Warmer weather is finally here and I know that means many of us will be outside with our fur kids, mowing the lawn, watering flowers and planting gardens.
As dog owner's, not only do we have to be mindful of the temperatures and weather conditions, but we also need to be mindful of the types of plants we use in our gardens. Below is a list of common house or garden plants that are dangerous to dogs.
If your fur kid gets a little too adventurous while outdoors and ingests any of these plants or flowers, be sure to contact your veterinary right away.
My husband thinks tomato's are gross, but I eat a bowl of diced up tomatoes as a snack, they're delicious, but dangerous for your dogs. Tomatoes themselves are toxic and so are the plants they grow on. If your dog eats a tomato or tomato plant be on the look out for symptoms such as; over production of saliva, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, weakness, slow heart rate, dilate pupils, confusion, and drowsiness.
My grandmother use to grow Aloe plants on their back porch and would grab one as soon as my brother or I had a scratch or cut that needed soothing. Surprisingly, Aloe, if ingested by your dog, is toxic and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, changes in urine color, tremors or anorexia.
Apple Trees (including Crabapples)
While apples themselves are not toxic (with exception of the seeds which contain cyanide) the trees they grow on are. The stems and leaves of apple trees contain Cyanogenic glycosides and can cause excessive panting, shock, mucus membranes such as the gums, to turn bright red, dilated pupils and difficulty breathing.
While these cute little flowers can add some extra fullness to the bouquet your husband bought you, they can be dangerous to your pooch if ingested. Diarrhea and vomiting are in your future if your dog decides they don't only look pretty, but they look appetizing as well.
Though you may not know what they're called, Begonia's are common flowers in many neighborhood gardens and hanging baskets. They are also very toxic to dogs and can cause symptoms such as intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
Branching Ivy may add a special magical touch to the arch way leading into your garden or climbing up the fixtures in your garden, it can cause abdominal pain, over production of saliva, diarrhea and vomiting, if ingested by your dog. The berries are also toxic, but the most toxic part of this plant is the foliage.
Mint might just be your secret weapon against stomach pains, but for your dog it can cause diarrhea, vomiting or even liver failure.
Mums are a favorite of mine for their low maintenance style and bright colors, but they are dangerous for dogs. Ingestion can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, skin dermatitis, over production of saliva and incoordination.
I really enjoy the Hibiscus flowers that grow along the side of my house, but I am always leery of the dogs when they are outside the gated area as ingestion of this flower can cause diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Pretty to look at, but not so pretty to ingest.
Garden Hyacinth are another favorite for the low-maintenance gardener, but they can cause a series of unpleasant side effects if ingested by your dog; vomiting, diarrhea, skin dermatitis or other allergic reaction. While the whole plants is toxic the most toxic component are the bulbs.
Garlic, in small doses, use to be used as a flea repellent, but research has shown prolonged exposure, even is small doses, is toxic and can poison your dog. Symptoms include vomiting, weakness, elevated heart rate, excessive panting and the breakdown of red blood cells as well as bloody urine.
My grandmother use to make an amazing Rhubarb pie with freshly grown Rhubarb from their garden, so good! For your dog, it could be a deadly pie as Rhubarb can cause the over production of saliva, tremors and even kidney failure.
Lily of the Valley
I remember adoring these flowers in my grandfathers garden, they were always my favorite. While they appear sweet and harmless they are actually very toxic to dogs. Irregular heart beat, coma, seizures, disorientation, vomiting, and low blood pressure are just some of the symptoms you could see if your pooch decided to pig out on this cute little flowers.
Everyone, meet Harlee. She is a 10 month old Bull mastiff who tips the scale at 95lbs and thinks she's a lap dog. The picture to the left is deceiving, just like the people who breed, sold and eventually abandoned her.
