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My Dog Just Ate My Hydrangeas! Are Hydrangeas Toxic To Dogs?

Last Updated: June 1, 2023 | 6 min read | Leave a Comment

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This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate hydrangea and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Did your dog just eat hydrangeas out of your garden or while you were out for a leisurely stroll? Hydrangeas are popular flowering plants native to Asia and the Americas and cultivated widely elsewhere. Because they are common, your pup may inquisitively eat one despite your best efforts to prevent it.

Hydrangeas are most commonly grown as small shrubs and boast beautiful flowers. These flowers can be a wide range of colors but often pink, blue, green, white, and red. They will flower from early spring into fall. So, what happens if a dog eats hydrangea? Are hydrangeas toxic to dogs? The answer is, unfortunately, yes, hydrangeas are poisonous as they contain a glycoside called “cyanogenic glycoside.”

Some pitted fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, including peaches, pears, seeds from apple cores, and some beans. These are broken down during digestion to produce toxic cyanide. If your canine companion ate hydrangeas, let’s look at what you’ll need to do and what your next steps should be.

My Dog Ate A Hydrangea. What Now?

Guilty Husky in Grass
You should call your veterinarian straight away after you suspect your dog has consumed hydrangea.

If your pup has eaten hydrangea or other poisonous flowers or plants, there are a few steps you’ll want to take. More than likely, you’ll need to take your pup in to be examined by your veterinarian. Follow the steps below to ensure your pup is taken care of quickly.

Step 1: Don’t Panic

Don’t panic. Although hydrangeas are poisonous, it is unlikely that most dogs will become severely sick. This will depend on how much Fido ate and if you’ve acted quickly to take prompt action.

Step 2: Secure Your Dog

You’ll want to secure your pup and make sure there’s no ability for them to eat any additional hydrangeas. This means you’ll need to clean up any scraps and put your canine companion in a secure location. Usually, a bathroom or bedroom without access to any additional foreign bodies will do.

Step 3: Figure Out How Much Was Eaten

Your vet is going to ask how much was eaten. You’ll need to know this so that they can figure out the best possible course of treatment for your pup.

Step 3: Step 4: Don’t Force Vomiting

Do not attempt to make your dog vomit at home using hydrogen peroxide or any other substance. Trying to cause vomiting at home may fail, waste time, or expose your pup to other potentially harmful chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide itself can be toxic, so steer away from home remedies in favor of seeking professional advice.

Step 4: Contact Your Local Veterinarian

If you suspect your dog has eaten hydrangea, it is important to contact your veterinarian for advice straight away. In the event of a dog consuming something potentially toxic, time is of the essence. Your vet may ask you to bring Fido in for an examination, or they’ll ask you to monitor your pup at home. Follow their instructions.

Step 5: Follow Your Vet’s Instructions

If you have to go in, your veterinary surgeon will assess your pet and decide on the next appropriate steps. If you are unsure the plant consumed was hydrangea, you could take a sample with you to the vet. Accurate identification of the plant will provide useful information and enable a treatment plan to be formulated.

What Happens If A Dog Eats Hydrangea?

Spaniel With Pink Flowers
If enough hydrangea plant is eaten, the most common symptom seen is digestive upset and either vomiting or diarrhea.

Warning signs, such as vomiting after eating hydrangea, might be evident around 30 minutes after ingesting the poison plant. Hydrangea poisoning is dose-dependent, meaning your pup would need to eat a certain amount of the plant to be in danger of poisoning. Smaller dogs will get ill from smaller amounts, while larger dogs would need to ingest more hydrangea to cause ill effects.

Unlike other toxic plants, a dog would need to consume a large quantity of hydrangea to cause a serious problem. This means in most cases, the dog may experience either no symptoms or very mild symptoms. A dog with pre-existing medical problems may be more vulnerable to side effects as a result of eating hydrangea.

If you have seen vomiting or noticed loose stools, you might also notice they have a reduced or poor appetite. Digestive upset can lead to fluid loss through drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, and some dogs may become dehydrated.

In rare cases where a significant amount of plant is eaten, more serious symptoms may be seen, such as lethargy, confusion, and depression. This is much less likely, though it is best to be vigilant for these more serious symptoms.

