Are Hostas Poisonous To Dogs?

Hostas are a common plant found in many gardens and parks.

With this plant growing in popularity over the last decade, it’s realistic to assume that your pup may encounter them at some point.

So what are hostas, and are they toxic to our canine friends?

In this article we will get into the details of what makes hostas poisonous to dogs, and help you better understand what can happen if your pup gets their paws on this plant.

Are Hostas Poisonous To Dogs

What Are Hostas?

Hostas, or plantain lilies, are a low-maintenance plant that are part of the Agavaceae family.

With being low to the ground and extremely tolerant to shade, this plant is a favorite in gardens around the world.

There are also over 40 species of hostas out there, making it even more likely for your dog to come in contact with them at some point.

Hostas often have thick bases with many leaves, many of which are striped or ribbed.

These plants also have flowers at the tip of the stalks, and they usually grow in clusters.

These flowers can range in color from plant to plant, but are often either white or shades of blue.

What A Hostas Plant Looks Like
What A Hosta Plant Looks Like

Why Are Hostas Poisonous To Dogs?

Hostas are toxic to dogs due to the saponins that are present within the plant.

Saponins are known to cause gastric irritation in our furry friends, and even skin irritation if the dog rubs against the plant frequently.

While most plants harbor most of their danger within the bulb, hostas contain saponins in every portion of the plant.

No matter which section of the plant your dog takes a bite out of, GI upset can occur.

While this usually only occurs when dogs consume soap with saponin, this toxic substance has been linked to serious digestive complications.

Saponin has the ability to foam up in the intestines when eaten in excess, which can lead to a life-threatening condition called bloat.

It is extremely rare for a dog to eat enough hostas to cause this complication, but it is something to be aware of.

Will Hosta Plants Make My Dog Sick?

Even a small amount of ingested hosta can cause your pup to experience GI upset.

The severity of the toxicity will range based on how much of the hosta plant your dog ate, as well as how large your dog is.

The larger the amount of the hosta plant consumed in comparison to your dog’s size, the more severe the toxicity will be.

Even if your dog just takes a quick nibble on the leaves, we always suggest reaching out to your veterinarian to be safe.

Plant toxicities are not something to take lightly in our canine friends.

What Are The Signs Of Hosta Plant Toxicity In Dogs?

If your dog consumed any portion of the hosta plant in your garden, there are a few symptoms they may experience in the hours following.

To help you better recognize hosta poisoning in your dog, let’s list some of the most common symptoms below.

Symptoms of hosta poisoning in dogs include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach gurgling
  • Flatulence
  • Anorexia or decreased appetite
  • Weakness
  • Skin irritation (if your dog rubbed against the hosta plant)

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, it’s time to reach out to your vet for further guidance.

Quick action is essential when offering your dog the best chance at recovery when dealing with plant toxicities.

How To Treat Hosta Poisoning In Dogs

If your dog is experiencing a hosta toxicity, there are a few things you can expect at the vet’s office.

To help you better understand the options available to your pup, let’s discuss the most common treatment approaches below.

Inducing Vomiting

If you caught your dog in the act of eating a hosta plant, your vet may be able to induce vomiting to prevent further complications.

This will involve your vet giving your dog an injection to make them nauseous, allowing them to empty the contents of their stomach before they absorb into your dog’s system.

Your vet may still prescribe activated charcoal to absorb any lingering toxins to be safe, but this will vary case to case.

Assessing Hydration

If your dog is already experiencing GI upset, they may have become dehydrated due to their vomiting or diarrhea.

Your vet may either suggest IV fluids if the fluid loss is significant, or suggest fluids under the skin if your dog can be managed at home.

Addressing The GI Upset

Dogs with a hosta toxicity will often require a combination of medications to soothe their stomach.

This may involve antiemetics to control their nausea, antacids or gastroprotectants to settle any GI irritation, and GI antibiotics and supplements to resolve their diarrhea.

Close Monitoring

If your dog is experiencing a severe hosta toxicity, they may suggest admitting your dog to the hospital for close monitoring.

This will not only allow your vet to watch them closely for any sign of serious complications, but it will allow them to manage their symptoms around the clock.

Prognosis Of Hosta Poisoning In Dogs

The prognosis of hosta poisoning in dogs is good when following the guidance of your veterinarian.

Most complications from hosta toxicities arise when symptoms are neglected, as dogs can become dangerously dehydrated due to GI upset.

As long as you seek veterinary care as soon as possible, your pup has a good chance at a full recovery.

Final Thoughts

Hostas are one of the many household plants that can be toxic to our furry friends.

Be sure to educate yourself on the potential threats of hosta plants if you have them in your home, so you can be aware of their dangers.

For those who do not know what hosta plants are or look like, be sure to look up pictures so you can identify any on your property.

There is one comment:

  • Larry Brady at 10:15 pm

    What about crunching and dropping the long dead, dried stems? Our five year old 50+ pound Lab/Hound mix was crunching some dried stems and then dropping them. I don’t think she ate any of them, or is she did, not much. It’s December 1st and the flowers and stem have been long dead, and the leaves are turning yellow but are not yet dried.

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