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 Cosmos?
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’s a few steps you’ll need to take in order to ensure there’s minimal opportunity for health impacts to 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 Your 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 OK?
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 to 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
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.