Generally, we look for plants that we think are pretty or interesting, that complement our garden style and other plants that we’ve chosen, and it’s easy to forget that they might be a risk to our pet’s health. Plants such as deadly nightshade, hemlock or lethal mushrooms are often the first things to spring to mind when we think of poisonous plants, but there are many more. In fact, many common garden plants are potentially toxic to our pets. You may think that dogs know that something is poisonous, but they are naturally inquisitive – and they will more often than not eat anything. We’ve all seen those bee-stung faces!
Spring Bulbs & Flowers
Spring bulbs are amongst the most common of garden flowers, and some of them are not just toxic but can be fatal for dogs if eaten. Daffodil bulbs and flowers are poisonous, and if in a vase, the water they sit can be poisonous if drunk. Your dog would suffer from an upset stomach, vomiting, and make them sleepy and unsure on their feet. Tulips can make your dog drool, sick and give them diarrhoea. Tulips can also give dogs heart problems and difficulty breathing. Azalea, bluebells, cyclamen, foxglove, onion, rhododendron, rhubarb leaves and yew can all be fatal. One of the main issues with spring bulbs is that some dogs like digging things up in the garden, and think bulbs are for eating. It’s recommended to look up your chosen plant to check whether it’s toxic to dogs before you plant it in your garden.
Not strictly a plant – but definitely worth mentioning. Slug pellets are used to deter slugs from eating plants, so it’s a regular feature in many a gardener’s arsenal, but if consumed, your dog could have convulsions, breathing problems and be unsteady on their feet. Ideally, avoid using at all if possible. There are many other ways to control slugs, such as copper tape, eggs shells and more that won’t be poisonous to your pets.
How to Prevent your Dog from Eating Toxic Plants
Preventing your dog from eating toxic plants might seem like an impossible task, but there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk. The first step is obvious – avoid planting the poison in the first place. If you’re not sure whether a particular plant is toxic, then make sure that any clippings are tidied away and not left out to wilt. Berries should be cleared away too, so your dog doesn’t even get a chance to consume it. Some dogs may eat poisonous plants because they are bored or stressed, so you may need to look at ways to relax or engage them so they’re less likely to eat garden plants in the first place.
What to do if your Dog has eaten a Poisonous Plant
If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten something poisonous, then seek veterinary advice immediately. Poisoning can manifest in a number of ways, so look out for:
- Coughing, drooling, wheezing, unconsciousness
- Vomiting, diarrhoea, disorientation, convulsions, lethargy, twitching, dilated pupils
- Irritated skin, hives, excessive licking, scratching
Never induce vomiting as it may be more damaging to your dog than if the poison is left in the stomach. It can be tricky to diagnose poisoning, unless you saw your pet eat something toxic, as it is impossible to test for all toxins. There may be an antidote, but more often than not the vet will have to try and maintain normal organ function until the poison has been dealt with out of the body.