Is Honeysuckle Dangerous to Dogs

Picture of honeysuckle

Honeysuckle blossoms, known as lonicera, are beautiful to look at and are exceptionally fragrant, drawing admirers from both the human and animal kingdom. A hardy plant that thrives in midwestern climates, honeysuckle comes in many different varieties with some of the most popular being the trumpet honeysuckle (lonicera sempervirens) and the Southeast and Japanese honeysuckle (lonicera japonica). Irresistible to creatures such as birds, butterflies, and yes, even dogs; unfortunately, honeysuckle can be toxic to canines if ingested. Is honeysuckle dangerous to dogs? If my dog eats it, what can I do to help him? 

What is Honeysuckle?

Honeysuckle is a type of plant that grows as a vine or a shrub. The most commonly seen variety is known as diervilla ionicera. Diervilla ionicera is known for its very thick branches. This species of honeysuckle can reach heights of 3 feet and can span 4 feet in width. Diervilla ionicera displays its beautiful flowers throughout the summer months of June and July each year. The ideal growing conditions for this variety of honeysuckle include direct sunlight to light shade. Little additional watering is required for this plant to thrive. Diervilla ionicera are easily identified by their deep green leaves and beautiful blooms that are white and yellow in color and resemble a trumpet in shape.

Another popular type of honeysuckle is diervilla sessilifolia. It is most commonly seen in southeastern areas of the United States. This type of honeysuckle is often larger than the bush variety but flowers at the same time of year. The blooms found on diervilla sessiliifolia are much more vibrant, resembling sulfur in their yellowish-hue. 

Honeysuckle also comes in a dwarf bush known as diervilla ionicera which is considerably smaller than other bush type honeysuckle varieties. Their blooms are also yellow, but dwarf bush honeysuckle only flower in June. Much like other varieties of honeysuckle, dwarf bushes require very little care to maintain.

When it comes to ideal uses for honeysuckle, the sky is the limit. The shrub variety makes for a very good hedge along the boundary of your property or as a decorative addition to your yard. Honeysuckle is a very low maintenance plant and also readily spreads throughout underground stolons or runners. The vine version of honeysuckle is also a flowering plant; however, when the flowers die off, you will be left with rich red berries in their place. These berries are very attractive to birds, but it is important to note that this fruit is not safe for you or your pets to consume. When eaten in large amounts, the berries of the honeysuckle plant can be poisonous. 

What Makes Honeysuckle Poisonous to Dogs?

There is no question that its intoxicating smell and vibrant color makes the honeysuckle plant extremely tempting to pets. At present, honeysuckle is not included on the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants for dogs. However, several other reputable sources indicate that both scarlet and coral honeysuckle, known as lonicera sempervirens, are extremely dangerous for dogs. Unlike their yellow-hued counterparts, scarlet and coral honeysuckle blooms are brilliant orange in hue. If your dog eats any part of this plant, he can become seriously ill. For best results, keep your dog far away from any variety of honeysuckle to ensure his continued health and wellness.

There are many plants that are toxic to dogs, and thus, that should be carefully avoided. The ASPCA’s list includes such plants as gardenias, aloe, bird of paradise, and hyacinth. However, as is the case with honeysuckle, some plants are omitted from this list that should be included on it. If you are uncertain if a plant in your yard may be toxic for pets or not, the best thing you can do is simply avoid it entirely. This is the best way to ensure your fave canine pal remains healthy.

Is Honeysuckle Toxic for Cats?

Most lists of toxic plants for cats also do not include honeysuckle; however, it is interesting to note that many cats are affected by this blooming bush or vine in the same manner as they are to catnip. However, since it is unknown whether or not honeysuckle is a poisonous substance for cats, it is best to keep your cat far away from this pretty plant’s vines, branches, berries, and flowers.

There are many plants that are considered to be toxic to cats. These include daffodils, aloe, hyacinths, and tulips.

What is It About the Honeysuckle Plant That Can Make My Dog Sick?

Though all parts of the honeysuckle plant can make your dog very ill, it is the vines and flowers that are of the most concern. If your dog chews on or eats parts of the vine or the plant’s blooms, these items emit a substance known as cyanogenic glycoside that begins to foam when it combines with your dog’s bodily fluids such as saliva and stomach acids. When these two materials combine, it creates a gas in the intestines, leading to intense feelings of discomfort, bloating, and pain. The cyanogenic glycoside, if combined with blood, can lead to rupturing of red blood cells which in turn leads to oxygen deprivation. If mixed with stomach acids, cyanide is the end result, a poison that most often ends in the dog’s death.

What are the Symptoms of Honeysuckle Poisoning in Dogs?

If your dog has been around honeysuckle and is acting strangely, it is important to note his symptoms and contact your veterinarian for assistance. The most commonly seen problems that may indicate honeysuckle poisoning are as follows:

  • Discomfort and loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Physical weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Light-colored gums
  • Bad breath
  • Dark, black, or tarry stools
  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stomach rupture
  • Coma
  • Death 

Some pets may start to make strange noises indicating they are in pain or suffering with discomfort and may even try to hide. If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, you should contact your veterinarian or your pet poison control hotline without delay. 

Are There Any Home Remedies for Honeysuckle Poisoning in Dogs?

Unfortunately, no, there are no home remedies to address honeysuckle poisoning in dogs. Though honeysuckle is not listed as a plant that is toxic to dogs, this does not mean that your dog cannot become very ill and even die if he consumes parts of the plant’s vines, branches, flowers, or berries. If your dog is showing signs of sickness, time is of the essence. Contact your veterinarian or the pet poison control hotline immediately. These professionals can advise you on the next steps to take to help your pet. 

Is honeysuckle toxic to dogs? Though the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants for canines does not presently include honeysuckle, it is indeed considered to be poisonous if ingested by your best canine pal. For best results, give honeysuckle a wide berth when out on adventures with your pet.

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