There are many common house and garden plants that are dangerous to your dogs. As spring is starting, more people are gardening and spending time in their gardens. If you have dogs, it’s especially important for you to know and recognise what would be potentially dangerous to them.
The majority won’t cause much more than an upset stomach, and most dogs won’t eat plants that are dangerous to them. Most toxic garden plants need to be eaten in such huge quantities to cause harm, that they’re very unlikely to do so.
Acorns & Horse Chestnuts (Conkers) – Both of these are around in the Autumn months, so it’s best to be aware of where you are taking your dog for a walk in these months, to avoid dangerous and toxic flora.
Poisoning from acorns is most likely to occur in the autumn months when these fruits have fallen to the ground. A one-off feast of acorns is likely to cause vomiting, diarrhoea, both of which may be bloody, and may cause the dog to become sleepy.
Eating acorns regularly may cause kidney or liver problems, while eating large amounts may cause an obstruction. If you have an acorn tree in your garden, make sure you either stop access to your pooch or be on top of picking up fallen acorns before your dog gets chance.
Beautiful, shiny conkers may appear very attractive to your dogs but and are usually also only found in autumnal months. All parts of the horse chestnut could make your dog ill, with effects including being sick, having an upset stomach, dribbling and being off their food. Since conkers are large and hard they could also pose a choking risk.
Be wary also of their outer shell – the spiky green outer layer could be very dangerous to your pup if swallowed.
Fungi & Wild Mushrooms – There are thousands of different fungi in the UK, varying dramatically in shape, size, colour and how poisonous they are. Although some fungi may be fairly distinct in appearance, it is incredibly difficult to identify most wild mushrooms.
Some fungi are edible, while others are extremely dangerous, and sadly it is not always easy to tell the difference between the two.
Signs of poisoning may vary dramatically depending on the type of fungi eaten. They may include stomach upset, blood in the stools or vomit, neurological effects such as hallucinations or fits, kidney, or liver failure.
The type of fungi eaten will determine the onset of effects, which can be very sudden – there could be symptoms ten minutes after eating the fungi, or they may be delayed by days, or even in some rare instances by several weeks.
If your dog does eat an unknown wild mushroom, take them to the vets immediately and if possible, bring along a picture, or ideally a sample of the fungi in a paper bag, or carefully wrapped in paper (do not wrap or place in a plastic bag).
Take note of the area where the fungi was found (e.g. was it growing in grass or on a tree stump etc.) as this may help experts identify what fungi your dog has eaten should they become ill.
Holly, Ivy, Poinsettia & Mistletoe – These are usually around during the Christmas period. Especially plants such as holly and poinsettia, which are usually used as decorations as well as grown in gardens.
Holly is a plant that is considered of low toxicity to your pet, but their hard and sharp leaves could be a real hazard. They can become lodged in your dogs throat or intestines, and the berries can cause stomach upset.
Ivy may cause a tummy upset if eaten, while substantial or prolonged skin contact can cause severe irritation, or an allergic contact dermatitis. Not to be confused with American poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), which is not commonly found in the UK.
If you are in America, be especially cautious with this plant; though cases of a dog being affected by poison ivy are rare, if you have a dog with sensitive skin, you should keep him away from the plant, just in case.
European mistletoe is considered to be of low toxicity, but the berries may cause a tummy upset if eaten.
American Mistletoe Although certain parts of this plant do contain toxins, this festive shrub is generally considered to be of low toxicity.
Most animals that eat parts of mistletoe don’t show any signs, but others might develop drooling, a tummy ache, be sick or have diarrhoea.
A few rare cases have shown signs of being wobbly on their feet, tremors, or fits. Although most dogs are usually at low risk of poisoning its best to keep mistletoe away from pets.
Poinsettia is often said to be very toxic, but the potency of this plant is often greatly exaggerated. Whilst it may not be as poisonous as you think, it can still cause excessive salivation and sometimes vomiting.
Its milky white sap is an irritant that can cause dogs to dribble, be sick or sometimes have diarrhoea. Although these effects are usually only mild, it’s still best to keep these colourful festive plant out of paws reach.
Spring Bulbs – incidents of poisoning from spring bulbs are most likely to occur from dogs eating the bulbs in autumn when they are planted, or in spring when they begin to flower.
Daffodils. Effects from poisoning can include vomiting, stomach upset and salivation, but can escalate to dogs appearing sleepy, wobbly on their legs, or collapsing. In more serious cases fits and changes to heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. Dogs can also become unwell if the flowers are eaten, or if they drink water from a vase containing daffodils
Tulips. The toxins found in this plant cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract and usually result in drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea. Serious cases are rare, but effects could include heart problems and breathing difficulties
Spring crocus. These flower in spring and are said to be of low toxicity and may only cause a mild stomach to upset if eaten.
Stoned Fruits – Apricots, nectarines, damsons, cherries, plumbs, peaches, and cherry laurel all belong to the Prunus family. If the seeds, or stones of these fruits are chewed and swallowed, it can cause toxic effects.
The stones of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can produce hydrogen cyanide. Effects may appear very quickly or may be delayed. They can include frothing at the mouth, large pupils, breathing difficulties and sudden death.
Stones swallowed whole are less likely to cause severe effects, but may still cause a stomach upset, or a dangerous obstruction.
What to do if your dog gets poisoned .– If you know your pooch has ingested anything dangerous, get them to the vet as soon as possible. It may be nothing, but it’s always better to be safer rather than sorry.
Tell your vet WHAT you think your dog has ingested. HOW MUCH they’ve eaten, or you suspect they have. WHEN you think they ate it and what SYMPTOMS your dog is showing.
All this information will mean your vet has a better chance of helping your dog.
Please do bear in mind that everything in this post is strictly advisory and has been gathered from various reputable sources from the internet. We’re not vets, and you should always seek professional advice if you ever have concerns.
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