Generically named Caesalpinia pulcherrima, the peacock plant is also known as the dwarf poinciana, Ohai Ali’i, and the pride of Barbados. It can be found in the tropical and subtropical parts of America.
You can spot the peacock plant from a mile away. It has five orange and red flowers and attracts many insects and birds. Humans commonly use this plant to treat wounds and gastrointestinal disorders. However, the peacock plant, if consumed in large doses, can be toxic to dogs, so if you have a pet, you must avoid growing this plant in your garden.
Is Peacock Plant Toxic to Dogs?
The peacock plant is toxic to dogs, especially if they ingest the plant or its seeds. The hydrogen cyanide and tannins are harmful to dogs and are present everywhere- in the leaves, seeds, and seed pods.
Dogs are curious by nature and will go close to anything that smells like food or looks edible. People usually keep this plant at home to brighten up their space or medicinal purposes, so it is easy for a bored dog to chew on the plant when no one is looking.
The peacock plant is a tree or shrub that belongs to the legume family. It was named in honor of the physician, philosopher, and botanist Andreas Caesalpinia. This plant can be found in Peri, Southeast Mexico, and the Caribbean and is typical to forested grasslands, bushland, and coastal thickets.
Keep in mind that there are 140 species of this plant, many of which can be found in Yemen, Southern Africa, Central America, Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona. It can present itself as a climbing plant or one that stands upright. Some species of this plant also have spines and prickles and only bloom in the summer, while others bloom throughout the year. The blooms can appear in several colors, including yellow, red, and orange.
Individuals use it for decoration purposes in their gardens since this plant is perfect for a boost of color to any space. When the seeds of the plant mature, they can be toxic to dogs and lead to stomach pain because of the tannic acids found in the plant.
What are the Symptoms of Peacock Plant Poisoning in Dogs?
An hour or two after ingesting the peacock plant, your dog will start to feel sick. The Caesalpinia pulcherrima plant causes the same symptoms as any other gastrointestinal irritants.
Some of the symptoms of peacock poisoning in dogs include:
- Drooling a lot
- Loss of appetite
While the peacock plant is poisonous to dogs, it is only mildly so. This means that if you find that the symptoms of poisoning are more advanced, it could be because of a secondary disorder or you are confused between two plants. Any poisoning can lead to intense diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration if not treated promptly.
If you have not seen your dog eat the plant and have no idea what is causing the intense symptoms, you might have to describe the symptoms to your vet and let them figure it out from there. Plant poisoning symptoms are usually general as the toxins and disorders can point to several plants. Hence, your vet might tell you to describe the area you were in, what plants were there, and anything that will help him understand what plant your dog has ingested.
One way to understand imbalances and toxins would be by getting a blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. While this may help detect which plant your dog ingested, some compounds and tannins might not show up in the test.
Your vet may also need to pay attention to the contents your dog has expelled from its body, as these can help with the diagnosis.
Why is the Peacock Flower Poisonous to Dogs?
The Caesalpinia pulcherrima plant contains many toxic components, particularly terpenoids, tannins, and pulcherralpin. There are also other compounds present in the plant that cause it to be harmful to dogs. These include:
Some dogs can be extra sensitive to the components present in peacock plants and may experience excessive vomiting and nausea. Too much diarrhea and vomiting are harmful to your dog because they can lead to severe dehydration and, if not treated in time, could also cause death.
If you find that your dog has ingested any part of the peacock plant, make sure to monitor it carefully for the next 48 hours. Look out for signs of dehydration, mainly exhaustion, panting too much, sunken eyes, dizziness while standing, and a lack of elasticity in the skin. All these signs point to distress, and if you are unsure what to do, you must contact your vet immediately before the symptoms persist and get worse.
How Toxic is the Peacock Plant for Dogs?
Even though it is a stunning plant, the peacock plant is toxic to dogs. In fact, one nibble and your dog can start to feel the effects of the plant. However, your dog can recover quickly if you notice symptoms and manage to put your dog under observation and give it some medication.
However, remember that dogs cannot deal with the peacock plant. If your dog is fond of nibbling on the plants in your garden, ensure no peacock plants are growing nearby.
The plant is mildly harmful to dogs, while the flower that it blooms is extremely poisonous. If cultivated indoors, this plant is not as toxic because it does not produce any flowers.
How to Treat Peacock Plant Poisoning?
If your dog gets peacock plant poisoning after eating the plant in your garden, you can easily handle the case at home. Of course, before you start giving your dog any kind of medication or therapy, it is important to jump on a call with your vet to get proper instructions and ensure that you are not doing anything wrong. A quick phone call with your vet will also help you determine whether the toxins that your dog has ingested require a visit to the vet’s office or not.
If your dog is showing signs of a gastric issue such as vomiting and diarrhea, don’t give it any food for at least 12 hours or till they stop throwing up. This allows the muscles in the stomach to recover so that the gastric spasms ease and your dog stops vomiting. A foolproof way to avoid dehydration is by giving your dog water and crushed ice a few times a day.
Once your dog has stopped vomiting and passing water in its stool, you can start giving it food in the form of bland, soft foods. Do this for a day or two so that you can ease them into a regular diet. During your dog’s recovery period, you should include a protein source like cottage cheese or boiled chicken, as well as a carbohydrate that digests easily, such as potatoes or rice.
If your dog continues vomiting and diarrhea, your vet might recommend an IV fluid treatment to ensure it does not get too dehydrated. Moreover, some medications, such as Imodium, might be given to your dog to deal with its gastro problems.
Our Final Thoughts
If you take your dog out on a hike, ensure you are looking after it. Dogs tend to wander and are naturally curious, so they try to eat anything they can lay their paws on. However, as dog owners, we are responsible for ensuring that our dogs do not eat anything toxic or poisonous. This is especially hard to deal with when traveling through a forest. We recommend using a leash to keep your dog close to your side and ensure that it does not put anything in its mouth.
If your dog does happen to nibble on the peacock plant, it will start to experience diarrhea and nausea within a few hours. This depends on the dog’s age, diet, temperament, and how much of the plant it has consumed. To alleviate the reaction of the plant’s toxins, you must increase hydration and make notes on your dog’s bowel movements, what its poop looks like, how it is behaving, and what time it started feeling sick. These are important as if you cannot handle the situation, your vet will need as much information as possible before starting your dog on a round of medications.
Here are some of the best foods to feed your dog while it is recovering:
- Skinless chicken meat
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Pureed or canned pumpkin
- White rice
- Cottage cheese
- Cooked mashed carrots
- Probiotics that your vet has approved.
Make sure you avoid taking your dog on long walks while recovering. Moreover, do not allow it to jump and play around with another dog during this time, as any physical activity will only slow down your dog’s recovery and could also make it feel sicker.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.