Spring Plants - Poisonous to Horses, Dogs and Cats

Posted: March 10, 2017

Make sure you know what plants are toxic to your horses and pets.
Crocus are the first to green up

Crocus are the first to green up

Learn about the different kinds of ornamental plants that can harm horses, dogs and barn cats. Did you know that Tulip, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs can damage a dog’s mouth and esophagus, leading to drooling, vomiting, severe diarrhea and even abnormal heart rhythms? Asiatic and Japanese lilies can cause severe kidney failure in cats. Just one or two leaves can kill them. Be sure to keep bulbs out of reach before planting them.


  • Rhododendron - Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse and death.
  • Azalea - Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS   depression, cardiovascular collapse and death.
  • Crocus - Excessive salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disorders, lack of appetite, tremors, convulsions, seizures.
  • Gladiola great in the garden, they are more popularly used in floral arrangements–since it is the corm (bulb) that is most toxic to dogs and cats it may not present much of a problem, Symptoms: Salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, diarrhea.
  • Hosta this plant is toxic to both dogs and cats— Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.
  • Morning Glory - can cause hallucinations– Symptoms: Gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia, hallucinations.
  • Oleander is pretty, and poisonous–can severely affects cats, dogs, and even horses. All parts contain a highly toxic cardiac glycoside and can cause a number of problems. Symptoms: Colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbence, and possibly death from cardiac failure.
  • Ivy (California, Branching, Glacier, Needlepoint, Sweetheart, English Ivy) - Ivy foliage is more toxic than its berries. Symptoms: Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea.
  • Lilies - Are highly toxic to cats, even when very small portions are ingested. Many types of lily (Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, Casa Blanca) can cause kidney failure in cats. Curiously, lilies are not toxic to dogs. Symptoms: Kidney failure.
  • Sago Palm - a very popular landscaping plant. They are apparently very tasty to animals, and unfortunately highly toxic–all parts are poisonous, but especially the seeds. Symptoms: Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.
  • Tomato Plant- Although it won’t prove lethal for your pet, they can provide a good dose of discomfort. Symptoms: Hypersalivation, inappetence, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, Central nerves system depression, confusion, behavioral change, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate.
  • Tulip/Narcissus - It’s the bulb of the tulip and narcissus plants that have the highest concentration of toxins. This means: if you have a dog that digs, be cautious. Symptoms: Intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.
  • Lily-of-the-Valley - Causes excessive salivation, watery eyes, sweating, abdominal pain, weakness, convulsions and death. This plant is largely an ornamental plant, but may grow wild near old home sites. The plant is highly toxic to all animals.
  • Yew - The bark and leaves of this very popular evergreen provided the basis for the cancer-treatment drug, paclitaxel–but general ingestion of any part of the tree (except the flesh of the berry) can be very dangerous to animals. Horses have an especially low tolerance to yew. Symptoms: Central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.

In Conclusion

When landscaping the stable area you may be better off to just plant grass and plant the ornamentals at your home but then you have to watch the pets and children.


To help make sure you know what is toxic to your horses and pets, here are several references with very long list of plants that can cause harm: