Some plants are toxic for a good reason. The toxins are usually naturally present in plants, but can sometimes be added by the use of insecticides. The natural toxins are usually secondary metabolites produced by the plant to protect themselves against various threats such as bacteria, fungi, insects and predators. Some of these natural insecticides are used as stimulants or medicines by humans. An example of this is caffeine.

Caffeine and related compounds are potent, natural insecticides that help plants ward off damaging pests,
Chemical formula of Caffeine. Caffeine and related compounds are potent, natural insecticides that help plants ward off damaging pests.

Another natural insecticide, that Australians will be familiar with, is eucalyptus oil. The original inhabitants of Australia have been using these oils for tens of thousands of years for medicinal purposes and eucalyptus oil is now widely used by the pharmaceutical industry.  The species often used for commercial essential oil production is the Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus and the black peppermint tree E. salicifolia. The oil is often the active ingredient in inhalers and expectorants.

Eucalyptus essential oil distillation process
Eucalyptus essential oil distillation process


Plant toxins may enter the body either by inhalation, swallowing, or contact. The action mainly depends on their phytoconstituents like alkaloids, glycosides, proteins, tannins, terpenes and steroids. They act in the animal body by specific mechanisms, including receptors, transporters, enzymes and even genetic materials.


Your pet is more than just a companion animal, it is integral part of the family. Pets provide great physical and emotional benefits to the owner and family. Popular pets are often considered attractive in appearances, intelligence, and relatable personalities.

Dog garden ideas
Dogs love to spend time in the garden

Keeping dogs and cats is very common throughout the world. Dogs are the best friends of humans. They form a strong emotional attachment to their owner. Recent research showed that owning a dog is good for your physical and mental health. Walking with a dog can provide both the human and the dog with exercise, fresh air, and social interaction.

Concrete Lawn pavers and sandstone lawn edging.
Concrete Lawn pavers and sandstone lawn edging. Hard wearing dog friendly garden surfaces.

Gardens are wonderful stimulating spaces for dogs. Because dogs can potentially cause havoc, too, digging up the plants and urinating on lawns. Therefore creating dog-friendly gardens is very necessary for you and your pet. Here are some ideas through which you can create a pet-friendly garden.

Make a stimulating garden

Creates different routes through the garden that clearly defined paths, playing digging areas. It will keep your dog stimulated. Different plants and ornamental grasses dance and sway and provides entertainment to your pet.

Plant vigorous plants

Dogs can damage young plants in your garden by digging them or running through them. Therefore always plant large, established perennials and choose robust plants.

Protect your plants and lawn

Dogs can destroy borders and lawns. So, create a selected area for digging and playing by using barks and sand. You can prevent the dog from running through your borders by creating paths through them or creating large boundaries and hedges.

Plant dog friendly plants

Use those plants which are non-toxic to dogs. Plant those plants which are dog safe and friendly and which will add colors to your garden. Many plants are dogs’ favorite and friendly.

Avoid toxic plants

Several plants are poisonous to dogs. Consumption of these plants can cause symptoms from vomiting to serious illness and even death in some cases. Therefore avoid these plants from your garden and keep away your pet from these plants by fencing and hedging. Here are nine plants that are toxic to your pet.




Azaleas are one of the most popular flowering shrubs, with hundreds of varieties that come in various forms and sizes. A type of Rhododendron, azaleas bloom primarily in spring, though some cultivars re-bloom later in the growing season. Nothing is more beautiful than an azalea shrub in spring bloom. It can be grown in nearly any garden, instantly adding interest and color to dull areas. Azalea bushes are also a valuable background plant in woodland settings and borders. This versatile shrub can be used for hedging, screening, or foundation plantings. Its smaller specimens are suitable for containers.

azalea toxic
Beautiful vibrant azalea flower tree blooming in the botanical garden, in Kyiv. Azalias contain a toxin called grayanotoxin

This one of the most beautiful plants is also one of the most poisonous. The entire azalea plant is toxic to dogs and cats, but it will also make horses, goats, and sheep sick. They contain a toxin called grayanotoxins. Eating these toxins could cause vomiting and diarrhea, and the long-term effects could be serious. So, if you have pets, pass on azaleas. If you already have them in your garden, you need to remove this dangerous plant or watch your animals.

Grayanotoxin IN AZALEA
Grayanotoxin is a toxin harmful to pets found in azaleas.



