Are Ornamental Grasses Poisonous to Dogs?

By Faith McGee

Ornamental grasses are used to create interest and varying textures in yards. Almost all ornamental grasses are safe for dogs and other pets, except for pampas and grass palm. It is essential to identify these grass types in order to eradicate them from the yard to prevent your dog from eating this poisonous ornamental grass.

Pampas Characteristics

There are several different types of pampas grass, but they all have the same general characteristic. Pampas grass blooms with large feathery plumes that stand up over the foliage of the plant. The plant is shaped like a small clump and its long hanging stems just barely brush the ground. During the winter, the plant goes into dormancy and turns a golden shade of brown. Blooms are typically either white or a light shade of pink. All pampas ornamental grasses have the same toxic qualities.


According to the University of Arkansas and Mid Town Animal Clinic, pampas grass when ingested can cause sickness or death. Dogs can have a varied reaction to the poisonous pampas grass such as vomiting, drooling diarrhea, seizures or coma. Pets that eat poisonous plants often hide from their owners when they feel bad. Gardeners can look across their landscape at the ornamental grass to see if the pet has visited the area. If your pet displays any of these signs, you should take him to the vet.

Grass Palm

Grass palm grows in a fountain shape with long narrow stems that stand straight up from the rest of the plant. Sometimes when this grass has been planted on dry soil or when it experiences a drought, the leaves will discolor and may change to a brown or a yellow.


According to the ASPCA, dogs can experience vomiting with blood, dilated pupils, depression, increased saliva and anorexia after eating this ornamental plant. The toxin to blame is called saponins, which can harm the digestive track of the dog. It is important to take your dog to the vet immediately after discovering the pet has eaten the grass.