Dogs are not known for being fussy eaters, but what happens if they start munching on your garden plants? Cosmos are common ornamental flowers that are quite popular in gardens around the world. So what happens when your dog eats one of these common garden flowers?
Can the Cosmos plant, in particular, cause any issues if consumed? Well, the good news is that generally speaking, Cosmos flowers won’t have toxic effects on most dogs. However, as with most things dog, everything needs to be in moderation. Even the safest flowers in too big a quantity can be harmful to our canine companions.
In this article, we dive a little deeper into whether these plants are toxic to our pets. You’ll also learn what to do when you catch Fido eating them, and when it’s time to call your veterinarian.
What Is A Cosmo?
There are two types of Cosmos plants, the perennial Cosmos atrosanguineus, and the annual Cosmos, of which there are different varieties. The annual plants have feathery leaves and bright-colored daisy-like flowers, which are usually yellow, pink, white, red, and orange.
The perennial Cosmos has characteristic dark red flowers that smell almost chocolate-like. All these flowers make a great colorful addition to borders, attracting plenty of butterflies and bees, and they are suitable for most gardens.
Are Cosmos Plants Poisonous To Dogs?
No, the Cosmos plant is perfectly safe for dogs, but also fine for people and children, so it makes a great choice of flower for family gardens. All parts of the plant, including the flower, leaves, and stems, are non-toxic, so they shouldn’t cause any serious problems.
The ASPCA reports nothing about Cosmos with regards to toxicity in dogs or cats. But of course, eating a large amount of anything outside their normal diet could potentially cause an upset stomach. If your dog suffers from any vomiting or diarrhea, then it may be best to contact a veterinarian just in case.
While eating the Cosmos plant in small amounts shouldn’t cause any issues, its consumption must not be encouraged. There could be other plants in the garden that, if eaten, have the potential to cause more serious side effects.
If you know that your dog has eaten a Cosmos plant, and then they become unwell, it could just be a coincidence. Your pup could have developed another illness or perhaps eaten something else that you were unaware of, causing their symptoms of ill health. The Cosmos plant is probably not the underlying reason for an illness unless it was a considerable amount that was consumed.
My Dog Ate Some Cosmos. What Now?
If you’ve caught Fido munching on some flowers, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to ensure there’s minimal opportunity for health impacts on your pup. Let’s take a look at these steps in detail.
Step #1: Remove Access To The Plant
Remove your dog from the area to stop them from eating more. While eating Cosmos shouldn’t cause any issues, you should discourage it, as it may lead to an unwanted plant-eating habit.
Step #2: Ensure No Other Plants Were Eaten
Check if your pup could have eaten any other plants nearby. Was it just the Cosmos Fido ate, or could he have eaten any other plants or flowers in your garden? Some flowers, like hydrangeas or tulips, can be deadly in their toxicity levels with our canine companions.
Step #3: Ensure Your Dog Appears Healthy
Check to make sure your canine companion isn’t sick. Dogs will usually be fine after eating Cosmos, so if he’s sick, you may want to double-check if there was anything else he could have eaten. Some dogs may get an upset stomach if they eat a particularly large amount of plant material, but symptoms are usually mild.
Step #4: Call The Veterinarian
Call your veterinarian if you are concerned. You can also call the animal poison control hotline if that’s easier to do. If your pup is sick, or you are worried they may have eaten something else they shouldn’t have done, then call your veterinarian for advice.
Step #5: Monitor Your Dog
Likely, your veterinarian will tell you to monitor your pup. You’ll want to watch out for any additional signs of illness and make sure Fido doesn’t have any more serious symptoms.
Will My Dog Be Okay?
Your furry friend should be absolutely fine if he eats Cosmos flowers. There is a small chance he could develop a mild tummy upset from eating something outside of his normal diet; in this case, some bland, easy-to-digest food for a few days will usually help.
If his upset stomach persists or if he’s just not his usual self, then make sure you take him to your vet to get him checked out, in case there is something else going on. There is no specific treatment for the ingestion of Cosmos as it is not a poisonous plant.
