate which causes hemolytic anemia and damage to the red blood cells. Onions should not be fed to dogs in any form. Due to damage to the red blood cells symptoms may be seen within 24 hours to several days after ingestion.

Pale gums, fast heart rate, rapid breathing, depression, weakness, red coloured urine, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

While garlic also contains the same toxic ingredient, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be consumed to cause illness.


Macadamia Nuts and Macadamia Butter

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The toxic element is unknown but eating just a few nuts can be dangerous. 

Pale gum colour, elevated body temperature, depression, vomiting, tremors, pain, inability to stand up, weakness and paralysis. 



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Mushroom poisoning can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are consumed. The most dangerous type of mushroom is the Amanita phalloides which contain amanitin toxins. Other Amanita species are also toxic.

Depression, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, poor coordination, collapse. In severe cases toxicity can lead to liver failure, kidney failure and death. 


Tomatoes and Potatoes 

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Unripened or green tomatoes and tomato plants contain a toxin called solanine. Ripe tomatoes themselves are fine. Green potatoes and sprouting potaotes can cause the same problem. A bit of cooked or mashed potato is fine. 

Gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, weakness and confusion.


Sugar Free Foods

Sugar free foods such as lollies, gum etc contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs.

Rapid drop in blood sugar, weakness and seizures. Liver failure has been reported.


Corn on the Cob

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Corn unlike most vegetables does not digest well in a dog's stomach. If your dog swallows large chunks of the cob, or even whole, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to its size and shape.

Vomiting, loss of appetite, absence of faeces or diarrhoea and abdominal pain.



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Alcohol is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans. When consumed, even small quantities of alcoholic beverages and food products can be potentially harmful.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, blood changes, coma and even death. 


Mouldy Food

Mouldy food, including bread, nuts and dairy products, contain toxins such as penicillium mould toxins and tremorenic mycotoxins that could potentially make your dog very ill. Dispose of leftovers carefully and be careful to keep your food waste bin well out of their reach.

Seizures, tremors

Spoiled foods can cause food poisoning resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea.


Yeast Dough

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Yeast dough can cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system as a result of the dough rising. Not only can this be painful but it may also cause the stomach or intestines to become blocked. 

Abdominal pain, bloating of the abdomen, difficulty walking, depression, coma and possible death. 


Milk Products

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As dogs do not have significant amounts of the enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose in milk, feeding your dog milk and other milk-based products can cause digestive problems.

Vomiting, diarrhoea.



Salty foods such as chips or pretzels are not good for your dog. Eating too much salt induces thirst which can lead to sodium ion poisoning

Vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, high temperature, tremors and seisures.



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This appears in various foods, especially those eaten around Christmas. Avoid feeding ginger bread and nutmeg laced products.

Nutmeg is reported to be a hallucinogenic when ingested in large doses and has been known to cause tremors, seizures and in some cases, death.

Other common pantry items such as baking powder and baking soda are highly toxic to dogs. Ensure that all these products are safely out of the way in sealed containers.


Cooked Bones and Fatty Foods

DO NOT FEED COOKED BONES. They can be very hazardous for your dog. They can become brittle when cooked which causes them to splinter. The splinters have sharp edges that can become stuck in the teeth, cause choking or rupture or puncture the stomach lining or intestinal tract. 

Choking signs: Pale gums, gasping for breath, pawing at the face, slow, shallow breathing, unconscious with dilated pupils.

Raw bones (uncooked) are generally considered safe and help maintain healthy teeth by removing plaque. However don't feed too many bones as they have a high calcium content and can cause severe constipation.

Rich, fatty foods like chicken skin, bacon, sausages etc can also be very dangerous to dogs susceptible to attacks of pancreatitis. 

Vomiting (sometimes with diarrhoea) and abdominal pain. 


Other Dangers In The Home

Be aware that other hazards inside the home include:

Moth balls

Household cleaning products


Human medications



Dogs are inquisitive by nature and while the majority of plants are harmless, some plants vary in their level of toxicity to dogs and can be potentially fatal if ingested.

It can be beneficial to know those common plants that pose a potential threat to the well being of your pet. Although this does not represent a complete list of all poisonous plants, the following is a guide to some of the most common.


Aloa Vera

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Although considered a medicinal plant for humans, the leaves of the aloe vera plant have a mild to moderate level of toxicity.         

Vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, depression, anorexia, tremors, change in urine colour.                                 


Caster Bean

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Ricin is a highly toxic component of this plant and all parts are lethal. Even the tiniest amount such as a seed can be fatal. 

Oral irritation, increase in thirst, vomiting , diarrhoea, kidney failure, convulsions, difficulty breathing, progressive central nervous system depression, coma and death. 


