Spring is upon us and Summer is fast approaching. That means longer beautiful walks with our dogs, but it also means our gardens are well underway. Whether landscaping, flowers, or vegetable gardening, it’s important that we remember we share our outdoor spaces with our pups and not all plants are safe. Some plants may only leave our fuzzy friends with a rash while others can be deadly. Our favorite trails and blooming houseplants can also cause problems because there are numerous poisonous plants for dogs.
Here’s a list of five common plants and flowers that cause rashes and skin problems. We need to remember to avoid this vegetation or dig them up and donate them to our dog-free neighbors:
The whole plant is dangerous. Stalk, leaves, and flowers can all cause problems including oral irritation, intense burning, and vomiting. Also called, African Lilies, these are a summer-flowering perennial plant that is often selected for their firework-shaped blooms. While the entire plant is a problem, the sap is the real problem, causing painful blisters or ulcers, itching, redness, and swelling. If ingested, it will also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
There are many holistic reasons to have cactus on-hand in many gardens. However, many succulents can cause problems for dogs. The leaves and spines can cause rashes, open sores, and skin infections. Sometimes the spines can get under our dog’s skin causing open sores. Other times, tiny hairs and hooks on the spines can end up coming off onto our dog’s skin and burrow inward, causing irritation and infection. And our sweet furry friends don’t need to rub up against the plant for this to happen. Spurs and spines will often catch on their fur and make their way into their skin as our dogs move and lay down.
In this case, the flowers are the poisonous part of the plant. Chrysanthemums bloom in late Spring and are beautiful. But, they irritate the mouth and the stomach lining if ingested. They also cause skin irritation from activity as simple as rubbing against the flowers. This is true whether the flower is on the plant or has fallen to the ground. Puppies can end up laying on them as they enjoy their afternoon nap and for some, that’s enough to cause a rash. The sap can work its way to their undercoat and then to their skin. For long-haired dogs, it can be difficult to detect and to wash off.
The ficus is one of the most common houseplants in the U.S., but it’s also dangerous for our dogs. It’s a problem if they eat any part of the plant, but simply rubbing against a ficus can cause a rash. Imagine our curious pups trying to smell the leaves or dig a favorite toy out from it the pot. That can lead to severe skin irritation, rash, agitation, drooling, vomiting, and overall distress. There are two types of enzymes in the sap that cause all this irritation and discomfort. And keep in mind that the ficus is a family of small trees and bushes often kept in and around homes. Our friends at Costa Farms provide a list of several varieties with pictures.
Even though many people expect dogs to just know what’s bad for them, we understand that this is a myth. Our companions need help surviving potential poisons just as human children need guidance on what to stay away from. And our dogs are more susceptible to sap and spines because their hair can catch as they run for the ball and frisbee. So, save them the discomfort and save ourselves the worry, but just removing these plants from the house and yard.
If there are a few things we can do should our sweet pup come into contact with these plants. If the symptoms seem severe, such as vomiting, call the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435. And we can call our vet for symptoms and recommendations regarding the treatment of skin lesions that may become infected or that don’t seem to get better.
Also, remember that dogs can have seasonal skin allergies. If symptoms include itching, irritation, and agitation, but we don’t have any poisonous plants, it could be allergies. Consider EcoMange in case it’s actually mites. EcoSpot can help treat hot spots, which may seem similar to some poisonous and irritating plants. Or try EcoAllergy, an all natural anti-allergy supplement that can help dogs fight skin and other allergy symptoms from the inside.