Is Elder Bush Plant Toxic to Dogs?

by Susan Paretts Google
    Keep Spot away from your elderberry bushes.

    Keep Spot away from your elderberry bushes.

    Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

    Elder bush plants (Sambucus spp.), also referred to as elderberry bushes, are deciduous shrubs that produce edible fruit commonly used to make jams and jellies. While the ripe fruits are safe for both people and pets to eat, the rest of the plant and its unripe fruits are toxic if eaten.

    Elder bushes produce eye-catching clusters of white fragrant flowers and of dark purple to little black round fruits. These plants typically grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, depending on the species. The entire plant, including its unripe fruits, is considered highly toxic to both people and our canine companions, warns the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources website. The plants contain chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides. When chewed, these glycosides convert to hydrocyanic acid inside the body, poisoning your pup, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual.

    Depending on how much of an elder plant your pooch ingests, he may experience vomiting or diarrhea. Other symptoms of cyanogenic glycoside poisoning include drooling, trouble breathing, seizures, shock and coma, according to Dr. Karen Halligan's website. When a large amount of plant matter is ingested, it could be fatal so it's important that you get Spot to the vet right away if he's eaten any of your elder plants. She can provide supportive care for your pooch, remove the plant material from his tummy or administer medications to counteract his poisoning symptoms.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

    Trending Dog Pet-Related House & Yard Care Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!