What is So Harmful About Bleeding Heart to Pets

June 25, 2019 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Pet Bleeding heart poisoning

Bleeding Heart is one of the most beautiful and unique flowers blooming right now in the Treasure Valley. It’s what’s in those tear-drop shaped blooms that you need to be concerned with for the sake of your pets. But first, let’s answer the question of why dogs and cats eat plants in the first place.

Why Dogs and Cats Eat Plants

Humans are not absolutely sure why dogs, cats and other pets eat plants and grass since pets can’t communicate their intentions verbally.  One of the more popular and long-standing speculations is that animals are trying to induce vomiting or completely remove parasites from their intestinal tracks.

Bleeding Heart Toxins

Bleeding Heart contains a toxin called isoquinoline alkaloids which is poisonous to animals, specifically to dogs, cattle, and sheep. This naturally occurring alkaloid is used in human medications such as morphine, codeine, and emetine (a medicine to help induce vomiting).  As we stated above, it might very well be the intention of your dog or cat eating the flower to empty their stomachs, but animals don’t have the capacity to understand what their limit is or how much their bodies can withstand.

Depending on the amount ingested, your pet can experience mild to severe symptoms and will need to be brought to your veterinarian immediately. 

Taking Pet Precautions

If you do have a plant eating pet, be sure to use pet friendly herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.  Also, create a barrier around where the Bleeding heart is growing so your dog, cat, or even young children can’t get to them.

It’s better to be overly cautious than under prepared. Putting up a $50 fence around the flowers will be far easier on your wallet and stress level than paying a $700 veterinary bill.

For a list of the more toxic plants for pets, check out our ebook or download it for your files.

Topics: Dangerous Plants for Dogs and Cats

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.

Plants that are harmful to your pets