Are Rhododendrons Poisonous to Dogs?

Those flowers look pretty, but they're toxic to your pup.
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Rhododendrons are evergreen shrubs with colorful, showy blooms. Unfortunately, they are toxic to our canine companions. These decorative plants may add some pops of color to your yard, but just a little nibble of rhododendron could make Fido very sick.

Pretty but Dangerous

Rhododendrons and their smaller relatives the azaleas are members of the Rhododendron genus. These plants produce fragrant, tubular blooms in a variety of shades including red, purple, pink, white and yellow, according to the "Old Farmer's Almanac" website. Rhododendrons grow in generally temperate climates including U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. Although beautiful, rhododendrons and azaleas both contain a poison called grayantoxin, which is harmful to our canine companions, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website. All parts of the plant contain the toxin.

Rhododendron Poisoning and Treatment

If Fido ingests as little as 0.2 percent of his weight in rhododendron matter, he'll become ill, the Pet Poison Helpline warns. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, gastrointestinal pain and a lack of appetite. If Fido ingests a large amount of your rhododendrons, he might experience tremors, seizures, blindness, high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat, or possibly fall into a coma. Bring your pup to the vet right away if you suspect the dog has snacked on your rhododendrons so she can remove the plant matter from his tummy and provide supportive care.