My Dog Ate Azalea Leaves or Flower What Should I Do?
Do you have beautiful azaleas in your yard? These shrubs are gorgeous in the spring, adding a pop of color wherever they’re planted. While these plants can be extremely pretty, they are also very dangerous to dogs.
What are Azaleas?
Azaleas are cousins to rhododendrons. They’re a flowering shrub that has beautiful big flowers. The types grown in the US include:
- Rhododendron occidentale: which are usually found in southern Oregon and northwestern California. They have very large flowers that may be white with a spot of yellow or are completely yellow.
- Rhododendron arborescens: are typically found from Alabama and Pennsylvania and grow wild. They have a sweet perfume, and the flowers are usually white or pale pink, sometimes with a yellow flare.
- Rhododendron calendulceum: also called the flame azalea, these are found in mountainous regions in the southeastern part of the US. These plants have bright yellow, orange, or red flowers, but no fragrance.
Unfortunately, these beautiful flowering plants are extremely poisonous to dogs. They contain a neurotoxin which is called grayanotoxin. This substance is found in the petals, leaves and other parts of the plant including the pollen.
When the toxin enters the body, it binds to the sodium channels in cell membranes, which disrupts the cells’ electrical current, which leads the cells to a state of permanent excitement.
If you know your fur baby has eaten any part of an azalea, then you’ll need to get him to the vet immediately. This could be a life-threatening medical emergency.
Treatment of Azalea Poisoning in DogsCheck Price on Amazon
Treatment depends on how long ago your dog at the plant, and whether or not he’s developed symptoms of poisoning. If your dog ate the azalea recently and isn’t showing symptoms, then the vet may choose to induce vomiting. They may also treat your dog with activated charcoal, which also works to prevent absorption of the toxin.
If a longer period has passed, then the vet may use other treatments such as a gastric lavage. This is done to remove the toxin from the dog’s stomach. In addition, your dog may require IV fluids to treat dehydration. The IV may also contain electrolytes, sugars, more depending on your dog’s symptoms.
In most cases, with prompt treatment, dogs completely recover. If your fur baby was anesthetized for a gastric lavage procedure, he may need to stay in the hospital one day or so for monitoring. The vet may ask that your bring your fur baby in for a checkup later to make sure the dog is recovering properly.
If you have a dog, or other pets, it’s best not to keep azaleas in your dog’s part of the yard. These plants are very toxic to dogs and also cats, so you may want to avoid these beautiful plants completely to keep your fur babies safe and healthy.