What to Do if My Dog Eats English Ivy

Hedera Helix or English Ivy is a common vine that many people grow in their homes because of its beauty and low maintenance. However, if you have a dog at home, there are some things you need to consider before you plant an English Ivy in your home or garden.

Unfortunately, English Ivy can be poisonous to dogs and other animals. If your dog eats this plant, it will develop health problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues. If not treated in time, English Ivy poisoning can cause living failure, breathing issues, and even death.

There is a steroid called triterpenoid saponin that causes plant toxicity in humans as well as animals. If your dog eats English Ivy, you must take immediate precautions.

What to Do if My Dog Eats English Ivy

English Ivy is highly unsafe for pets. In fact, even touching this plant can lead to infections and skin rashes. Munching on or eating this plant can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and swelling. If your dog continues to eat this plant when it is not being supervised, its organs might fail, leading to its immediate demise.

This is because when the leaves of this plant are swallowed or chewed, they irritate the mucus membranes. The concentration of toxins is higher in the leaves, but overall, the entire plant is poisonous, making it extremely dangerous.

Dogs are intelligent animals who would be naturally deterred by the English Ivy’s bitter taste and unpleasant smell. Still, you never know. Always supervise your dog outdoors as it could chew on its plant and develop cardiac abnormalities, blistering, and allergic dermatitis.

What are the Signs of English Ivy Toxicity?

The plant’s reaction to the body will depend on the amount your dog has consumed. Here are some signs of English Ivy poisoning:

  • Immediate burning inside the mouth as well as the surrounding area of the mouth
  • Pain, choking, swelling, and extra salivation
  • If small amounts of the plant are digested, your dog may suffer from vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea
  • If more significant amounts of the plant are digested, your dog could have difficulty breathing, paralysis, kidney failure, dermatitis, blistering, and its skin may turn red.
  • If not treated in time, kidney and liver damage will occur.

If you find that your dog has had some part of the English Ivy, you must drive it to a vet as soon as possible. Giving your dog any medicines without consulting a vet can harm its health. Do not make your dog vomit intentionally, as this might cause it to choke.

Moreover, home remedies should not be attempted. All you need to do during this time to seek professional help as soon as possible.

The treatment your vet recommends will be based on your dog’s health, size, and how much of the plant it has consumed. If your puppy has munched on some English Ivy, it will develop a bad case of diarrhea compared to an adult dog who has munched on the same amount of English Ivy. Similarly, if your dog had only had a bite of the plant before you noticed it, your vet will recommend a different treatment. 

Keep in mind that English Ivy can be known by a variety of names, including:

  • California Ivy
  • Needlepoint Ivy
  • Irish Ivy
  • Glacier Ivy
  • Branching Ivy
  • Sweetheart Ivy

Treating English Ivy Toxicity

If you find your dog eating an English Ivy, you must identify which part of the plant it has consumed. If unsure, your vet will tell you to take a plant sample. If you aren’t sure which part your dog ate, you will have to visit the vet’s office so that they can take a look at the symptoms your dog is showing.

You should expect your vet to ask you some questions, including if your dog was on any supplements or prescriptions before the incident occurred. This helps narrow down the chances of any drug messing with the toxins and harming your dog’s health. Moreover, the vet will determine if any pesticide was used on the plant before your dog ate it.

A urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and blood count might be recommended so that the vet can note any underlying illnesses, toxins, or imbalances your dog is facing. During this time, your dog will be physically examined for any signs of dermatitis if contact was made with the sap.

If your dog starts vomiting after eating the plant, its vomit will also be studied to gain more knowledge about the toxins ingested. If plant material is found in your dog’s vomit, it will help the vet confirm the diagnosis.

The first step that you must take is to rinse your dog’s mouth with cool, clear water. This will help eliminate any irritation it is experiencing due to the sap of the English Ivy. Water will get rid of the compounds and ensure that the exposed skin does not contain any irritants.

If your dog’s skin is changing color and getting rid, you need to use a bar of soap to cleanse it of any sap. The sap causes allergic dermatitis and irritates the skin of dogs and other animals. You could also give your dog an ice cube to munch on so that the pain and swelling in its mouth reduces.

English Ivy does not taste great, so most dogs will not overeat the plant. However, if it does, your vet will give your dog an anti-inflammatory painkiller to ease its suffering. In case of excessive diarrhea and vomiting, supportive treatment might be offered.

Moreover, the vet will start your dog on an IV fluid treatment so that it does not get dehydrated or if an antihistamine was not given to your pet earlier. Pepcid AC or Imodium might be recommended for your dog for gastrointestinal problems.

Recovering from English Ivy Poisoning

Most dogs will take a couple of hours or days to fully recover from English ivy poisoning. However, this depends on the amount they have ingested. If your dog has consumed larger amounts of the plant or is extra sensitive to the chemical, it will experience vomiting and diarrhea for a few days. 

You must withhold food for at least 12 hours or follow your vet’s instructions. This will give the dog’s stomach a break to ease back into food from repeatedly vomiting for several hours.

Even though your vet may advise you not to give your dog any food during this time, you must offer water and crushed ice in small amounts to ensure that it does not feel dehydrated. After withholding food for a couple of hours, switch up your dog’s diet so that it consists only of bland, soft food for a minimum of 24 hours.

In the recovery period, you should provide your pet with a carbohydrate that can be easily digested, such as rice, as well as a protein source that is bland and unseasoned.

Golden English Ivy - Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot - Hedera Helix - Beautiful Easy Care Indoor Air Purifying Houseplant Vine

Final Thoughts

English Ivy poisoning is terrible for dogs to deal with and costly to treat. Your dog might go through life-threatening reactions that need to be monitored closely. We recommend not planting English Ivy in your garden or any area your dog can access. It is not humanly possible to keep a close eye on your dog everywhere it goes; hence, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Moreover, if you find that the neighborhood where your dog walks have English Ivy plants, monitor it closely so that it does not consume any poisonous plants. Even the slightest physical touch can lead to blistering and redness of the skin, so make sure to maneuver your dog away from any English Ivy plants. 

Of course, dogs love touching and playing with new things, but it is important to draw some boundaries and help your dog understand that there are some things it cannot access. If there is no way to get rid of the English Ivy in your house, you can plant it in a place your dog cannot reach. 

For example, moving the plant to a high spot or tall window will ensure that your dog never sees it. However, you must still be careful and remove any leaves that fall from the plant before your dog smells them.

Remember not to keep this plant on a stand, as your dog can easily push and drop the stand over, getting instant access to the plant.

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