Can Pine Needles Upset a Dog's Stomach?

by Connie Jankowski
    A walk in the woods is great fun, but beware of the temptations.

    A walk in the woods is great fun, but beware of the temptations.

    David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    The causes of upset stomach in dogs are as vast as they are in people. Anything from contaminated food to obstructions to stress can cause tummy aches. Several plants in the environment can produce matter that causes stomach irritation, including various pine trees.

    Dogs are curious animals, and they explore with their mouths. Pine needle ingestion can create minor discomfort for pets. If your pet has had access to these potential toxins, carefully consider this as the cause of his discomfort. If your dog suddenly shows signs of stomach irritation such as vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy, you can treat mild symptoms with over-the-counter medications. However, if the condition lasts more that a few hours, or if the reactions are severe -- such as trembling or rear weakness -- consult your veterinarian immediately. Pine needles can cause stomach obstructions and can scratch eyes. Be especially aware during the holiday season, after walks in the forest, and in yards with evergreen trees.

    Pet owners should become familiar with the many plants and flowers that may be toxic to their pets and children. The holidays are especially filled with temptations of all types, including the lure of tree bark or pine cones for chewing. Other holiday dangers lie in poinsettias, holly and mistletoe. They can cause the same reactions as pine needle chewing, and also difficulty breathing and erratic behavior.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Connie Jankowski began writing in 1987. She has published articles in "Dog Fancy" and "The Orange County Register," among others. Areas of expertise include education, health care and pets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh.

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