Tree tobacco plants (Nicotiana glauca) are perennial shrubs that produce beautiful yellow tubular-shaped flowers, primarily growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. While these plants are attractive, they aren't recommended for your garden if you have a canine companion because they are poisonous to dogs.
Like all members of the Nicotiana genus, tree tobacco plants contain poisonous alkaloids including nicotine and anabasine, which are toxic to both people and dogs, warns the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In fact, these poisons are classified as highly toxic by the University of California, Davis, and can cause severe illness and even death if ingested. If Fido has eaten any of the leaves or flowers of a tree tobacco plant, expect him to become very excited, to breathe rapidly and possibly become weak and depressed. He may also experience vomiting, incoordination or paralysis before falling into a coma or dying.
If you suspect that your pup has been snacking on your tree tobacco plants, get him to the vet right away for treatment. Don't wait to see if your dog exhibits any poisoning symptoms before seeking veterinary care because timely treatment can help save your pup's life. Your vet can remove the tobacco tree plant matter from Fido's tummy, provide medications to counteract its toxic alkaloids and give him supportive care for his symptoms.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Tree Tobacco
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Nicotiana glauca
- Fine Gardening: Nicotiana glauca (Tree tobacco)
- Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Pyridine Alkaloids
- University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: Pets and Toxic Plants
- University of California, Davis: Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants
- Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council: Tree Tobacco
- Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images