PDSA Warns Pet Owners On Poisonous Plants

With Autumn now upon us the PDSA would like to warn us about the dangers that are ahead. With seasonal plants in full bloom they can cause problems for our pets which includes in our gardens and on country walks and parks. It only takes our beloved pets to eat the wrong type of plants or autumn leaves, seeds and fruits for them to become seriously ill.

PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, says: “Most pets, especially young animals, are eager to explore new things, but sometimes they accidentally swallow objects when they only meant to investigate them. Eating parts of certain plants can cause sickness, but owners need to be aware that consuming large amounts can prove fatal.”

Owners should keep an eye on what their pets are investigating while out on walks and remember that dangers can be present in their garden as well.

Always check before putting new or unusual plants in your garden to ensure they are not toxic to pets continues Sean. If you are unsure, staff at garden centres should be able to advise.

There are many poisonous plants, but at this time of year pet owners should be particularly aware of the following seasonal dangers:


Acorns are highly toxic for pets and can easily be eaten. They are most dangerous before they ripen, when they are still green.   Signs of acorn poisoning can include:

Constipation followed by diarrhoea

Urinary problems

Swelling of the legs


The conkers, bark, leaves and flowers of Horse Chestnut trees are all poisonous to pets. Conkers is less dangerous than acorns, but if consumed in large amounts can be fatal.   Signs of poisoning usually appear within one to six hours. They include:

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Abdominal pain

Excessive drinking

Excess saliva

Loss of appetite


Difficulty breathing


Yew trees, which are commonly found in churchyards, are extremely toxic to pets.   Every part of the tree is poisonous and eating just a handful of the leaves can be fatal. Signs of poisoning are usually seen within two hours and include:

Sickness and diarrhoea

Excessive salivation

Dilated pupils

Trembling and convulsions

Breathing problems

Sean concludes: If you believe your pet is suffering from any type of poisoning, you should contact your vet for advice immediately.

Pet owners can find out more about poisonous plants by downloading a free copy of PDSA’s A Safer Garden leaflet from