Poisoning from plants is quite rare in veterinary practices; nevertheless, they occur again and again and usually end fatally. This fact may seem surprising at first glance, because the majority of plants protect themselves from being eaten by horses, cats or dogs by having an unpleasant smell, sharp thorns or bitter taste. On the other hand, natural instinct should actually protect the animals from devouring poisonous plants. Although experts are still largely divided on this issue, the argument that domesticated animals have not fully developed this instinct is compelling. To ensure that your beloved four-legged friend is not harmed by poisonous plants, the most important types and varieties are presented below.

Poisonous plants for horses

The risk of succumbing to the deadly temptation of a poisonous plant is particularly high for horses when the pasture is empty or there is no fresh green in winter. Boredom, curiosity, and excitement can also tempt horses to nibble on poisonous plants. As with all toxic substances, the dose plays an important role in how serious the consequences are.

Common boxwood

  • all parts of the plant are poisonous
  • Signs: drowsiness, unsteady gait
  • Death from cardiac and respiratory arrest
  • is often used as a decoration at tournaments
  • boxwood cuttings are often disposed of on pastures


  • evergreen ornamental shrub with red berries
  • all parts of the plant are highly toxic
  • lethal dose 100 to 200 g of needles
  • Death occurs after 5 minutes


  • Ornamental shrub in shady locations
  • Berries and leaves are highly poisonous
  • also grows in the undergrowth of forests
  • therefore dangerous when riding out

Tree of Life – Thuja

  • a popular hedge plant
  • the leaves look fresh and seductive
  • also appears as a decoration at tournaments
  • all parts of the plant are poisonous

cherry laurel

  • popular ornamental shrub with cherry-like berries
  • Leaves and seeds highly toxic
  • Berries only slightly poisonous
  • lethal dose: 400 g to 1,000 g of the leaves

autumn crocus

  • grows on damp meadows and embankments
  • the leaves in spring contain arsenic-like poison
  • often gets caught in the hay
  • 1.5% leaves in 5 kg of hay causes agonizing death

All Ginsterarten

  • all parts of the plant are poisonous
  • in smaller amounts they cause tachycardia and fever
  • in larger amounts, respiratory arrest occurs
  • labor is induced in pregnant mares


  • Occurrence in deciduous forests, along streams
  • blooms in February and March
  • bears large, red berries in July
  • especially the berries and the bark are highly toxic
  • even 30 g of berries lead to death


  • in winter there is a high risk of poisoning because it is evergreen
  • all parts of the plant are poisonous
  • even small amounts lead to an agonizing death

Bittersweet nightshade

  • popular climbing plant with violet flowers
  • the unripe berries are highly toxic
  • Decomposition of the red blood cells resulting in death
  • Leaves and stems only slightly poisonous

Angel trumpets

  • attractive ornamental plant in many gardens and parks
  • little is known about the high poison content
  • risk of poisoning during flowering
  • Consequences: fever, cardiac arrhythmias, paralysis
  • also dangerous for dogs and cats

deadly nightshade

  • grows on the edges of forests and meadows, in gardens
  • black, cherry-like berries after flowering
  • leaves, seeds and berries are highly toxic
  • even 200 g of leaves lead to death
  • high risk of confusion with wild blackberries

Barley rows

  • up to 1 m tall with violet flowers
  • often grows along the roadside
  • all parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the seeds
  • as little as 5 g of seeds per kg of body weight are lethal


  • grows on unkempt horse meadows
  • all parts of the plant are toxic
  • gets caught in the hay and loses its own smell there
  • in the horse, the toxins accumulate over the years
  • ultimately leads to death


  • widespread ornamental plant
  • all parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the leaves
  • lethal dose from as little as 15g to 20g of fresh leaves

As experienced horse owners and veterinarians report, the most frequent cases of poisoning are caused by unknowing passers-by who hand the poisonous plants over the fence to the horses or who simply dispose of the clippings from beech trees, thuja and the like on the horse meadow.

Poisonous plants for cats and dogs

Dogs and cats are not naturally herbivores; nevertheless, some poisonous plants can become dangerous for them if they play with them or nibble on them out of curiosity. Some roots are dangerous for digging dogs, but they are hardly interested in indoor plants. With cats, the situation is doubly dangerous, because they like to nibble on plants outdoors as well as indoors. If you care about your faithful companion, or if you are a cat staff and want to keep your velvet-pawed head of the household healthy, you should find out about the most common poisonous plants, which are presented below.

garden and houseplants


  • Root and sap are poisonous
  • causes nausea, vomiting and respiratory paralysis


  • Plant parts slightly poisonous
  • causes nausea, vomiting, difficult breathing


  • also called devil’s eye
  • all parts of the plant are very poisonous
  • even small amounts lead to cardiac arrest

tuberous begonia

  • especially the roots are poisonous
  • dangerous for burrowing dogs
  • damages kidneys and intestines


  • the onion contains a high dose of lycorine
  • Hypotension, kidney damage and paralysis possible


  • Roots and seed pods highly toxic
  • causes colic, kidney damage and cardiac arrest


  • all parts of the plant are poisonous
  • Milky juice triggers colic
  • eye contact threatens temporary blindness

dragon tree

  • belongs to the lily species
  • all parts of the plant are poisonous
  • triggers gastroenteritis and diarrhea


