Those same blooms adorning your beautiful flower bed -- you know, the ones your pooch likes to dig up -- are also the plants that can make him terribly ill. From diarrhea to vomiting, seizures and even death, much of what we consider gorgeous viewing can be deadly to dogs.
Why Dogs Eat Plants
Dogs, despite their domestication as man's best friend, are still scavengers at heart. This applies to their eating habits and their social exploration tendencies. Despite man's best effort at teaching table manners, the primitive need of a dog to sniff around, hunt down and rustle up some grub -- any grub he can find -- lingers in the back of a canine's mind. Combine this with the fact that they use their mouths to explore -- which often includes taking a bite out of whatever is being investigated just because it seems like a good idea at the time -- and it become inevitable that your four-legged friend might be guilty of tasting those flowers you've so carefully cultivated.
The delicate light pinkish hue of the azalea flower disguises a danger to dogs who might inadvertently chow down on them. The Azalea Society of America describes their toxicity as mild if eaten by animals, causing abdominal or cardiovascular problems. CNN describes the effect of eaten azaleas in more dramatic terms, stating the ingestion of just a few leaves can cause serious issues such as digestive upset, drooling, loss of appetite, weakness and leg paralysis. In cases of larger ingestion, coma or death are possible. This is troubling as azaleas are a staple of ornamental landscaping throughout the United States.
One of spring's first flowers to emerge, the yellow beauty of daffodils also offers poisonous alkaloids with the high potential of cause vomiting, excessive salivation, diarrhea, convulsions, tremors and heart problems in dogs, as posted on CNN. VetInfo explains the most deadly part of a daffodil is the bulb where two alkaloids -- narcissine and galantamine -- are contained in high volumes. Of course, the bulb is in the ground where dogs like to dig.
This dainty yellow flower isn't particularly popular in home gardening, but the buttercup is a prolific weed that thrives in less than ideal conditions; you and your pup are likely to encounter some if you spend any time hiking and exploring the outdoors. The Pet Poison Helpline classifies its toxicity as mild to moderate with symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, tremors, seizures or the appearance of blisters in the mouth, signaling that your pup may have eaten too much buttercup. Fortunately, buttercups have an extremely bitter taste that often causes a dog to stop chewing long before he's eaten enough to cause damage.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.