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Trees Poisonous to Dogs

Portrait of an Irish Setter with trees in the background

What trees are toxic to dogs? This is one of the most important things that a dog owner must consider before bringing their pooch home. Many plants that are safe for humans can be poisonous to dogs, like Aloe Vera and some fruit trees. Therefore, it is essential to study a tree in detail before planting it in your garden.

What Trees Are Poisonous to Dogs?

View looking up into a tree canopy

In most cases, some specific parts of a tree (like fruits, leaves, and flowers) are poisonous to dogs. This means that the entire tree is not poisonous, but you still can’t have it because of its toxicity. These poisonous parts can cause several health issues or even death. Some of the most common trees (in our homes) that are toxic to dogs are discussed below.


Apricot tree full of ripened apricots

The scientific name of the apricot tree is “Prunus armeniaca”. It comes from the Rosaceae family and is considered to be poisonous for most pets, including dogs. The most dangerous parts of these trees are their stems, leaves, and seeds.

They contain a chemical (for better growth of tree) that metabolizes into cyanide when ingested. Therefore, the digestion of these parts can cause serious medical complications. Some of the symptoms of apricot tree poisoning include widened pupils, irregular breathing, annexations, and coma.

NOTE: Always remember that the fallen fruits or leaves of these trees are more toxic than the living ones.

Black Walnut

Close up of a Black Walnut tree

According to ASPCA, the scientific name of this species is Juglans Nigra, and it comes from the Juglandaceae family. These trees are quite common and a lot of people like them because they are pet-safe. However, the thing that makes them toxic is the growth of mold on these trees. It usually happens when the weather is changing and these contaminated nuts can be really risky to your dogs.

These mold nuts are toxic for dogs as well as horses. When your pooch eats these nuts, the fungus will cause different health problems, including fluid accumulation in the legs, augmented heart and breathing rate, and high body temperature.


Boxwood cut into spheres

According to the scientific nomenclature, this tree is known as Buxus spp. Its family name is Buxaceae and is considered a toxic species for dogs, horses, and cats. This evergreen blossoming tree is regularly used in gardens or yards as dividers. You should be extremely careful about this tree because the whole tree is poisonous to dogs.

Its toxicity level is so high that a very small quantity can cause substantial symptoms. The tree contains alkaloids that can cause congestion of the lungs, kidneys, heart, and liver. This will then result in organ failure and death.

 In addition to ingestion, physical contact with a Boxwood tree is also dangerous. It can cause excessive skin irritation and itching to dogs.


Sun shining into a cherry grove

The systematic name of a cherry tree is Prunus spp. Just like apricot trees, these trees are also from the Rosaceae family and are very toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. These trees are considered great backyard plants for houses, especially in Japan and now in America. The toxicity level of cherry trees is quite high due to their seeds, leaves, and stems as they contain cyanide.

They are toxic and may be lethal to death if consumed in enormous quantities. It also causes annexations, irregular breathing, and widened pupils to your dog. However, the flesh of its fruits is quite safe for dogs to consume and can provide vitamins A and C.


Branch of a chinaberry tree full of chinaberries

The scientific abbreviation of this tree is Melia azedarach. The family of chinaberry is Meliaceae and it is native to the Indomalaya realm and Australasia region. This tree is very toxic to dogs as its berries, leaves, bay, and flowers are poisonous.

All of these contain a dangerous toxin known as “meliatoxins” which can cause different types of medical issues. The most common problems include weakness (due to vomiting and diarrhea), slow heart rate, annexations, and tremor.


close up of a ficus

The scientific name of this tree is “Ficus Benjamina”, and it belongs to the Moraceae family. Ficus trees are common for houses because they are easy to maintain. These trees do well in warm temperatures and are mostly found in India and Southeast Asia.

Ficus is not a safe tree for dogs because of the high toxicity levels in its leaves and fruits. It contains a sap that itself has explicit enzymes that cause Ficus poisoning to the dogs. Your pups can have dermal irritation when Ficus leaves interact with their skin. Similarly, oral irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting are common reactions when your pooch ingests toxic parts of the Ficus tree.

Horse Chestnut

close up of horse chestnuts on the branch of a horse chestnut tree

According to the scientific nomenclature, Horse Chestnut is known as “Aesculus Glabra” and is part of the Hippocastanaceae family. These trees drop solid and dark brown nuts which are very toxic for dogs. The leaves, flowers, and barks of this tree are also deadly for dogs.

It contains Aesculin, a glycosidic saponin, which is a deadly toxin and can cause severe complications. Some of the most common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and dilated pupils. In extreme cases, Horse Chestnut affects the central nervous system and can lead to coma. The large size of the nut can also pose choking risks.

Japanese Yew

Close up of a Japanese Yew with red berries

This tree is scientifically represented as “Taxus sp” and is a member of the Taxaceae family. It is native to Japan, Korea, and northeast China. However, these trees are seen quite often in the United States nowadays. This immortal tree has needle-like leaves and small red berries.

These bright green leaves and berries are mostly used in holiday decorations, but it is recommended not to use them in homes where dogs live. Although the berries aren’t toxic to dogs, the leaves, seeds, and bay are extremely poisonous to them. They contain hazardous toxins that can cause shocks, nausea, struggle while breathing, and seizures.

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