  • Not only toxic to horses, but also to dogs and cats
  • often leads to death from cardiac arrest

Blue monkshood

  • popular garden and ornamental plant
  • nevertheless one of the most poisonous plants in Europe
  • highly toxic to dogs and cats
  • in dogs, 2 to 5 g of the tuber are fatal

All ficus species

  • popular houseplants
  • the whole plant is poisonous
  • especially the unripe fruit
  • Cats nibble on the leaves and die shortly thereafter


  • popular garden and ornamental plant
  • all parts extremely poisonous
  • Cats and dogs suffer an agonizing death
  • as little as 5 g of dried leaves are deadly

White Germer – Hellebore

  • often found in ornamental gardens
  • all parts of the plant are toxic
  • the roots are particularly dangerous for dogs
  • lethal dose 0.1 g root per kg body weight

Mean shower of gold

  • widespread garden and park plant
  • Flowers, fruits and leaves are highly poisonous
  • first excites, then paralyzes, then cardiac arrest follows


  • found in many places in nature
  • Leaves and unripe fruits are only slightly poisonous
  • However, dogs and cats feel extremely uncomfortable

Dog’s Parsley – Garden Hemlock

  • is commonly considered a weed
  • differs from garden parsley in flowers and smell
  • very toxic to dogs and cats
  • even adult cattle can die from it


  • widespread spring bloomer
  • Stigma limb and tuber poisonous
  • causes extreme drop in blood pressure
  • causes miscarriage in cats


  • occurs throughout Europe
  • Berries, leaves and bark highly toxic
  • even kill adult cattle

lily of the valley

  • toxic to humans and all animals
  • all parts of the plant, especially the berries, are toxic
  • as little as 1 to 5 berries can be deadly


  • popular ornamental and houseplant
  • all parts of the plant, especially the seeds, are poisonous
  • two seeds can kill a dog

A leaf

  • Leaves and stems are poisonous
  • trigger extreme stomach and intestinal problems
  • can be carcinogenic

rubber tree

  • evergreen ornamental plant in many apartments
  • if the animals nibble on the leaves, they get sick
  • Rubber tree causes vomiting, diarrhea and shortness of breath


  • little is known about the toxicity of tulips
  • all parts of the plant are slightly poisonous
  • if the animal has nibbled on it, it should drink a lot
  • If the symptoms are worse, it is best to go to the vet

hiking roschen

  • the widespread ornamental plant is poisonous
  • vomiting, diarrhea and palpitations are caused
  • no fatal cases are known to date

Yellow Daffodil – Daffodil

  • the most famous spring flower
  • all parts of the plant cause complaints
  • the flower bulb in particular can be dangerous to dogs
  • Poisoning resulting in death has not been reported so far

Poisonous crops

A whole range of useful plants that humans can feed on without hesitation are not only extremely dangerous for dogs and cats, but sometimes even life-threateningly toxic. Some of the most well-known poisonous plants are listed below:


  • the fruits are poisonous to dogs and cats
  • they contain a lethal dose of persin
  • there is no salvation from poisoning


  • raw beans contain toxic phasin
  • Humans and animals may only eat cooked beans

potato plant

  • all parts of the plant above ground are poisonous
  • before all the berries


  • It is deadly even in small amounts over a long period of time
  • larger doses of garlic cause instant death


  • the leaves are poisonous to humans and animals


  • the fruit skins are poisonous
  • they contain a fungus that acts like a neurotoxin
  • causes instant death in dogs and cats

tomato plants

  • all green parts of the plant are poisonous
  • raw tomatoes contain harmful solanine
  • in the worst case, causes death

potato plants

  • the green parts of the plant are slightly poisonous
  • raw potatoes, especially green ones, contain solanine
  • the content is not as high as that of the tomato


  • especially the kernels
  • they contain a lethal amount of hydrocyanic acid


  • Toxic in any form to dogs and cats
  • destroys the red blood cells
  • 10 g raw onion per kg body weight is fatal


  • also harmful in dried form as raisins
  • causes acute renal failure
  • deadly from 10 g per kg body weight


  • all varieties that are also poisonous to humans
  • all wild mushroom species should be avoided


  • dried tobacco is toxic
  • already 5 to 25 g kill dogs and cats

The pits of all types of stone fruit are extremely toxic for dogs and cats, because the toxins split off hydrocyanic acid in the organism, which leads to typical symptoms of poisoning and ultimately to death. If chemical pesticides have been used in the decorative or kitchen garden, dogs and cats should not enter the area for at least a week. Of course, this also applies to fertilized or chemically treated lawns.

The list of poisonous plants seems infinitely long. However, it should not be forgotten that a small amount of nibbled leaves, flowers or roots does not immediately have fatal effects on numerous ornamental and useful plants. Of course, the safest thing is to place the plants in the house in such a way that dogs and cats cannot reach them. A well-trained dog should not dig up the garden anyway, so that it cannot get at poisonous tubers and roots. When horses are kept, the risk of poisoning caused by the careless disposal of clippings is prevented by the erection of large information signs. Placing your horse in a boarding stable where ivy, boxwood, gorse or angel’s trumpets are grown as ornamental plants should be avoided if possible,

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *