Nature, the enemy?
In the quest to keep our pets safe, it’s important to know what threats might exist in your environment. There are many common plants that can pose a risk to your dog. Because they are built closer to the ground, and the nature of their lives, dogs come into much closer contact with plants than we do. Reactions to these plants can vary from irritating allergies to serious, potentially fatal toxic outcomes.
Atopy is a generalised skin allergy caused by contact with environmental irritants. Pollen contact can trigger allergies in up to 25% of dogs. Short-haired breeds are at the highest risk due to less protected skin, and rashes tend to occur in the armpits, stomach, and groin from running through the offending plants. The specific breeds that are most prone to these itchy reactions are:
-Staffordshire Bull terriers
Other commonly affected dogs are Bulldogs, Spaniels, Dalmatians, Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Once the reaction has happened, your pooch with be uncomfortable and itchy. Scratching the rash, as they will, can often lead to secondary infections. We recommend a quick topical application of CanineCare Probiotic whenever rashes appear to help crowd out any bad pathogens that have been introduced, and assist in healing. Veterinary advice must be sought if the rash persists beyond the single application and if it worsens in degree of severity or degree of pruritis.
We all know there are things around the house that can be toxic for dogs, but it’s also important to note there are plenty of plants - both houseplants and outdoor - that can potentially make your dog sick. From breathing in pollen to skin contact to ingesting the plant, the outcomes for your pet can range from rashes and dermatitis to more severe signs of poisoning. These can include:
- Irritation to mouth eg. Ulcers and blisters
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Lack of urination
- Trouble walking
- Drooling and coughing
If you suspect your dog has been poisoned the first step should always be an emergency trip to the Vet A.S.A.P.
It’s hard to protect your dog from every possible natural threat - the plants with the potential for harm are numerous and can be widespread. However, you can take the time to learn if anything you have at home, or anything they come in contact with during their regular day (walking trails, dog parks etc.) are plants you should be wary of.
To help you out we have compiled a list of plants that are potentially toxic or may cause allergies for your dog. It’s by no means exhaustive but contains many of the most common offending plants across New Zealand and Australia. Most of them can be found in varying parts of both countries.
Barley Grass Seed
Bird of Paradise
Karaka Tree Berries ( Particularly toxic, avoid dropped berries entirely)
New Zealand Tree Nettle (Onga Onga)
Wandering Jew/Dew (Particularly infamous for skin issues)
Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow (Brunfelsia Australis)
If you’re unsure about any plants in your dog’s vicinity, there are Apps available that will identify them for you from a photo. You can take steps with any you do find by keeping houseplants well out of reach, changing the paths and routes you take, and restricting where and how often you let your pup roam off-leash. Plants that are a risk should always be fenced off from puppies and small dogs,, who are particularly vulnerable.