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home : current news : current news February 26, 2015

5/27/2014 5:13:00 PM
Poisonous plants and dogs
Lucas in the garden  being carefully by Jodi Schneider McNamee
+ click to enlarge
Lucas in the garden being carefully by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

The combination of a voracious appetite and natural curiosity can lead to trouble for dogs. Plants that are poisonous to dogs can be found in your home, your yard and in the wild, and sometimes all it takes is a little bite to lead to an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

Many types of plants and flowers are toxic to dogs. Effects range from mild to severe, depending on the type of plant and the quantity consumed. Some plants will only cause slight stomach upset, while others can cause seizures, coma, or even death.

Toxic plants that are already on your property should be removed, or, if you are planning to get new plants or flowers, educate yourself with a list ( for all poisonous plants that can affect your furry friend. Do not keep toxic plants inside your home.

Among the first blooms that signify the arrival of spring, daffodils and tulips are a cheerful addition to the garden, but they contain poisonous alkaloids that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and convulsions. The bulbs are the most dangerous part of the plant.

Azaleas and rhododendrons are a beautiful addition to the greenery and color of a landscape. However the bark, leaves and foliage all contain toxins deadly to dogs.

The toxicity of grapes to dogs was once thought to be an urban legend. The truth is that even a small serving can cause vomiting and diarrhea, while larger amounts can lead to kidney failure. Researchers aren't yet sure what exactly causes this reaction. Until the cause of the toxicities is better identified, the safest course of action is to avoid feeding grapes to your dog.

With its broad variegated leaves, the dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) is often recommended as an ideal houseplant for natural air purification. But if you choose to have one in your home, be sure it's well out of Fido's reach. When eaten, it not only burns the mouth and throat but causes the esophagus to swell, potentially blocking his airway.

Onions are always a spring favorite and grow easily in our cold climate. Onions pose a significant risk of developing hemolytic anemia, a condition where a dog's red blood cells die. If the anemia is not treated, it can be fatal.

Mushrooms pop up everywhere - in yards, in the woods, in parks, alongside roads, and in salad bars. Some dogs, like people, like to eat them. They can be a gourmet delicacy or deadly poison.

Mushroom hunting is booming in the Pacific Northwest, a region long regarded as a mushroomer's paradise. Dogs, like people, often like mushrooms and are attracted to them by scent and sight and will ingest them willingly.

Unfortunately, they can make your furry friend ill, and in some cases can be fatal to them. Dogs just don't seem capable of discerning the difference between the edible and the toxic. To be on the safe side, it's best not to allow Fido to eat any wild mushrooms at all.

Mushroom poisoning in dogs, is an underestimated problem in North America. Because of the amount of time dogs spend outdoors or in wooded areas, they can be particularly prone to mushroom poisoning. Pet parents need to be vigilant about looking for mushrooms when walking their dogs in parks, along the roadside and on trails.

Poisonous mushrooms can cause a number of symptoms within six hours of being ingested. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, lethargy and seizures.

This is a wonderful time of year for both you and your furry friend to be hiking outdoors or in the yard. Be careful and observant for your pet's sake so that you do not have to take an emergency trip to your veterinarian.

If your pet gets into any suspected toxins or uncertain plants, it is best to contact animal poison control at 888-426-4435, or call your veterinarian immediately. It could save their life.

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