Are Maple Trees Poisonous?

Maple trees grow in meadows, pastures, and near bodies of water in the United States. Native species include silver, red, bigleaf, sugar, boxelder, and paperbark maple. Non-native species, including many varieties of Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), are often added to yards, patios, balconies, and decks.

All these maple trees are typically nontoxic to humans and pets except for horses, donkeys, alpacas, and llamas. Red maple (Acer Rubrum), silver maple (Acer saccharinum), and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) are not safe for these animals to eat. While new or fresh leaves from these three species pose no threat, ingesting wilted/dried leaves, twigs, and bark is dangerous and can prove fatal within hours.

In the case of ingestion, call a large animal veterinarian as soon as possible. The seeds of sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) and Box Elder (Acer negundo) are also toxic to horses, so if your horse eats them, call a large animal veterinarian immediately.

Are Maple Trees Poisonous to Children?

Maple is typically nontoxic to children. However, allergies to maple bark, seeds, and leaves exist, so take caution if a child ingests any part of the tree. Also, pollen from maple is known to trigger allergies during the spring. Call a doctor if necessary. 


Are Maple Trees Poisonous to Dogs?

Maple is typically not poisonous to dogs. This is a good thing, especially during the fall when lush piles of red and sugar maple leaves line the sidewalks of many neighborhoods. Sometimes dogs can’t resist crashing one or two of these autumnal mountains; however, your dog should be fine if he ingests a few leaves. If your dog begins displaying signs of stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea, you should consider calling a veterinarian to ensure Fido is ok. 

Are Maple Trees Poisonous to Cats?

Maple is not known to be poisonous to cats. While cats may be curious around maple leaves, your cat should be fine if it munches one. Just make sure that no signs of stomach irritation ensue. If vomiting or diarrhea follows, then consider contacting a veterinarian.


Are Maple Trees Poisonous to Other Animals?

Wilted/dead leaves, twigs, and bark of red maple are highly poisonous to horses, alpacas, and llamas. Wilted/dead leaves, twigs, and bark of sugar maple and silver maple can also be toxic to these animals. While ingesting fresh leaves of these species is not harmful, dried or wilted leaves are poisonous to these animals and can lead to death. Symptoms of toxicity include fatigue/depression, reddish-brown urine, increased heart rate, and rapid breathing. In the case of poisoning, call a large animal veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms Of Maple Poisoning

Always check with your doctor or veterinarian for guidance if you suspect maple poisoning. 

Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Depression/fatigue
  • Reddish-brown urine
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing 

Preventing Maple Tree Poisoning

To prevent large animals such as horses, alpacas, and llamas from ingesting poisonous wilted/dried leaves, twigs, and bark from red, sugar, and silver maple, do not plant these trees in pastures or meadows where these animals reside. Additionally, do not plant them near fenced fields and meadows; the leaves may blow in the wind across the fences and land inside the pastures or meadows. Also, bored horses commonly “crib” or chew fence boards and posts. If a red, sugar, or silver maple tree is planted outside a fence, but nearby, the horse may reach over or through the fence to “crib” the tree’s bark.

Pet Poison Helpline

If something were to happen to your furry friend, and you suspect that they are suffering from maple tree poisoning, there is a poison control hotline to call for 24/7 vet advice. It is called the Pet Poison Hotline, and their phone number is (855) 764-7661.


"Are maple leaves toxic to horses?" University of Minnesota Extension.

"Sycamores, Maples, and Sycamore Maples - Which Are Safe for Horses?" PennState Extension.

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 Author Suellen Barnes - Published 4-28-2023