When you’re planting your garden or walking past your neighbor’s gardens, it’s important to consider your dog’s health. There are some very common plants that can hurt your dog and cause anything from nausea to very serious effects that require veterinarian intervention.

1. Begonias

These bright, full-sun flowers are often sold in containers at the beginning of summer. They are also fairly common in garden beds. They contain sodium-calcium oxalates that dogs have trouble tolerating. They affect a dog’s throat and can cause irritation as well as trouble swallowing if your dog eats them. Your dog may vomit the flowers back up or produce a lot of saliva. If you also have horses or other pets that eat grass, be even more cautious of begonias as they can cause kidney failure in these animals.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a highly useful plant for humans, being great for sunburns, ideal for sandy high-sun spots in the garden, and beautiful. But unfortunately, these plants are toxic for dogs. The toxic substance in them is called anthraquinone. At first, your dog will seem fine after ingesting aloe vera. However, the natural bacteria in your dog’s colon will break the toxin down, increasing water content in the bowels and potentially leading to dangerous side effects such as anorexia, depression, tremors and more.

3. Soap Berries

With the growth of the homesteading and self-sufficiency movement, soap berries have become more popular. These “berries” are shed from the soap berry tree and can be boiled to create an ingredient used in soap making. Unfortunately, any saponin, or ingredient for making soap, can make your dog sick. And it’s challenging to pick up all of the berries dropped by these trees. We suggest you don’t plant them in your yard for those reasons.

4. Daffodils and Tulips

Spring bulbs are a beautiful and common addition to many gardens. However, daffodils and tulips are toxic to dogs. The bulbs themselves are the most toxic part, so don’t let your dog dig up and eat the bulbs in any season. They may cause serious problems such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Salivating
  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart rhythm problems

In spring, keep your pooch away from the flowers, which cause milder symptoms but can still be dangerous.

5. Sago Palms

Sago palms are one of the most common decorative plants in sunny climates, including use as houseplants and in garden beds. Sago palms go by a wide variety of other names, including coontie palms, cardboard palms, Japanese cyads, zymias and many more. To avoid confusion, you may want to learn to identify this plant by sight.

The entire plant is highly poisonous to dogs, but the seeds are the worst. Ingesting the plant can cause serious symptoms such as:

  • Severe stomach pain and vomiting
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Liver damage
  • Shock and internal blood loss
  • Death, if left untreated

If you think your dog has been exposed to any of these plants or taken a nibble on them, it is important to call your veterinarian right away.