I asked fellow veterinarian Dr. Lizzie Youens whether she has seen a lot of hydrangea ingestion in dogs.

“In my experience, hydrangea toxicity is uncommonly seen in veterinary practice. Dogs are inquisitive and playful, and it’s fairly common to have canine patients brought in who have eaten something they shouldn’t, but serious problems after eating hydrangea plants are rare. However, if your dog is known to have eaten some, always call your vet for advice and monitor your pup closely.”

Veterinarian Dr. Lizzie Youens

Hydrangea Poisoning In Dogs: Treatment

Puppy Waiting on Vet Stretcher
Your vet will give treatment instructions based on how many hydrangeas were consumed.

Once your veterinarian has checked over your dog and assessed their condition, they will ensure an appropriate treatment plan is in place. Treatment will depend on the symptoms displayed, how sick your pup is, and whether any other symptoms are present.

The symptoms of hydrangea poisoning are often vague and may appear similar to other conditions. Your vet may need to run some tests to narrow down the cause of the problem. Investigations might include bloodwork and urine tests to assess the impact of the poisoning on your dog’s internal organs.

In the case of vomiting or diarrhea, x-rays or scans may be needed to determine a diagnosis. In more serious cases, there may be a need for hospitalization. This way, your pup can be monitored and provided with the needed treatment. Fluids may be given to replace any losses caused by vomiting or diarrhea, prevent dehydration and help flush out toxins.

Bland food and medication may be prescribed to assist with gut upsets following hydrangea ingestion. Most dogs will make a good recovery, especially when treatment is sought straight away.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Eating Hydrangea?

Black Tan and White Dog With Green and White Flowers
Keeping Fido away from hydrangeas is the best way to hinder it from eating them.

If you grow hydrangeas in your garden, it may be best to grow them in an area that is out of reach. The hydrangea could be potted high up or in a fenced-off part of the garden where there’s limited access to the plant.

Be aware of falling leaves or flowers, which should be cleared away to prevent them from being eaten. Puppies are inquisitive and often most likely to attempt to chew items they come across, so be particularly mindful if you have a young pup in the house.

If you find your pup is drawn to chewing or eating plants in the garden, it is important to try and lead them toward safer options. Offer a toy or safe chew instead, or praise her when she leaves the plants alone. Over time with patience and training, they will be less likely to consume potentially toxic plants in the garden.

Teaching a dog a good ‘leave’ command can also come in useful when you’re out and about, especially if your dog likes to sample everything with its mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all hydrangeas poisonous to dogs? 

Hydrangeas are poisonous because they contain Cyanogenic glycosides. The buds and the leaves both contain the toxin. All hydrangeas contain glycosides, so all hydrangeas are best avoided.

How long after eating hydrangea will a dog get sick?

Symptoms caused by ingesting hydrangea might be seen around 30 minutes after eating the plant. Although symptoms might be seen fairly soon after eating the plant, signs can also be more delayed. How quickly and how severe the signs are will depend on how much has been consumed.

Can hydrangeas kill dogs?

In theory, if enough hydrangea is eaten, there could be enough of the toxic cyanide to be lethal to a dog. The amount of hydrangea needed to prove fatal to a dog will vary according to their size and overall health. However, it is unlikely that a dog would eat enough to prove fatal.

What part of the hydrangea is poisonous to dogs? 

All parts of the hydrangea plant are poisonous. This includes the bark, flowers, and leaves. Therefore, if you suspect your dog has eaten any part of the plant, it is best to seek advice from your veterinarian. No part of the plant should be considered safe. Even fallen leaves or twigs from the plant can prove to be problematic.

Final Thoughts

Although hydrangea is a poisonous plant, for the most part, it will cause mild symptoms. This is because a large amount of the hydrangea plant would need to be eaten to cause a serious problem. Dogs may chew up small parts of the leaves or flowers but are unlikely to be motivated to eat much, so poisoning is rare.

The likelihood of illness is related to the size of your dog and how much they’ve eaten, as well as any other health problems they have. It follows that small dogs and puppies are most at risk of illness after eating hydrangeas.

Although symptoms are likely to be minor, it is always best to seek advice from your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog might have eaten hydrangea because there is always the potential for more serious effects.

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