If you look around the Treasure Valley right now, one of the things you’ll notice is how beautiful our area is now that everything is in full bloom. Trees, plants, and shrubs are showing off as we head into summer, and it’s certainly enjoyable to see. But there are some plants and flowers you should be wary of if you have a furry friend in your backyard: the popular Bleeding Heart plant is one of them.
What Are Bleeding Hearts?
The Bleeding Heart plant is an herbaceous perennial and is also known as Asian Bleeding-Heart. It’s a native of northern China, Siberia, Korea, and Japan, and is known for its distinctive springtime pink-and-white blooms which are heart-shaped. These flowers are popular not only because their two fuchsia outer petals create their characteristic heart shape, but also because they are hardy in our growing region.
But despite the many benefits to gardeners, Bleeding Hearts can be toxic to your dog. Here’s what you should know about the dangers of Bleeding Hearts to your dog.
The Dangers of Bleeding Heart Poisoning
When ingested, Bleeding Heart buds and flowers are toxic and can cause vomiting and seizures. Frankly, the same results would be found in humans as in dogs, but it’s unlikely that you’ll start snacking in your garden tomorrow. Dogs, on the other hand, can be curious, especially if a plant is new to his or her backyard or home.
The reason these benign-looking plants are dangerous is that they contain isoquinoline alkaloids. Alkaloids are toxins within plants that can cause severe damage to the liver when ingested in large enough quantities. Small dogs won’t need to swallow much before they’ve begun to experience the symptoms of liver and kidney damage.
The Symptoms of Bleeding Heart Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog consumes the roots or foliage of a Bleeding Heart plant, he will experience the symptoms of toxic shock. Here’s what you should watch out for.
- Sudden clumsiness
- Sudden lethargy
- Respiratory problems
If your dog begins to exhibit any of these symptoms and/or you believe your dog has ingested part of a Bleeding Heart plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.
A veterinarian can assess the seriousness of your dog’s poisoning and act swiftly. If your dog is seizing, your vet will immediately medicate your dog to stop the seizures, as well as treat the vomiting and diarrhea. Your vet will monitor your pet’s kidneys and liver, perhaps prescribing fluids and oxygen as needed.
The toxicity level of Bleeding Hearts is mild to moderate, so if your pet hasn’t ingested much, he or she should be okay with proper medical care. It is essential to call your vet even if your pet is only exhibiting mild symptoms: a vet can tell you whether any action needs to be taken.