Harlee, was purchased by someone who wasn't looking for a companion animal, but rather an easy way to make some cash. Her health and well being was not their first concern and despite having been told not to breed her before the age of 2, they attempted to mate her at a ripe 9 months old, but something went terribly wrong.
When Harlee went into heat the amount of hormones surging through her system was too much and she suffered a vaginal prolapse. Her owner's did not recognize the prolapse as unusual or out of the ordinary and therefore let her insides hang out for at least 4 weeks before seeking veterinary help.
The story goes; Harlee was purchased from a breeder who claimed she was AKC registered, though I find that hard to believe as she has some...quirks that a conscious breeder would have been leery of when picking two dogs to mate. After all, when breeding two dogs the hope is to have perfect or nearly perfect offspring. Good breeders look to better the breed by produceing healthy, medically strong blood lines to carry on a breeds legacy. They're not in it for the money.
My suspicion is that Harlee was purchased from a backyard breeder who in turn sold her to someone whose intention was to become a backyard breeder themselves (whether that's how they want to refer to hemselves or not, it's what they are). The idea that this individual thought a vaginal prolapse was normal speaks volumes to their lack of experience and knowledge regarding dogs, and more specifically, breeding dogs.
To correct and prevent Harlee's condition form reoccurring in the future, it was safest and best to spay and surgically place her insides back in their proper position. Hearing this news her owner's decided to abandon her at the veterinary office as they no longer had a need or desire to keep her if she could not produce puppies.
Surgery was performed and Harlee was brought into rescue where she would heal and learn to trust people again. After a few rounds of anesthesia to replace sutures that had pulled out due to swelling and stress, Harlee was off to foster care until she healed enough to go home. It took several trips to the vet, KY jelly, diapers, a variety of different meds, lots of hot-dogs and one committed first time foster mom to get her healed and ready for her new life.
Below are some pictures from Harlee's Journey.
Shortly after Harlee was placed in her forever home, another dog entered my; meet Max.
Max was brought home as a puppy from a shelter in New York. He's now 3 years old and has spent the vast majority of his life confined to a crate. The above picture is from the day his owner's surrendered him into rescue care; happy as can be laying in the grass.
Shortly after emerging from his crate, it was obvious he had a nasty ear infection brewing in both his ears. He'd walk from one end of the kitchen to the other while shaking his head just trying to get some relief from the constant itching and irritation. A vet appointment was made before evening leaving the owner's house.
A day later and the ear infection had turned into a massive oozing, bleeding mess and touching Max's ears was completely out of the question. A peek under the microscope and it was confirmed that not only did Max have an ear infection, but it was a grade 4+ containing not only bacterial cocci but also rods. Pain meds, antibacterial meds, and a deep inner ear application later and Max was ready to fly out the door and return to his foster's couch for recovery.
Though Max is in otherwise good health, with a shiny coat, a healthy weight and a super friendly personality, Max was still neglected and his previous owner's neglect has resulted in some pretty hefty medical expenses and a lot of pain for Max. But just like Harlee, we'll get him patched up and healthy, ready for his new life in a loving, forever home where he can run free in a yard and snuggle up next to his humans instead of being quarantined to a crate day in and day out.
This is the life of rescue. It's stressful and depressing, but it's one of the most rewarding experiences. Nurturing a life to give an animal a second chance, to help the helpless and to make a small impact in a big world.
I may only help one or two dogs at a time, but at least I am doing what I can with the resources I have. I couldn't do what I do without the support of others. Whether it's encouraging words, donations of toys and leashes or that illusive green stuff that makes the world go round. It takes a team to help just one dog and I'm just asking for a little bit of help.
Max is still under the rescue's care and likely has several veterinary appointments in his future. The remaining funds that were raised for Harlee have been exhausted for Max's medical care so any donation, none too small, would be greatly appreciate.
Max will be up for adoption once he has had time to heal and the Vet has cleared him of all and any infections. He is currently on a 21 day antibacterial script and has a follow-up appointment next week.
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!