Puppies enjoy exploring their homes and the outdoors, usually with their mouths and plenty of chewing. Unfortunately, in your little one's explorations, he may come upon some poisonous berries in your garden or even among your houseplants. Prevent a tragedy by keeping all potentially toxic plants that produce berries away from young Fido.
Many common garden and houseplants are poisonous if eaten by your puppy, some of which produce berries that are also toxic to our canine companions. Popular plants like mistletoe, holly, jessamine, English ivy, German ivy, needlepoint ivy, nightshades, elderberry and yew all produce berries that are poisonous to pups, according to the Dogs Trust website. Poisonous berries vary in toxicity levels. Some produce mild poisoning symptoms, including dermatitis or stomach upset; others, such as nightshades, yew, mistletoe and jessamine, can cause death. Because puppies are so small, just a berry or two can be fatal if ingested.
Puppies and Berries
Puppies go through a period of teething when they're around 3 to 4 weeks old and again between the ages of 3 and 8 months, according to the Doctors Foster and Smith website. During this time, they'll be teething on anything they can get their little paws on, including plant berries. Puppies also become bored easily and may decide to occupy themselves by chewing on plant matter, according to the Merck Manual for Pet Health. Small berries look a bit like puppy kibble in some cases, especially if they've fallen off of the plant, which could tempt your little pup to try and eat them. Some pups even have a taste for plant matter, a condition known as pica, where they eat non-food items.
If you think your puppy has eaten toxic berries, get him to your vet right away for treatment. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, seizures, drooling or trouble breathing, warns Dogster. Your vet may induce vomiting to remove the berries from your pup's stomach or administer intravenous fluids. Even if the poisoning is minor, resulting in gastrointestinal upset like vomiting or diarrhea, your little pup can quickly become dehydrated, which the fluids help to prevent. Bring along samples of the berries you believe your pup ate so your vet can identify them and provide appropriate care, recommends the Chadwell Animal Hospital.
Keep in mind that berries that aren't poisonous to people can be poisonous to your pup, including grapes and cherries, warns the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Not only can these and other toxic berries poison your pup, but they're also a choking hazard and can cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract if swallowed, especially for a small puppy. Before installing any berry-producing plants in your garden or bringing a plant indoors, check with your vet or the ASPCA's list of toxic and non-toxic plants first. Give your puppy plenty of toys to play with and chew on in your absence, along with puzzle toys filled with food to keep him occupied so he doesn't chew on things like berries.
- Dogs Trust: Dogs Trust List of Poisonous Plants, Garden and Household Substances
- Chadwell Animal Hospital: What All Owners Should Know About Poisonous Plants
- Dogster: Poisonous Plants and Foods for Dogs
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Pica (Eating Things That Aren't Food)
- WebMD: Slideshow: Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat
- International Veterinary Information Service: Plants Causing Sudden Death
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cherry Tree
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.