Are Mums Harmful to Dogs?

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Short for chrysanthemums, mums are some of the showiest and most prolific flowering plants. Due to their color, profuse flowers and availability, they may be attractive to dogs who mistake them as edible food or ingest them during play. But this can spell danger for doggy.

Mums Contain Pesticide Ingredients

Among the toxic ingredients mums contain are pyrethrins, sesquiterpene and lactones. Pyrethrins are often used in pesticides, including flea and tick medications. While sesquiterpene and lactones are sometimes used in medicines and by herbalists for their antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and calming effects in humans, eating the plant itself has entirely different, detrimental effects on pets.

Symptoms of Poisoning

A dog that eats mums may have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. He may also exhibit a skin rash or irritation, show coordination problems and salivate excessively. While such symptoms are usually mild, they can vary with the animal and how much plant material he ingested.

Mum Relatives Toxic Too

Mums are members of the Compositae family, which includes daisies and dahlias. Many other -- though not all -- members of the Compositae family are also potentially toxic to dogs. The ASPCA's website lists nearly 400 plants that are toxic to dogs.

Appropriate Action to Take

Call a veterinarian for advice if you believe your dog ate a toxic plant such as mums. When symptoms are mild and of short duration, the dog will most likely recover on his own. If a dog shows more serious or prolonged gastric symptoms, a severe rash or problems with coordination or hypersalivation, it may be advisable to call an animal poison hotline, such as one offered by the ASPCA or the Pet Poison Helpline. Both are staffed by veterinarians and poison specialists and are available 24/7. Both charge a fee for the service.

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