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Is Consumption of Dogwood Berries Safe for Dogs and Cats?

Dogwood berries can be mildly toxic for dogs and cats
Most Toxic!
Castor bean, Nerium oleander, Cyclamen, and the European mistletoe are some of the plants that are considered to be most toxic for dogs. So, in case you have a pet dog, avoid planting them in your garden or inside the house.
Dogwood trees belong to the genus Cornus, and are around 15 to 30 feet tall. They are different species of dogwood trees, but the Cornus canadensis and Cornus suecica species are well-known for their attractive red-colored berries.
Many pet owners are confused about the safety of feeding these berries to their furry and feline friends. The following sections discuss the effects of feeding dogwood berries as far as pet health is concerned.
Can Dogwood Berries Be Given to Dogs and Cats?
One should avoid feeding dogwood berries to both, dogs and cats. As these berries have a slightly sour taste, their consumption can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. Your pet is likely to vomit or suffer from diarrhea due to this GI irritation. Dogwood berries are in toxicity class III category, meaning, they are slightly toxic for dogs and cats. Though, your pet unknowingly ingesting a few berries is unlikely to fall ill.

The risk of GI problems is pretty high, particularly when they are given in high amounts. Moreover, dogwood berries have large seeds, which means excess feeding can lead to bowel obstruction, especially in cats and small dogs.

As these berries are considered slightly poisonous, their consumption is unlikely to have a negative impact on the liver or kidney functioning. Also, till date, there have been no cases of organ failure in pets arising from ingesting dogwood berries.

Difference in Opinion
Although the side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting in dogs and cats are often reported due to ingestion of dogwood berries, surprisingly, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) does not consider this plant or its fruit to be toxic. However, the American Dog Trainer’s network deems the fruit of this plant to be toxic.
Even the Minnesota Poison Control System (MPCS) lists the dogwood plant as mildly poisonous for animals. In spite of this difference in opinion, the fact remains that dogwood berries are GI tract irritant for pets, which can unsettle their digestive system.
As far as treatment is concerned, avoid feeding anything for at least 8 hours. You need to do this until the vomiting completely stops. The vet may advice you to give famotidine every 12 to 24 hours, which will help calm your pet’s tummy troubles. Slowly introduce easily digestible foods, such as rice boiled with chicken, when your pet starts feeling better. Continue giving bland food until it recovers completely.
Are Dogwood Berries Safe to Eat for Humans?
Although dogwood berries are not considered poisonous for humans, one should take a cautious approach to eating these berries.

Too much consumption can be problematic for your health. You got to be more careful, particularly when giving this to small children, as they may choke on the berries due to their large seeds. To be on the safer side, isolate the pits and seeds from the berries before giving them to children. All in all, don’t go overboard when eating dogwood berries. Having them in moderation or in small amounts is not a cause for concern

On the whole, while the health risk is minimal when feeding a few berries, giving in large quantities is a cause for concern, and most likely to upset the digestive system of your pet. However, to be on the safer side, it is advisable to altogether avoid feeding berries to your pet cat or dog.

Updated: May 21, 2018 — 12:52 am

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