Watch your puppies around those poppies

By: Roger Coryell
cute chihuahuas in a field of California poppies toned with a retro vintage filter

Spring is a great time to see California poppies, the beautiful orange state flower that can be seen on verdant spring hillsides in parks, nature preserves, and across California. But one thing to watch out for: poppies are toxic to dogs. Is it likely that a dog will be harmed if she ingests poppies or poppy seeds for California poppies?

Yes, California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) contain substances that can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large enough quantities. The poisonous alkaloids in these plants can cause digestive upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases can lead to central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, and even death.

If you suspect your dog has ingested California poppies or other potentially toxic plants, it’s essential to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Treatment will depend on the severity of the exposure but may include supportive care, such as providing fluids and monitoring vital signs, as well as medications to control symptoms.

It’s always a good idea to supervise your dog in areas where they might encounter potentially toxic plants and educate yourself on which plants are toxic to pets. To be safe, it’s best to keep dogs away from California poppies and other poisonous plants.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested California poppies or any other potentially toxic plants, you should look out for the following signs of poisoning:

  1. Gastrointestinal symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are common plant toxicity symptoms in dogs.
  2. Central nervous system depression: Your dog may appear lethargic, drowsy, or uncoordinated. In severe cases, they may have trouble standing or walking.
  3. Respiratory distress: Your dog may have difficulty breathing, which can signify severe toxicity.
  4. Seizures: Seizures can occur due to plant toxicity and are a severe sign of poisoning.

If you observe any of these symptoms in your dog after they have been in contact with California poppies or other potentially toxic plants, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in cases of plant toxicity, and prompt treatment can significantly improve the outcome for your pet.


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