Cranberry cotoneaster is a low-lying shrub with reddish berries that resemble cranberry fruit. The shrub's red orbs make for an attractive landscaping, but they are definitely not edible for you or your trusty canine companion. Never eat cotoneaster berries or any other part of the bush.
Cotoneaster, a flowering plant in the rose family, has many different species, including the cranberry. In the spring it has small, pink flowers with leaves; by late summer, small, bright red buds -- "fruit" -- develop and turn a dark red or purple by autumn. Landscapers often use cotoneaster as border, foundation, or ground cover due to its color and size.
Although the cotoneaster's red buds, or cranberries, are pretty to behold, always keep your dog away from them. Cotoneaster bushes are often used to attract birds, butterflies and bees. While birds eat them without harm, dogs that nibble may suffer gastrointestinal symptoms, such as loose stools and vomiting.
What to Do
If your dog eats any part of the cranberry cotoneaster plant, consult with a veterinarian or poison control center immediately.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.