Is hydrangea toxic to dogs?
Southern gardeners love the look of hydrangeas in the spring and summer. Its cheerful flowers in dusty pink, cornflower blue, snowy white or vibrant purple make a beautiful backdrop for a well-manicured yard from May to October. But did you know that these beautiful shrubs are toxic to your puppy and other pets? Here’s what you need to know about dogs and hydrangeas, and what to do if you suspect your dog has been nibbling on your favorite flowering shrub in the shade garden.
Hydrangea is toxic to dogs
“Dogs will get poisoned when they eat any part of the hydrangea plant,” says Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian with pet insurance company Safe Hounds. “The toxic component of the hydrangea plant is cyanogenic glycoside.” Chewing plants containing this compound releases cyanide. The leaves, buds, flowers, and bark contain the toxin, so if your dog chews any part of the hydrangea plant, he could get sick. Hydrangeas are also toxic to other pets such as cats and horses.
Symptoms of hydrangea poisoning
According to the ASPCA, ingesting hydrangea plants is likely to cause gastrointestinal upset in your dog, and in rare cases can cause cyanide poisoning. Here are some of the symptoms that dogs may exhibit after eating hydrangea:
- Painful abdomen
“In rare cases with large amounts of food, your dog may experience an increase in heart rate and an increase in body temperature,” says Dr. Burch.
What to do if your dog eats hydrangea
Fortunately, hydrangea poisonings are usually not serious, but your dog will usually need supportive care to recover. Owners should contact their veterinarian for advice and to make an appointment. Supportive care can include fluid therapy, anti-nausea medications, anti-diarrheal medications, and pain control.
“If your veterinarian is not available, I recommend calling either the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661,” Dr. Burch emphasizes.
She says if you watch and wait to see if your dog experiences any ill effects from eating a small amount of hydrangea, feed your dog a bland diet of cooked chicken, white rice, or boiled white potatoes and plain yogurt until you find it. Getting further instructions from your vet can be helpful.
Keep your dog away from hydrangea plants
If your dog tends to chew leaves or flowers, build a decorative barrier around your hydrangeas or plant them in areas your pup won’t frequent unattended, such as the side or front yard. This will help prevent him from chewing these toxic flowers. Then plant pet-safe shrubs and flowers in areas where your dog is free to run.
Frequently asked questions
Deer, rabbits, voles, and squirrels graze on hydrangea leaves and flowers. Prevent animals from eating your hydrangeas by planting deer-resistant flowers near them using protective netting or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, garlic, onion powder or castor oil.
Pests such as aphids, scales and mites are attracted to hydrangeas. In addition, common wildlife such as deer, rabbits, and other rodents tend to eat hydrangea leaves and flowers.