Dangerous Plants For Pets: Here are the autumn plants and flowers that you need to keep your adorable dogs and cute cats away from - including Hydrangeas

With summer nearly over, thoughts are turning to autumn – and some new pet owners may not know that the season has hidden dangers for our four-legged friends.

Sometimes plants and pets are best kept apart.
Sometimes plants and pets are best kept apart.

If you have a dog or cat, you’re probably already aware that many plants can be dangerous — and sometimes even outright poisonous — for your furry pals.

However it can be confusing to know what to look out for at any given time of the year.

To help keep your pooches and kitties safe pet health experts Bob Martin are shining a light on some of the plants you’ll need to look out for during the coming season, allowing you to be one step ahead in keeping your pet safe.

With a few pointers, you can also monitor your pet so that you know when they might have ingested an unsafe substance to ensure they get medical attention as soon as possible.

Bob Martin’s Chris Socratous explained: “It can be overwhelming trying to keep track of all the plants that your pet needs to steer clear of and you’re never going to be able to protect them from these hazards 100 per cent of the time. That said, there are several helpful things you can do to help minimise the risk.

“If you suspect that your dog or cat might have eaten something harmful, call your vet immediately for advice. It can also help to keep a note of any toxic plants that are in your local area, so that if you do see any symptoms in your pet, you have a good idea what may have caused it before speaking with your vet.”

Here’s the experts’ important advice.

Plants harmful to dogs

While there are lots of plants that are harmful to both cats and dogs, there are some where it can differ depending on the species. This is particularly important to note, as you’ll be taking your dog on walks, whilst your cat will probably be roaming closer to home. The upside of this is that you can typically supervise a dog much more than a cat, so having a heads-up on what plants are harmful can be extremely useful.

Conkers and acorns

Your pup might be tempted to take a nibble on acorns or conkers during their walk, however it’s worth noting that these are actually extremely harmful. Acorns are toxic for dogs, and in large quantities can be fatal. Luckily they also taste bad, so most of the time dogs don’t actually consume them. While they are less poisonous, conkers can cause moderate stomach issues when eaten in large quantities. Your dog might become lethargic and lose their appetite if they have consumed too many.

Yew trees

Yew trees are toxic to many animals, and both their berries and needles are harmful for dogs. It’s more likely that your dog will be interested in nibbling the berries rather than the prickly needles, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on your pooch whenever they’re in the vicinity of this tree. If eaten, both the berries and foliage (though particularly the needles) can cause dizziness, abdominal cramps, dry mouth, and vomiting.


Though hydrangeas might look beautiful and be a highlight of the end of summer and early autumn, they can also be extremely poisonous to our four-legged friends. You might not realise that however beautiful the flowers are, this plant contains cyanide. Your dog will be harmed by consuming any part of the plant, so watch them closely when these bushes are in the area and ensure that your pup is kept on the lead when necessary. Hydrangea poisoning symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, and diarrhoea.

Plants harmful to cats

While some harmful plants are common between cats and dogs, it’s important to remember that cats roam in different places. Taking note of what plants are in your neighbours’ gardens and being aware of poisoning signs is more important for cats, as you can’t supervise them at all times.

Autumn crocus

You might know the Autumn crocus by another name: naked lady or meadow saffron. This plant is also poisonous to dogs and horses, but it’s particularly toxic to cats because of alkaloid colchicine content. All parts of the plant are highly poisonous, and the effect is not contained to the flower or leaf. Cats that eat the crocus might show signs of gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhoea, drooling, and vomiting. They might also display breathing difficulties, kidney and liver damage, or even seizures. While symptoms might appear straight after ingestion of the plant, they may also appear a few days afterwards, so keep an eye on your cat’s eating habits to check they are normal.

Azaleas and rhododendrons

Azaleas and rhododendrons are also toxic to cats, and in this family of shrubs the harmfulness ranges from moderate to severe. Symptoms can be caused by only ingesting a tiny part of the plant, and include lack of appetite, vomiting, drooling and diarrhoea as well as weakness and tremors. If you have this species in your own garden, don’t let your cat come into contact with it or even consider removing it if your cat likes to climb. If you spot a bush nearby, take time to monitor your kitty to ensure they aren’t displaying any discomfort.


Cyclamen are also known as sowbread and Persian violets, and are a lovely spot of bright colour in this season. However, they can be quite harmful to cats. While all parts of the plant contain the toxic compound (saponins) the whole plant is considered poisonous, though to a lesser degree. If a small amount of the plant is ingested, symptoms include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhoea, while a cat that has eaten large quantities might experience an abnormal heart rate, seizures and even death. Look out for when these plants flower, and dig any tubers up that are in your garden to ensure your cat doesn’t stumble upon them and become curious.

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