Autumn Plants Pets Should Avoid

PET CHECK BLOG - Conkers lose and in their burrs

\\\ Autumn Gardens

What trees and plants should pet owners avoid during Autumn?

The Autumn garden and parks bring numerous different problems when out dog walking, hosting many colourful trees and shrubs, some of which can be most toxic for your dog, and to your cat when prowling in your garden.

If they are toxic to your dog and cat, then they are definitely out of bounds for your pet rabbit, where you may be providing them with some exercise time freely hopping around the garden under your watchful eye.

Our colourful images and information below provides the most usual problematic trees and shrubs encountered by pets in the UK during autumn months.

Autumn plants that are dangerous to our pets

Oak tree with acorns

Oak Trees and Acorns. Acorns are the nuts formed from the oak tree. Eaten by squirrels, porcupines, bears and deer. They contain tannins which can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea. Acorns are dangerous to dogs and cats, particularly as they can cause blockages being stuck in the intestines if eaten. Acorns can start falling during the summer when green and when ripened, as featured, during autumn months.

Yew tree

Yew Tree. This really is a tree to be avoided. Every part of the yew tree is poisonous, even a few leaves can be dangerous to pets. Hundreds of year-old yew trees are often found in churchyards up and down the countryside. The foliage can often be used as winter Christmas interior design dressing in the home which is dangerous to use where pets are homed.

Horse Chestnut tree and conkers

Horse Chestnut Tree and Conkers. Conkers are the nut formed by the Horse Chestnut tree. Loved by kids for conker collecting and playing games with them. The bark, leaves and conkers are all poisonous to pets. Conkers, fortunately, are not pleasant to eat and pets can choke on them. However, as the taste is not pleasant, the case numbers are small of pets suffering from severe choking. Vets remove the conkers by having to make your pet sick.


Ivy. Ivy is very prolific during the autumn trailing everywhere over fences, paths, hedging, and attached to trees and homes and just starting to die back. This plant should be avoided, in and outside the home. Many popular ivy plants, including English ivy and Devil’s ivy, which can be toxic to pets.

Apples on tree

Apple Trees. All parts of the apple, except the flesh, contain cyanide. Fallen apples are a very dangerous treat for dogs in particularly. Dogs and cats may develop signs of stomach upset such as vomiting and diarrhoea if they have eaten parts of apples. Fermenting fruit left rotting on the ground can also pose an alcoholic toxicity problem for your pets. It’s best to pick up those rotting apples left on your garden lawn to avoid any pet problems.

Dog in pile of fallen leaves

Fallen leaves. Leaves on the ground can naturally rot developing bacteria and mould and help gardeners with mulch. If a dog eats piles of leaves it can cause gastrointestinal problems. They do need to be picked up to avoid problems.

Wild fungi

Mushrooms and Toadstools. Wild mushrooms and different types of toadstools and fungi are poisonous to dogs and more so to cats. Best to avoid all wild mushrooms, toadstools and fungi.


Hydrangeas. These are beautiful plants making a wonderful array of colour in gardens during spring, summer and autumn and used as often as hedging, borders and even fencing shrubs growing to large proportions. Parts of the plant contain cyanide and dogs and cats should avoid.


Autumn Crocus Clematis and Chrysanthemums.

These plants start appearing in autumn months. The stems and leaves of these plants are toxic to dogs and cats and cause a number of familiar signs of poisoning including diarrhoea and more if eaten in quantity.

Raking fallen leaves

Raking the garden. Clearing the fallen leaves is a good idea however, leaving sharp instruments out on the lawn and sometimes covered by the leaves is a nasty accident waiting to happen where not just animals can spike themselves, but humans too. It can be very painful if you stand on the spikes accidentally!

Sweet Chestnut tree with sweet chestnut fruits slightly open ready for picking

Sweet Chestnuts. These are not to be mixed up with Horse Chestnuts. Sweet chestnuts grow in woods forests and orchards and their nuts are often offered by street sellers in autumn in UK city centres served up roasted on open fires. The shell called a ‘burr’ is considerably less spikey, softer and the tree leaves are longer, flatter and more oval. These won’t poison dogs but not really the sort of treat to give them either.

Avoid dogs foraging as it will help to keep unexpected and particular toxicity accidents at bay.

Firework display

Important! Bonfire season is with us during autumn months in the UK with the celebration that includes fireworks.

If cleaning up your garden at any time and having a bonfire, ensure the area is free from small animals such as hedgehogs or even your pet tortoise that has sneaked into the wood debris pile ready for burning.

You may like to read more – Pet Check UK Pet Gardens Guide.


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