Asparagus Fern

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Asparagus fern, also known as emerald feather and lace fern, is mild to moderate in toxicity.

Allergic dermatitis, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain.


Elephant's Ear

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All parts are toxic.

Upset stomach, drooling, oral irritation, decreased appetite, vomiting, potential difficulty in breathing. 


Tulips and Hyacinths   

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Although the leaves and flowers are toxic, the bulb portions contain the highest portions of the toxins.

Drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions.                              



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The philodendron family, which includes Swiss cheese plant, heartleaf and fiddle-leaf philodendron, have a mild to moderate level of toxicity. 

Oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.                                             



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Extremely toxic including its bark, leaves and seeds. If consumed it can be fatal. A dog can consume a potentially lethal dose while playing with branches or sticks. 

Dizziness, muscular tremors, laboured breathing, seizures, heart failure, sudden death. 



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All parts are toxic.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, weakness, paralysis of the muscles, depression of the nervous system and potentially death.                                                           



Although the entire plant is toxic to dogs, the bulb contains the highest level of toxin.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, convulsions and a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.



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Leaves, seeds, flowers.

Cardiac arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakenss, heart failure and death.



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The leaves of any popular ivy plants, including English ivy and Devil's ivy have moderate toxicity to pets. The leaves are more toxic than the berries.

Mouth and stomach irritation, excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, vomiting, diarrhoea.


Morning Glory 

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If large amounts are ingested, particularly the seeds, the plant can be very toxic.

Incoordination, diarrhoea, anemia, liver failure.                                             



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Leaves, roots or berries. This plant contains toxic alkloids, including atropine which causes severe toxicity in dogs.

Excessive drooling, loss of appetite,  inflammation of the stomach and intestine, vomiting,  diarrhoea,  drowsiness, confusion,  tremors,  difficulty breathing,  slow heart rate, progressive paralysis, death .



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Acorns and foliage.

Vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes kidney faliure.                                                                 



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The entire plant is toxic.

Vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea, nausea, weakness, loss of coordination and depression of the central nervous system. Severe poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.



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Seeds, pods.

Severe vomiting and diarrhoea, abdominal pain, collapse.                                            



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Lilies (such as Peace lily, Calla lily, Easter lily, Tiger lily,  Asiatic Lily, Amaryllis) are highly toxic and potentially fatal to cats. Some types are also very toxic to dogs. The entire plant is toxic.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, stomach pain, depression, difficulty swallowing, kidney damage, kidney failure, multiple organ failure.



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Considered a weed in Australia, all parts of the plant are extremely toxic.  

Depression, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, loss of appetite, shock, abdominal swelling, paralysis, possible liver failure.      



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Berries. Just a few berries are enough to kill puppies.

Drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain.



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The entire plant but especially the leaves. 

Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, oral blisters, tremors, seizures, paralysis (rare).                                                  



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All parts of the plant are toxic, however, the highest concentration of the toxin is in the root portion of the plant. 

Vomiting drooling and diarrhoea. Fatalities have also been reported due to heart rhythm abnormalities and seizures. 



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The leaves and flowers are toxic.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, as well as abnormalities of the heart rate and rhythm.                                                       



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All parts including dried leaves are extremely toxic.

Fatal heart abnormalities, muscle tremors, vomiting, incoordination and bloody diarrhoea. Can be fatal.


Sago Palm

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Sago palms (cycads) are commonly found in tropical and ornamental gardens. All parts of the plant are highly toxic to dogs but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. 

Vomiting, diarrhoea, black tarry faeces, liver damage, liver failure, multiple organ failure. Can be fatal.                               


Lily of the Valley

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The leaves and flowers are toxic.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, a drop in heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, seisures and potentially even death.


Autumn Crocus 

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Although the entire plant is dangerous to dogs, the most toxic part is the bulb

Drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea (may contain blood), seizures, liver and kidney damage, respiratory failure and potentially death.                                          

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)

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The entire plant. Avoid contact of the plant sap with eyes or skin. 

Vomiting, oral irritation, loss of balance, asphyxiation, tremors, seizures and potentially death.                                                 



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The berry, bark and leaves.   

Drooling, vomiting, ulceration and blistering of the mouth, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and colic.  


Larkspur (Young Plants and Seeds)

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All parts of the plant are extremely toxic.

Colic, neuromuscular paralysis, muscle tremors, stiffness, weakness, convulsions, heart faliure and death from respiratory failure.



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Rash and skin irritation, possible vomiting and diarrhoea.


Other Dangers In The Garden

Be aware that other dangers in the garden include:




Rodent and snail bait


Contact Details

Meg Hardy
Camberwell, VIC, Australia
Phone : 0413 506 424
Email : [email protected]