10 plants that are poisonous to dogs.
Your dog will eat pretty much anything given a chance. Your slippers, the newspaper, their own tail if they could catch it.
And plants. Which can be serious, because lots of common house and garden plants are poisonous to dogs.
Most dogs won’t eat plants that can hurt them, but some berries and bulbs can look delicious to our canine friends. Besides, every dog is different – some will chow down on the foliage just for the hell of it, although this is more common in dogs that are bored or stressed.
And you’ve got to expect puppies to be too enthusiastic for their own good, racing around exploring the world mouth-first.
So which plants should you avoid to keep your dog safe? While this is far from an exhaustive list, here are ten of the most common plants poisonous to dogs.
A hugely damaging invasive species, Rhododendron is nevertheless undeniably beautiful, so it’s quite a popular garden plant.
But all parts of Rhododendrons are poisonous to dogs, causing nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In large enough quantities, this can lead to coma or even death.
Tulips contain toxic alkaloids that are harmful to dogs if eaten in large quantities. The problem is greatest in spring and autumn when it’s not unusual to have a few tulip bulbs lying around.
The bulbs have far higher concentrations of toxic alkaloids, making them even worse for your dog than they were for 17th-century Dutch speculators.
While chemicals synthesised from foxgloves have given us essential cardiac drugs, the plants themselves are highly poisonous. Ingestion can be fatal for cats, dogs or horses, and even for humans.
Symptoms of foxglove poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, and cardiac arrhythmia or even cardiac arrest.
A hardy and popular perennial that does well indoors or out, cyclamens are unfortunately terrible news for dogs.
Ingestion will severely impact the gastrointestinal tract, leading to convulsions and paralysis.
Eating ivy isn’t typically life-threatening for dogs, but it does contain multiple harmful compounds that can irritate the skin and mucus membranes. Ivy can also cause gastrointestinal distress, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Given the ubiquity of ivy in woodland, it’s also worth keeping an eye out for this one when you’re taking the dog for a walk.
Lily of the Valley
Lily of the valley loves damp, shady areas of wilder gardens where dogs love to nose around and explore. All parts of the plant are poisonous to dogs if eaten, but its strong scent seems to lure them in.
The berries are perhaps the biggest risk, as they don’t taste bad but are still toxic.
If you have lily of the valley in your garden, it’s a good idea to cut the stems once the berries start to ripen.
Daffodil bulbs are particularly dangerous for dogs (and for humans!), and they’re all over the place in spring. Daffodil bulbs (or the plants themselves in large quantities) can be fatal when eaten.
The dangerous compounds are mostly concentrated in the outer layers of the bulbs, so even a quick gnaw can cause gastrointestinal problems including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
It can be hard to diagnose sweet pea poisoning in dogs, as the symptoms often don’t show up until days after ingestion. But it does affect dogs differently to most other plants, as toxins in sweet peas typically cause musculoskeletal and central nervous system problems.
Lethargy, pacing and weakness are all common symptoms.
With cascades of flowing purple blooms, wisterias are truly stunning. But their seeds (and seed pods) are highly poisonous to dogs, while the leaves and flowers can also be harmful in large quantities.
Worst of all, the effects are delayed. Wisteria also doesn’t taste bad, so it’s easy for dogs to eat far too much before you know anything is wrong.
Wisteria poisoning causes severe gastrointestinal issues, culminating in dehydration and collapse.
Yew is one of the most dangerous plants for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. The foliage is even more poisonous than the berries.
Typical symptoms within the first hour include dizziness, pupil dilation and a dry mouth. This then progresses to abdominal cramping, vomiting and salivation, and can keep getting worse from there.
But it doesn’t always progress like this. Yew poisoning can cause sudden and unexpected death without any apparent symptoms presenting themselves beforehand.
What to Do If Your Dog Has Been Poisoned
If you think your dog’s been poisoned, contact your vet straight away to request an emergency appointment, even if you’re not 100% certain. Fast action could save your dog’s life, and delaying could be fatal.
Make sure your dog is kept safely away from anything else that could do them harm, especially from whatever it was that poisoned them in the first place. And if you know what they ate, bring a sample of it to the vet. This can make diagnosis easier and faster, speeding up treatment and giving your dog the best possible chance of a speedy recovery.
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