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Which plants are poisonous to dogs?

Filling your home with houseplants is quite a trend these days but many people forget that some house plants are toxic to dogs. That one plant which introduces so much atmosphere into your home could make your four-legged friend very sick. In this article we discuss plants poisonous to dogs, how to prevent dogs from eating toxic plants and what to do if they have been poisoned.

What happens when dogs eat poisonous plants?

Dogs’ reactions to eating a plant toxic to dogs varies by breed but there are some common symptoms if dogs chew plants poisonous to dogs. Most often dogs will experience stomach and intestinal discomfort. Possible symptoms include:

  • A rumbling tummy
  • Lip smacking
  • Frequent swallowing
  • Burping
  • Excessive gas
  • Yawning

Some dogs will eat grass when they are nauseous while others just won’t eat anything at all. Whenever your dog starts vomiting and/or has diarrhoea you will know for certain that you are dealing with intestinal issues.

Other symptoms in dogs that have eaten a plant toxic to dogs might include hyperactive behaviour like jumping around and barking. Your dog might also feel cold to the touch and have dilated pupils.

Dogs could also have an allergic reaction after eating certain plants. In the event of a severe allergic reaction your dog could start trembling and have difficulty breathing.

Which Plants Are Poisonous to Dogs?

There are two very popular houseplants which are unfortunately toxic to dogs. These are:

  • Monstera: This plant species is commonly known as a delicious monster or swiss cheese plant. As soon as dogs eat this plant they could experience skin irritation, causing them to scratch more than usual. They might develop open wounds from the excessive scratching. Monstera could also irritate your dog’s airways, leading to issues with swallowing and breathing.
  • Dieffenbachia: This plant, commonly known as dumb cane, is popular because of its attractive variegated leaves and the fact that it is easy to grow and maintain indoors. However, the whole plant is toxic to dogs. If they chew on the plant, it could cause abdominal cramps and swelling of the throat, lips and tongue. When severe, these symptoms could cause your dog to choke.

Both the plants listed above are only poisonous to dogs if they lick or chew them - they won’t be affected if they only walk past or smell the plant.

Rather choose house plants safe for dogs. You won’t have to worry if your dog does chew on them. Only your plants’ appearance will suffer.

Preventing dogs from eating plants toxic to dogs

As always, prevention is better than cure. Now that you are aware of which plants are toxic to dogs it is best to avoid bringing them into your home at all. There are plenty of plants safe for dogs that can introduce as much atmosphere into your home.

Should you already have any of these plants in your home, place them out of your dog’s reach. You could place them on a table or in a raised plant stand. If your dog can’t get to the plant they also can’t be poisoned by it.

Another solution is to train your dog not to chew plants. Train your dog by discouraging them as soon as they get near a plant so that they learn to stay away. Do this with plants safe for dogs as well so that they develop an aversion to plants. This will also protect your dog from accidentally eating poisonous plants outdoors.

Also keep in mind that dogs often chew plants because they are bored. Distract dogs by playing with them and make sure that they have plenty of chew toys to play with. If your dog has something else to chew on, they will be more likely to leave your plants alone.

What should I do if my dog has been poisoned by a plant?

If your dog has eaten a plant poisonous to dogs you should take the same action as you would for any other poisoning. You can try to induce vomiting so that the toxins are expelled from the stomach so less of the toxic substance enters the bloodstream. In an emergency, you can induce vomiting by sticking your finger down the back of its throat.

This isn’t a very pleasant procedure, either for you or your dog. Rather visit your vet if there is enough time. They can inject your dog with Apomorphine, a drug that induces vomiting. Your dog will vomit within seconds and then the problem will be resolved quickly. While a visit to the vet is still annoying, this is the most effective option.

Ideally you should induce vomiting within half-an-hour of your dog having been poisoned. Usually very little of the toxin would have been absorbed into the bloodstream within this time-frame. After your dog has vomited, check whether all parts of the plant have been expelled. Only then can you be sure that your dog is completely safe.

Keep a close eye on your dog for a few days after the poisoning. Make sure that they are eating, drinking and urinating enough and that their stools are normal. Your dog should return to normal fairly quickly. Should they have diarrhoea or be lethargic it might indicate that the toxins have made them ill and a visit to the vet is called for.

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