How to Identify and Avoid Toxic Plants for Pets this Autumn
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How to Identify and Avoid Toxic Plants for Pets this Autumn

Read on to learn more about the toxic plants for pets to avoid this fall.

Feel the chill in the air? It’s time to get out and enjoy some outdoor time with your pet. The change in season brings about temperate weather and fun adventures but also brings about new and dangerous fall plants that are not in season year-round. Whether you are planning a fall garden or just out-and-about exploring, read on to learn more about some toxic fall plants for pets to be mindful of this season.

Toxic fall plants for pets 

While it is easy to get carried away enjoying nature’s beauty outside, don’t get too distracted. It doesn’t take much time for a curious puppy to get into something toxic. Also, it’s hard to miss a harmful seed, nut, or plant that is growing in our yard if we aren’t aware.

“Potential late summer and fall dangers that immediately come to mind include ingestion of fallen nuts, fruit, and mushrooms,” states Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold.

Dr. Nold recommends keeping your pets away from these potentially dangerous plants and seeds.

Consider the following:

Black walnuts

If black walnuts are moldy when ingested they can cause seizures in dogs.


Acorns aren’t toxic per se, but if enough are ingested they could cause a gastrointestinal obstruction which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause depression, weakness, and vomiting in dogs.


The stems, leaves, and seeds of many fruit trees such as apples, plums, peaches, and apricots contain cyanide that can cause bright red gums, dilated pupils, and difficulty breathing.


Not all mushrooms are toxic, but it can be difficult to determine if a mushroom is safe to ingest. Likewise, signs of toxic mushroom ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, trouble walking, and seizures. Also, death can occur within only a couple days after ingestion of a toxic mushroom.

Identifying unknown plants

You don’t have to be a plant expert. Nold weighs in on the helpful tools that may be available on your smart phone.

“Identifying plants is easier than it used to be with the creation of plant identification apps for your smartphone. However, if you’re not able to identify a plant that your pet has ingested consider taking photos of the plant, including the leaves, flower, or fruit. If possible, bring some samples with you in a bag to show your veterinarian.”

Additionally, there are several plant identification apps such as iplant, PictureThis, LeafSnap, and PlantSnap. These apps range in price and are available on iOS and Android.

Signs of plant toxicity

Being able to detect if your pet has ingested something can be complicated. According to Dr. Nold, “The signs of plant toxicity are largely variable on what plant and how much was ingested. Often signs are seen a short time (minutes) after ingestion, but signs may be delayed by hours to days.”

Ingestion of a toxic plant

The ingestion of a toxic plant can be an alarming thought for any pet owner. For example, “If you see your pet ingest a suspected toxic plant call, for a small fee, one of the animal poison control services available,” recommends Dr. Nold. These services are usually available 24/7 and can help you determine if your pet should be seen right away or if you can monitor at home.

Safety first

Safety is our number one concern as a pet owner. While many pet owners may want to immediately induce vomiting after ingestion, there are some instances where this is not safe or no longer helpful to do.

For example, don’t induce if your pet is already showing signs of toxicity.

If you’re concerned your pet has ingested something, seek medical care for your pet immediately.

Start with your own backyard

Preparation is key when planning for season changes in regards to the safety of your pet. “The best way to prevent toxic plant ingestion is to not have any on your property or in your house,” notes Dr. Nold.

Of course, there is still always the risk that something could fall or be thrown/dropped in your yard. It doesn’t take long for your pet to ingest something they come across. This is why toxin ingestion is almost always one of the ‘rule outs’ for a pet that becomes ill when unsupervised.

Keep your eyes peeled for toxic plants for pets this leaf season 

If you are traveling with your puppy this fall, it is important to keep a keen eye on them while out and about. Afterall, in a new environment, you never know what your pet could potentially get into.

Above all – if you ever have any concerns regarding your pet’s health or safety, reach out to your veterinarian.

To learn more about backyard pet safety, read Five Pet Friendly Backyard Safety Tips 


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