However, if your pet is showing any concerning signs such as lethargy, weakness, disorientation, severe vomiting, or diarrhea, then you should check your garden for any other plants he might have eaten. Regardless of the cause though, you should phone your veterinarian for advice if your pet is poorly.
Preventing Cosmos Ingestion
If your pup is showing an unhealthy interest in your Cosmos plants, you should try to discourage him. Not only may he accidentally one day eat a more toxic plant, but he will also be ruining your garden in the process!
Fence Off The Area
Fence off portions of your yard if you can to keep your pup away from heavily planted borders and pots. This means you can control access so he is only allowed there when supervised. If you aren’t able to do this, you could consider spraying plants with bitter-tasting products like bitter apple to put them off chewing. Make sure you check that the spray is safe for plants and animals before using it.
These tactics can help to a certain degree, but the best thing you can do is to train your canine companion to stay away from the plants to stop accidents from happening. Keep training positive, perhaps using clicker training to help improve his recall, so you can call him away from plants easily if he approaches them.
Help Prevent Boredom
Some dogs will eat plants because they are bored and taking their frustrations out on your garden. Making sure your dog receives adequate exercise and mental stimulation should help with destructive behaviors. A tired and happy dog is less likely to get into mischief! Alternatively, if you believe he is chewing or eating plants out of hunger, then reassess his diet and make sure he is getting the appropriate amount of rations for his size.
If your furry friend is persistent in chewing your garden plants, then you might want to consider removing any poisonous plants from your garden while you work on his training to keep him safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which flowers are poisonous to dogs?
While Cosmos are safe for pets, there are some flowers you should avoid growing in your garden, particularly if your dog is partial to eating your plants! Here are some more common garden flowers that are toxic to our pets, some of which can be fatal if consumed:
- Daffodils: Any part of this flower can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, especially the bulbs. The toxin is concentrated in the bulb, so call for advice as soon as possible.
- Foxgloves: Poisons within this plant can have serious adverse effects on the heart.
- Primroses: These flowers can cause vomiting, depression, and contact dermatitis.
- Rhododendrons: All parts of the plant can cause vomiting, depression, and even coma.
- Lilies: These can be toxic to dogs, but cats are even more susceptible to them. Coming into contact with lily pollen is enough to be fatal in many cases.
- Tulips: These contain glycosides that cause problems in dogs such as drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. As with daffodils, the bulbs can be particularly harmful.
For more information on these, and other toxic plants and flowers, check out our comprehensive guide to plants that are poisonous to dogs. Most dogs will never bother chewing plants in the garden, so these flowers may never cause any problems, but sometimes it’s better safe than sorry. If you are designing your garden then stick to pet-safe flowers like sunflowers, roses, lavender, and freesias.
What happens if a dog eats a poisonous plant?
The symptoms can vary depending on what type of plant was eaten. Many plants will cause vomiting, drooling, and depression. Some may be even more dangerous and cause serious adverse effects to the heart, and they could even be fatal.
If you suspect something toxic was consumed, or if they are showing signs of being unwell, then you should take them to your veterinarian for a check over.
Your vet will start by performing a physical examination to check your pup’s mental status, heart rate, and abdomen for any bloating and discomfort. If Fido is brought in quickly enough then they may be able to receive medication to make them vomit and bring up the toxic plant material before it has a chance to be absorbed.
If your veterinarian has any concerns about your dog, however, they may advise running some additional tests. A blood panel will check their hematology for signs of infection or anemia, and biochemistry to assess things like their liver, kidneys, and blood sugar. If dehydration is an issue, then they may need to stay in the clinic for intravenous fluids and monitoring.
Specific signs of toxicity may require treatment such as medications to counteract any toxic effects on the heart, or antinausea medications if Fido has severe vomiting. Your veterinarian will be able to keep you regularly updated on your pup’s progress and his likely prognosis.
Cosmos flowers are non-toxic to dogs and unlikely to cause any issues if eaten. They are a great choice for pet parents and will make a colorful addition to your garden. You should try and discourage your dog from eating garden plants.
There is always a risk that they may accidentally eat something poisonous one day. If your pet is sick after eating a Cosmos plant, you should get them checked over by a veterinarian, just in case there is something else going on.