Are Hydrangeas Poisonous To Dogs?

Love a lawn full of hydrangea shrubs? Make sure your dog doesn't eat those showy blooms.

Southern gardeners love the look of hydrangeas in the spring and summer. Their showy blossoms 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 these beautiful shrubs are toxic to your pup 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.

Hydrangeas Are Toxic To Dogs

"Dogs will become poisoned from eating any part of the hydrangea plant," says Dr. Michelle Burch, a vet at Safe Hounds pet insurance. "The toxic component of the hydrangea plant is a cyanogenic glycoside." Chewing plants with this compound causes cyanide to be released. The leaves, buds, flowers, and bark all contain the toxin, so if your dog munches any part of your hydrangeas, he could get sick. Hydrangeas also are toxic to other pets like cats and horses.

Symptoms of Hydrangea Poisoning

According to the ASPCA, eating hydrangeas most likely will cause your dog gastrointestinal distress, and in rare cases can cause cyanide intoxication. Here are some of the symptoms that dogs may show after eating hydrangeas:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful belly
  • Depression

"In rare cases and with large amounts of ingestion, a dog may develop an increased heart rate and increase in body temperature," says Dr. Burch.

Are Hydrangeas Poisonous to Dogs?

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Hydrangeas

Thankfully, cases of hydrangea poisoning are not usually severe, but your dog will typically need supportive care to recover. Owners should contact their veterinarian for advice and to schedule an appointment. Supportive care can include fluid therapy, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrheal medicine, and pain control.

"If your veterinarian is unavailable, I recommend contacting either the ASPCA poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661," stresses Dr. Burch.

She says if you're watching and waiting to see if your dog suffers any ill effects from eating a small amount of the hydrangea plant, feeding the dog a bland diet of cooked chicken, white rice, or boiled white potato and plain yogurt until you get further instructions from your vet can be helpful.

Keep Your Dog Away From Hydrangeas

If your dog is prone to chewing on foliage or flowers, build a decorative barrier around your hydrangeas or plant them in areas that your pup doesn't frequent unattended, like the side or front yard. This will help prevent him from munching on these poisonous flowers. Then plant pet-safe shrubs and flowers in areas where your dog is free to run.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do any animals eat hydrangeas?

    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 sprinkling cayenne pepper, garlic, onion powder, or castor oil.

  • What animals do hydrangeas attract?

    Pests such as aphids, scales, and mites are attracted to hydrangeas. Additionally, common wildlife like deer, rabbits, and other rodents tend to snack on hydrangea leaves and flowers. 

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