Last Updated on August 26, 2022
Orchids are noted for their beautiful flowers. Whether grown indoors or in a wellness garden, these plants can transform their ambiance into a magical spectacle especially when they come to bloom.
If you have a couple of orchids in your yard and are also a proud dog owner, you may have noticed that your pooch occasionally nibbles on these plants. This may get you wondering, are orchids poisonous to dogs?
First off, it’s important to state that the word ‘orchid’ doesn’t denote a distinct plant species. Instead, it’s an umbrella term for numerous plants commonly grown for their ornamental value.
Having said that, most orchid varieties are non-toxic to dogs. So, there should generally be no cause for alarm if you discover that your pooch has nibbled on these flowers or even their leaves.
However, certain orchids could prove hazardous to your dog. The risks of ingesting orchids may also depend on the quantities consumed.
Read on for more insights into the possible effects of orchids on dogs.
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More About Orchids
Orchids are a variety of flowering plants in the Orchidaceae family. These plants are famous for their colorful blossoms.
Orchids are ranked alongside Asteraceae as the two largest family of flowering plants. The Orchidaceae family has nearly 28,000 species spread across 763 genera. The largest genera include Bulbophyllum with about 2,000 species, Epidendrum with 1,500 species, Dendrobium with 1,400 species, and Pleurothallis with 1,000 species.
Why Are Dogs Attracted To Orchids?
Orchids produce bright flowers that are sure to pique your dog’s interest. The flowers come in a variety of colors, ranging from blue and red to pink, purple, orange, yellow, white, and green.
It’s important to note that dogs are not colorblind as popularly thought. Although they may have trouble distinguishing between shades of green and red, dogs can vividly see blue and yellow colors.
The fact that orchid flowers come in a vast array of colors makes these plants all the more attractive to dogs.
What Happens When Dogs Eat Orchids?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with your dog simply checking out and even sniffing most plants. The toxicity of some plants for dogs mainly comes from ingesting the leaves or flowers.
Fortunately, nibbling on small amounts of orchid flowers and leaves is unlikely to harm your dog. The problem comes when the dog happens to have ingested more orchid flowers than his stomach can handle.
In the case of severe exposure, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms;
• Abdominal pain and discomfort
• Nausea and inappetence
• Labored breathing
• Hypersalivation or excessive breathing
• Pupil dilation
• Irritability or nervousness
The conventional wisdom is to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Without urgent interventions, the above symptoms may trigger severe health complications.
Are All Parts Of The Orchid Plant Non-toxic To Dogs?
As we’ve already mentioned, ingesting small amounts of orchid flowers is unlikely to harm your dog. The same is true for the plant’s leaves.
However, eating orchid bark could present some health issues for your canine companion. Not only might orchid bark irritate your dog’s mouth and throat. It could also lead to asphyxiation and intestinal blockage, the latter of which is a severe complication that may require emergency surgery.
Even if your dog doesn’t become ill from consuming orchid barks, it’s still best to keep your delicate orchid plants out of the animal’s reach. Chomping on orchid barks could expose these plants to diseases or even kill them instantly.
Besides orchid barks, dogs shouldn’t eat orchid tubers and seeds. Ingesting these substances could lead to the same risks of choking and intestinal blockage.
Are All Orchid Varieties Non-Poisonous To Dogs?
Not at all.
With nearly 28,000 species, it would be naïve to expect all the orchid varieties to be harmless to your pooch. Therefore, it’s important to investigate the potential toxicity of any orchid plant before adding it to your room or wellness garden.
A common orchid variety known to cause problems in dogs is Cypripedium or ‘Lady Slipper Orchids.’
Coming into contact with lady slipper orchids can cause a rash in dogs similar to poison ivy. It’s even worse if your pooch ingests these plants as he may experience severe oral irritation in addition to skin rash.
What Other Factors Could Make Otherwise Harmless Orchid Species Toxic to Dogs?
Orchids require regular fertilization almost throughout their growth cycle. Fertilizers provide your orchid plants with the nutrients they need to thrive.
However, certain plant fertilizers could be harmful to dogs if ingested. Common symptoms of exposure include vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, and labored breathing.
There are also risks of insecticides, colorants, and dyes. Ingesting orchid plants sprayed with these compounds can make your dog sick.
Should Dogs Eat Orchids?
Orchids are non-poisonous to dogs and ingesting small amounts of these colorful flowers is unlikely to trigger immediate adverse effects. However, you may not always be around to check the quantity of orchids your dog has eaten. Besides, these plants will unlikely offer your pooch any nutritional benefits.
Therefore, your best bet is to minimize your dog’s exposure to orchids and any other plant.
Start by offering your dog enough stimulation through exercise and interactive toys. This will prevent him from becoming bored and taking to unbecoming behaviors like chewing on plants. You could also train your dog to avoid eating plants. And if it comes down to it, eliminate orchids from your yard completely.