Croton Poisoning in Dogs?
September 13, 2016 5:50 PM   Subscribe

This evening, a friend brought me a plant she bought at the grocery store, but didn't know the name of. While my back was turned, my dog (a 50 lb shepherd/hound mutt) bit and swallowed one of the leaves before I could grab it from her. From a cursory google search, the plant appears to be a "dreadlock" croton (it has wavy leaves that are vibrantly/neon red and yellow in the middle). Does anyone know how seriously toxic this plant is?

Dog threw up about 3/4 of the croton leaf she ate and then asked to go out, where she chewed a whole lot of grass and panted some. (She eats grass without being sick on a daily basis - but not this much.) When we got back inside, she drank some water, ate a small dog treat, sat calmly by the door for a few minutes (a sign that she'd like to go out but it's not urgent) until I took her out, when she ate a bit more grass. She is now sniffing around and eating the rest of her kibble dinner. Should I do anything more urgent than monitor her closely?

If it matters, the plant is kind of dried out. The dog in question has a pretty iron stomach (apart from motion sickness in the car and the tendency to get the runs from chicken).
posted by sallybrown to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Some places have an emergency vet or animal hospital that's open 24 hours. You might try to find one to call and ask a tech.
posted by scratch at 6:06 PM on September 13, 2016

Not to be mean, but did you try Googling this? Lots of results say it's only mildly toxic and not deadly and may just upset a dog's tummy. It sounds like she's already through the worst of it, and if she's eating and acting pretty normal I would honestly not give it a second thought.

If it makes you feel better, my 11 pound chihuahua has gotten into chocolate, ibuprofen, an entire box of condoms, and thai birds eye chile peppers and is still alive.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:15 PM on September 13, 2016 [12 favorites]

When our cat nibbled a toxic houseplant, our vet referred us to a pet poison control service. It sounds like you don't need it this time, but for future reference (or future readers), they charge $50 and "treat" your pet over the phone. So, definitely worth googling first, but cheaper than a trip to the emergency vet.
posted by instamatic at 7:05 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

I can vouch for what instamatic says. In fact, if you do go to the ER, the vet there is probably just going to call one of the poison control lines and charge you $60. ER vets are not toxicologists, and most of them know better than to pretend they are. Obviously, if your pet is showing symptoms (swelling, vomiting, lethargy, difficulty breathing, etc) you should go to the ER anyway, as they can get those symptoms under control even as they are figuring out how to treat the toxicity.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 PM on September 13, 2016

When my dog was younger, he sometimes ate some of the poison ivy I have a ton of in front of my house. He then acted exactly like your dog - panting, grass-eating, drinking tons of water and vomiting, and generally being a bit off for maybe 12 hours. Then he eventually stopped doing it and he is still alive.
Now he has moved over to stealing stuff from the kitchen table when we are out: the day before yesterday it was a pound of chocolates. That was worse than the poison ivy, but still not bad enough for visiting the vet, and he is fine now. I'm afraid he hasn't even learnt that chocolates are bad yet.
posted by mumimor at 10:08 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, crotons are toxic, and you should watch the dog more closely than usual for the next 24 hours or so (for things like disorientation, lethargy, difficulty breathing, etc.). However, they're not one of the OMG KILL YOU DEAD houseplants, and it's unlikely to get any worse than some vomiting, which you've already had, and diarrhea, which may or may not happen.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:05 AM on September 14, 2016

Just wanted to update for future readers - beyond the first hour of so of intense grass-snarfing and more-than-usual "my tummy hurts" groaning, dog is all good and it didn't even disrupt her poops today. Croton is in the garbage and no more mystery plants will be crossing my threshold.

I did Google initially and saw a few "no biggie" results, but then came across an article stating that even one leaf can be toxic. Plus, I wanted first-hand experience from my trusted Mefites.

Thanks all!
posted by sallybrown at 8:15 PM on September 14, 2016

Glad this all worked out. In the future (in the US) you can call ASPCA Poison Control (888) 426-4435. It's like $60, which is a lot less than an e-vet. I have called once or twice and it was really a relief.
posted by radioamy at 2:57 PM on September 15, 2016

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