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Wild Plant Hazards for Dogs

on Thursday, 14 August 2008. Posted in First Aid & Safety

pet-camping-iconWhen you take your dog on a camping trip, you have a lot to keep in mind, everything from how much food to pack to where your furry friend will sleep.  But it’s also worthwhile to consider the environmental hazards your dog will face and what you might do if your pup ate a poisonous plant.  Here are a few dangerous plants to watch out for and suggestions for what to do if you think your dog has been poisoned in the wilderness.

A number of wild plants are seriously dangerous for dogs to consume.  When you’re out in the woods, be sure to steer your dog away from all wild nettles, rhododendrons (and their smaller counterpart, azaleas), scotch broom, skunk cabbage, and tansy ragwort.  Wild onions, mushrooms, peaches, and cherries are also poisonous.  And it almost goes without saying that poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak are severely harmful to you and your pet.  If you see your dog digging in the dirt on your camping trip or gnawing on stick from a fruit tree, it would probably be smart to stop that behavior.

For the most part, dogs would rather eat dog food—or human food—than consume wild plants.  But there are cases when it could happen.  A puppy might experiment with the fresh new world of the woods and try a mushroom, or a dog who likes to eat tomatoes off the vine might decide to try the plant itself.  Many dogs love vegetables, and this can lead them into possible trouble when they try something they shouldn’t. 

If you and your dog spend a lot of time on farms or at vineyards, be sure to keep an eye out for the following plants that are poisonous to dogs: alfalfa, avocado, eggplant, flax, java beans, mushrooms, mustards, potato, onion, spinach, and tomato plants.  A number of orchard trees have poisonous wood: almond, apple, apricot, pear and cherry, walnut, fig, and plum.

Most bulbs are poisonous to dogs, and unfortunately they can look like a good thing to snack on if your pup is bored and looking for something to do.  Keep them away from all bulbs, from lilies to daffodils.  Many flowers such as foxglove (digitalis), hyacinth, jasmine, lupine, and marigold are also harmful if eaten by dogs.

What do you do if you think your dog has eaten something poisonous?  First, keep them calm.  Many toxins move more quickly when the body is in action, so stillness is very important.  Second, grab a sample of the plant if you possibly can.  Take this with you to the nearest vet’s office.  The vet may be able to use the plant to identify the exact form of poisoning and help with a cure.  Get more information about poisoning and pet first aid.

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