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Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Dogs? (Why?)

Plants and pets are often a dangerous mix, and while your bonsai may look harmless, it isn’t something you want your dog to try to consume. 

Many dogs are fascinated by plants, and even if your dog doesn’t seem interested in your bonsai, it is best not to leave it within reach at any time.

Overall, several varieties of bonsai trees are toxic to canines. 

Not all are, but it is important to be cautious and protect your furry friend from any risk of being harmed by your tree.

Consuming certain bonsais can cause symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, and trembling, which require immediate medical attention. 

In this article, we’ll explain which plants are poisonous to dogs, what to do if your dog eats your bonsai, and other important information about bonsais’ possible effect on dogs. 

Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Dogs?

Many bonsai trees are poisonous to dogs, although not all are. 

But, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Some varieties are so poisonous that they could kill your dog if it eats the tree or parts of the tree, especially if you can’t access a vet quickly.

Other bonsai species are less harmful but could still cause sickness, diarrhea, lethargy, and other symptoms. 

Some won’t harm your pet at all. 

Do Dogs Eat Bonsais?

But will a dog eat a poisonous bonsai?

Unfortunately, many dogs are not particularly discerning about what they eat, and they may chew on or even swallow bits of the bonsai regardless of whether it is safe for them.

The plant may smell like food, or the dog may simply be curious and exploring the world using its sense of taste, as many dogs do.

Yet, eating a bonsai could be pretty dangerous for the dog, and it will also probably kill your bonsai. 

So, you need to take steps to avoid it and keep your plant and dog well away from each other.

What Happens if My Dog Eats My Bonsai?

Your dog may not suffer from any ill effects if it eats your bonsai tree, but it is possible that you will see a variety of symptoms.

These could include:

  • Vomiting
  • Trembling
  • Poor coordination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Panting

The severity of these symptoms will vary depending on the kind of plant, how much your dog ate, and how large the dog is, but they are all concerning nonetheless.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats My Bonsai?

If your dog is displaying any ill symptoms after eating a bonsai, you should call a vet and book an emergency appointment as soon as possible.

If you know the tree is toxic and your dog has eaten some, book the appointment even if your dog isn’t yet showing any symptoms.

A quick reaction is often the key to preventing long-term damage from poisoning, so don’t hesitate to get your dog to the vet.

You should also remove as much of the plant from your dog’s mouth as possible and put the rest out of the dog’s reach.

Then, take a sample of the leaves with you to the vet, as they may need to test this to determine the best course of action.

Why Are Bonsais Poisonous to Dogs?

The reason a tree is poisonous will vary depending on what kind of tree you have. 

And remember that a bonsai can be just about any kind of tree, so the compounds and toxins will differ between specimens.

Many bonsai trees contain a toxin known as cycasin, which can lead to seizures, vomiting, and possibly even death if consumed in significant quantities.

Other trees may have different toxins, some of which will affect your dog’s nervous system, while others could cause organ failure.

Some bonsai species will just make your dog a little sick when eaten. 

But you should still keep them well away from curious mouths.

Which Bonsai Trees Are Most Poisonous to Dogs?

Many bonsai trees are poisonous, but below are some of the popular bonsais that are particularly dangerous to grow if you have a dog:

  • Azalea
  • Ambrosia Mexicana
  • Japanese Juniper
  • Jade Plant
  • Sago Palm
  • Boxwood
  • Apricot
  • Norfolk Island Pine
  • Umbrella Tree
  • Buddhist Pine
  • Cherry

If you are growing any of these species, you should be particularly cautious about letting your dog near the tree.

And while some only carry a low risk of poisoning, it is still best to keep them away from your dog.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating My Bonsai?

Despite the risk, many people let their dogs and bonsai trees coexist in the same space. 

However, it is best to keep the two apart at all times. 

Your dog might ignore your bonsai for many years, then suddenly take an interest in it, eat some, and get sick.

Consuming the tree could be extremely dangerous, especially if you are not with your dog when it happens. 

Therefore, you need to make sure you keep your animal physically separate from the tree.

Placing your bonsai on a high shelf is a good start, but it is also wise to put it in a room your dog rarely uses. 

You should also close the door to this room when you are not in there.

Overall, take as many precautions as possible to minimize the risk of your dog accidentally eating your bonsai tree.

Which Bonsai Trees Are Safe for Dogs?

There are currently no lists of safe bonsai trees for dogs, perhaps because there are so many different trees, and it is difficult to predict how a dog will react to them.

You can consult your vet for further advice if you really want to try to choose a safe tree species. 

But, the best course of action is to keep your tree and your dog well apart from each other and assume that the tree is not safe.


Many people grow a bonsai and keep a dog with no issues whatsoever, and you can likely do the same without any need to worry. 

However, you should keep your tree out of your dog’s reach and regularly clean up any debris that the tree drops so your dog cannot eat it. 

If you are worried, keep the tree in a room that your dog can not access.

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