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Geranium toxicity

Sue R

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Last night, just before bedtime, Ed and I heard a crunching sound from the other end of the room, near where my geraniums spend the winter. I'd earlier in the day trimmed and neatened them up so there was very little geranium debris there, just the good green growth and a few dried bits in the water tray.


Since Dan sometimes gets into the paper trash (ready for burning in the woodstove), I thought the crunching might be him and looked over to be surprised that it was Celt, and there was nothing there but the geraniums. I assumed he was crunching on a dry leaf or two (he couldn't have eaten much in the limited time) and didn't think much of it other than that it was odd.


My dogs are great grazers and love veggies (cooked squash, carrots, green beans, and so on) but Celt had shown no interest in grazing on our long evening walk and so I was surprised that he apparently was wanting "green" enough to crunch a few geranium leaves (I've never had a dog pay the slightest attention to the geraniums before).


Checking on the internet, I was not happy to find that geraniums are toxic to dogs, resulting in dermatitis (with skin contact) and digestive upsets (vomiting within minutes to four hours, diarrhea, irritated esophagus, anexoria, etc., when ingested). I wasn't worried enough to call the vet or the poison control center ($65 for a call) at that point but kept a close eye on him.


He was a bit restless and drooling/swallowing and he was fussing like he wanted to go out but I wondered if he didn't want some grass for an upset tummy so I gave him some green beans and sweet potato, so there was something in his stomach that I thought might sooth him. He settled down (although I could still hear that he was doing a lot of swallowing) and just about four hours later, he was up and barfing - some yellow liquid and a ball of plant matter (the geranium leaves, I assume).


I gave him some more beans and sweet potato, noted that his bed had a big drool spot on it, and he went readily back to bed, with no further incidents in the night. He seemed fine this morning, ate eagerly like he always does (I reduced his kibble and gave more beans and sweet potato, plus his raw egg, to keep it bland and fiberful). His stool was fine and he seems just dandy.


I'm thinking he didn't eat much and, since he barfed it up, he'll be fine - but I'm wondering if anyone else has had their dog consume geranium and what they experienced in the way of after-effects.

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Thanks, Liz, for the warning.


What I have read about this seems to indicate that esophageal problems arise pretty quickly and result in a reluctance to eat or drink (and, having had a sore throat of my own a time or few, I know just how that feels) so I'm hoping that since Celt's appetite and interest in drinking water (and eating snow) remain as vigorous as ever, that perhaps that won't be an issue.


But your warning will keep me on the lookout for a problem in this area.

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