Poisonous Plants and Foods for Dogs
The prospective dog owner plans ahead for their new dog. The seasoned dog owner knows that not everything can be planned for. But it is possible to plan ahead for a very serious and common emergency - poisonous hazards for dogs.
There are many toxic foods and plants for dogs. All of the toxins that affect dogs are too numerous to mention in an article so it is best to research anything you aren't sure about. Ask your vet or check with an animal organization like the ASPCA.
Some Inside Plants Poisonous to Dogs
- Aloe Vera
- Elephant's Ear
- Emerald Fern
- Weeping Fig
Some Outside Plants Poisonous to Dogs
- Morning Glory
- Green Potato
Human Foods That Poison Pets
- Avocado: All parts are toxic to dogs
- Chocolate: Contains Theobromine, a cardiac stimulant which can be fatal to dogs
- Fruit Pits and Seeds: Most contain cyanide
- Garlic: Contains Thiosulphate, though a small amount, so a lot would have to be ingested to be toxic. Keep in mind, it builds up in the system
- Grapes: Affects a dog's kidneys
- Macadamia Nuts: Affects the nervous system
- Mushrooms: Affect the nervous system, kidneys and heart
- Nutmeg: Can cause seizures and central nervous system damage
- Onions: Contains same toxin as garlic, though in much larger amounts
- Raisins: Same as grapes
- Sugar-Free Foods: These contain Xylitol, which can cause liver failure in dogs
- Tomatoes, Potatoes and Rhubarb: Parts of these contain oxalates, which can be toxic to dogs
Holiday Hazards For Dogs
The holidays are a very hectic time for dogs and dog owners alike and it's easy to miss some of the plants and foods poisonous to dogs specific to that time.
- Christmas: Many of the plants used for Christmas decorating are toxic to dogs, including Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettias. It's best to find safe substitutes.
- Easter: Lilies are highly toxic to dogs, as are Tulips.
- Fourth of July: Alcohol can be toxic to dogs so during your BBQs, do keep the beer to yourself.
- Halloween: We all know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs but excessive sugar from any source can be as well.
- Thanksgiving: Trim that turkey well and keep the gravy for the humans. Too much fat intake, especially over a short period of time, can be toxic.
General Signs Of Poisoning
Though there can be signs that are specific to each toxin, the most common are:
- Abdominal Pain (your dog may whine and his stomach will be tender to the touch)
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Labored Breathing
- Swollen Limbs
Immediate Treatment of a Poisoned Pet
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms or even if you just suspect he ingested something toxic, call a pet poison hot line such as the ASPCA (1-888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Hot Line (1-800-213-6680). Your local ASPCA might also have a hot line.
If possible, have someone simultaneously call your vet or the emergency vet. They can tell you what to do immediately and prepare for your immediate arrival.
There are home remedies out there such as charcoal and sodium sulfate but it is best to get professional advice before administering these.
An Ounce Of Prevention
Clean House: The first thing to do is take an inventory of all plants in your house. Remove all plants that you know are hazards for dogs as well as those that you aren't sure about. Also, check your cupboards for toxic foods and place them high up with the cupboard securely closed.
Keep a List and Check It Often: Keep a list of toxic foods and plants for dogs. Be sure to check back regularly with your vet and online sources for the most up-to-date information. Some good resources are the ASPCA, the FDA, and the Humane Society. Also, keep a list of a pet poison hotline, you vet's number and an emergency vet number by the phone at all times.
A Dog-Safe Home: It can seem daunting when you consider how many food and plant items can be hazards for dogs but with a little preparation and diligence, you can have a dog-safe house, inside and out.
Photo: Alex E. Proimos