Daffodils are easy, reliable, and perennial spring-flowering bulbs that grow in most regions. They multiply quickly and return to bloom again each spring, year after year. Daffodils add vibrant colours to every garden, larger or small. These plants give out fascinating blooms that make any landscape beyond impressive. Yellow is the most common colour for daffodils, but they also bloom in white, cream, orange, and pink. They can be mass planted under ground covers or mixed with shrubs and other perennials. They also work well as an edging ornamental plant in landscaping or mixed borders. Daffodils in pots are also popular as indoor ornamentals.

daffodil toxic pet
Daffodils contain lycorine which is toxic to pets

Daffodils are also poisonous and dangerous for your pet, especially dogs and cats. They contains a toxic chemical called lycorine, it can cause serious sickness, and in most cases, your dog will suffer from severe vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In most severe cases, your dog suffers from arrhythmias whose heart rate is too fast or slow. If you have seen your dog eat daffodils, you need to contact your vet.

daffodil pots toxic
Plant daffodils in high pots to keep them out of reach of little puppies

ALOE VERA mild to moderate toxic plants

Aloe Vera is a species of the genus Aloe and a favourite for Palm Springs garden design. The leaves of Aloe Vera are succulent, erect, and form a dense rosette. Several species of Aloe Vera are cultivated as ornamentals and houseplants for their medicinal leaves. Aloe Vera can be used as a solitary focal point or massed in the landscape in a Mediterranean, drought-resistant garden. Small and medium Aloes are perfect for mixed containers or rock gardens.

Aloe Vera is toxic for dogs
Aloe Vera is toxic for dogs. A medicinal plant for humans, aloe vera’s level of toxicity is mild to moderate for cats and dogs. Vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, depression, anorexia, tremors, change in urine colour.

Aloe Vera is not safe for dogs to ingest. This plant contains a chemical called anthraquinone glycosides. When your dog ingests this toxin, the intestinal bacteria metabolize it and form the compounds that increase mucus production and water in the colon. These can result in vomiting, severe diarrhea, and low blood sugar. The toxicity can be so extreme as to cause the breakdown of red blood cells, which can be fatal.


Chrysanthemums, also called mums, are among the most popular fall garden flowers. It is a member of the Compositae family and is available in a wide range of brilliant colours, shapes, and sizes. Fresh chrysanthemums make gorgeous yard decorations, add spectacular waves of colour to yard landscaping in autumn and allow you to enjoy the fall flower versatility and elegance. Chrysanthemum flowers bloom in a range of colours in shades of white, yellow, orange, lavender, purple, red, and bicolour flowers.

Chrysanthemums are toxic
Chrysanthemums have been bred to produce flowers in a range of beautiful colours. Chrysanthemums can produce allergic reactions in certain pets, especially small dogs.

Chrysanthemum is very poisonous for pets and dogs. It has a natural insecticide called pyrethrins which affects the sodium channel in dogs’ bodies. As a result, overactivity is created in the central nervous system. In addition to that, hypersensitivity and respiratory failure occur, leading to death if not treated immediately. Symptoms of chrysanthemum poisoning in dogs are coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty and blindness and much more.

TULIPS are toxic for dogs

Tulips are a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous plants. They are among the most popular and colourful of all garden flowers, and numerous cultivars and varieties have been developed. There are hundreds of beautiful tulips to choose from in enough colours, shapes, sizes and bloom times to inspire the creativity of every gardener. Whether you plant them in groups of 10 or 1000, tulips always put on an impressive show. Tulips will fill your garden with colour long before most other plants have emerged from their winter sleep.

Tulips are toxic for dogs.
If you have dogs, plant tulips in a pot to keep both your dog and tulips safe.

Tulips are not generally dog friendly and toxic for dogs. Many chemicals inside the tulip plant can cause skin irritation and hurt the mouth and throat. The poison in the tulip plant also causes gastrointestinal problems in dogs. This poison can also interfere with your dog’s nervous system, making it difficult for them to move in severe cases.


Iris is a genus of 260-300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers>irises are perennial plants growing from creeping rhizomes. They have a long, erect flowering stem that may be simple or branched, solid or hollow. The flowers are in the shape of a fan and contain one or more symmetrical six lobbed flowers. Irises are available in many varieties of colours and size, which it is suitable for every area of the garden. Iris flowers make spectacular additions to perennial borders. Irises also provide a beautiful contrast with ornamental sages and peonies.

