Toxic Plants on Hiking Trails

Toxic Plants on Hiking Trails

Taking your dog on a hike is one of the most fun activities to do during the summer. Not only will your furry friend appreciate getting in some exercise, but they will also love all the different sights and smells that the trail has to offer. Unfortunately, hiking can be potentially dangerous for your pooch, as there are quite a few plants often seen on trails that are toxic to dogs. If you decide to go on a trek with your canine companion, keep an eye out for the following plants. 

Foxtail Grass 

Those who live on the West Coast have probably run into their fair share of Foxtail Grass. Despite its adorable name, the weed is extremely dangerous for dogs. According to Fetch by WebMD, issues may emerge if your dog inhales the plant’s seeds or if the seeds are embedded into their skin. The seeds can “cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death.” To ensure that your dog is not harmed by Foxtail Grass, avoid “overgrown, grassy areas.” If you believe your pup may have gotten near foxtail grass, give their body a thorough look. You should contact a vet if you notice that your dog has been excessively itching their ears, paws, or genitals, or if you notice unusual discharge around their eyes and nose. 

Stinging Nettle 

Just based on the name alone, you can assume that any animal, including humans, should avoid stinging nettles. Wag! reported that dogs “who are exposed to the plant … can be poisoned by thousands of injections of acetylcholine which can seriously affect the peripheral nerves.” Some signs that your pooch has come “into contact with the stinging nettle,” include skin irritation, difficulty breathing, and stomach issues. Dogs who experience these symptoms should be taken to the vet. They will likely prescribe a topical solution to ease any skin irritation. 

Cow Parsnip 

Cow Parsnip is another plant that could be potentially dangerous to your furry friend. According to Wag!, the small white wildflower can cause your canine companion to have dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, and/or severe “ocular damage [that can result in] permanent blindness.” If your dog consumes the plant, they will likely have “intestinal irritation” that is often accompanied by “nausea and vomiting.” Again, you’ll want to take a trip to the veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. During the visit, the vet will either give your dog a topical, intestinal, or optical treatment, depending on the diagnosis.   


Despite being one of the most beautiful flowers, Oleanders are poisonous to dogs and humans alike. You’ll want to make sure that your pup doesn’t consume the flower, as it could “affect a dog's heart by interrupting the electrolyte balance there,” as reported by Dog Health. If your dog has eaten the plant, they will need to go to the vet as soon as possible.

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