In the various pet-owners groups where I hang out, a common topic of discussion is dangerous plants, and whether a favorite garden plant might be harmful to dogs, cats, horses, or other pets and domesticated animals who might wander up and start munching away.

What common wild and garden plants can harm your pets?

And what part(s) of those toxic plants would be harmful to the animals we love:

  • Roots?
  • Shoots?
  • Leaves?
  • Berries?
  • Stems?
  • Flowers?
  • or all of the above?

Who knew that horses shouldn’t eat chives – or red maple leaves?

Horses are poisoned sporadically in the northeastern United States after they ingest red maple leaves. Signs of toxicity are similar to those seen with the Brassica anemia factor after animals ingest plants of the genus Brassica (such as canola, kale, cabbage).

Now we’ve got every hardy herbaceous plant known to eastern Canada and New England growing around this place, I think — no poison ivy, though, happily! — but I don’t spend a whole lot of time obsessing about whether our domestic dogs are going to start snacking on the Aconitum. Still, handy to have a searchable database of poisonous plants at my fingertips, courtesy of the Government of Canada, and a whole bookshelf of reliable field guides and reference books!

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