Dicksonia Antarctica under planted with hostas, irises, azalias, salvia and assorted smaller ferns.
Dicksonia Antarctica under planted with hostas, irises, azalias, salvia and assorted smaller ferns. The Irises and Azaleas are both toxic for dogs.


Irises are toxic to all animals, including dogs, cats and even cattle. Irises contain irisin, which is known to be a primary toxic agent. If your dog eats irises, they may salivate, vomit, drool, have diarrhea or lose energy. Irises can also cause skin irritation. The severity of iris poisoning in pets varies depending on the amount of exposure and which part of the plant was ingested.



Are peonies poisonous to dogs?

The peony or paeony is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia. Some perennials come back every year to take your breath away. The peony is beautiful in bloom with the fattest, most gorgeous flowers and lush green foliage. Peonies bloom from late spring through early summer, depending on your location and the variety. There are six types of peony flowers. Fragrances also vary, such that some flowers have intoxicating rose like scents while others are lemony or have no scent at all. Peonies make fine guards lining walkways or a lovely low hedge.

Peonies contain contain paeonol, a toxin which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and decreased energy when ingested by your dog.
Large white flower blossomed tree peony. Peonies contain contain paeonol, a toxin which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and decreased energy when ingested by your dog.

The peony plant is considered one that mild to moderate signs of poisoning. It contains phenol, which is toxic to dogs and can cause illness. Peonies can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, stomach pain and decreased energy when ingested by your dog.


Are hydrangeas poisonous to dogs?

Hydrangeas have been popular ornamental garden plants for decades with flowers that come in a wide array of colours, including white, many shades of blue and pink, maroon, red and even pale green. Some hydrangeas have large, round flower heads, while others have smaller, flatter and more delicate flowers and varying foliage shapes depending on the species. Hydrangeas have a long blooming season and a beautiful display of flowers, so planting them in the front garden is a good idea to create an attractive landscape. Grow hydrangeas near the boundaries of your garden because the cool colour of hydrangeas near the borders creates an impression of enlarged space.

The toxic component of the hydrangea plant is a cyanogenic glycoside.
The hydrangea plant contains a toxin known as cyanogenic glycoside.

Contrary to its beauty, it is poisonous to cats and dogs. The toxic compounds in hydrangeas are cyanogenic glycosides. The most common symptoms associated with hydrangea poisoning are related to the gastrointestinal tract. Dogs or cats that consume enough hydrangea leaves, flowers and buds can suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.


Lilies are among the most recognizable of all summer garden flowers. Their large, bright flowers suit all types of gardens. There are several modern hybrid varieties of lilies that offer colour, elegance, fragrance, and many modern landscapes. They fit into the smallest gardens, either in the open ground or in the pots. They mix well with roses, shrubs and perennials, adding summer colour and fabulous fragrance.

Ginger lily is native to the Himalayas, but has now found its way into bushland areas on the east coast. Ginger lily is very poisonous to grazing animals as well as dogs, and can be fatal if enough of the plant is ingested.

Lilies are toxic to dogs. Some species of lily are non-toxic but still cause illness if eaten. If your dog eats any part of the lily plant, it will probably show signs of gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

About 1000 species of plants in Australia are toxic to animals and humans, and plenty more cause skin and eye irritation, rashes and discomfort. These are always just as pretty as they are poisonous. Due to their beauty, these plants are always used in gardens. Therefore be careful if you are a parent or pet lover and keep the children and pets away from these plants. Fencing off or not growing poisonous and dangerous plants.

Invasive plants

A plant that is non-native and able to establish itself on many sites, grows quickly and spreads to the point of disrupting plant communities and the ecosystem. Invasive species adversely affect habitats and bioregions, causing ecological, environmental and economic damage. Many invasive weeds contain toxins that are dangerous to cats and dogs.

Toxic Invasive weeds in Victoria

Invasive weeds are plants that infiltrate the native environment and have the potential to harm the survival of native flora and fauna and the ecosystem’s functioning. They include species imported to Australia from other nations and local species that have expanded beyond their original range. Invasive weed species are widely acknowledged as a severe danger to biodiversity worldwide. Their effect is expected to be worsened by their interaction with other new and present challenges like climate change. In Australia, around 1235 weed species, subspecies, varieties, and hybrids developed in native vegetation. Many of these invasive weed species contain toxins.

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