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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Expert Advice November 2018 Issue

Dear Doctor: A Whiff of Toxicity?

Q. I read that parts of the rose of Sharon are poisonous to dogs. I have several in my dog yard. Is this true? What parts? He chews on stems and once brought a flower in to enjoy.

Mary Jane Hostetter

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Dear Ms. Hostetter,

A. We can understand your concern. A quick Google search brings up sites that raise alarm. One, for instance, says that “the rose of Sharon can pose a serious health threat to your furry friend,” naming nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a lack of appetite as possible complications. It gives the ASPCA as a reference for declaring the plant poisonous.

But the ASPCA site itself, which has a long list of toxic and non-toxic plants, says plainly that rose of Sharon is non-toxic to dogs (and cats). Tufts emergency and critical care veterinarian Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM, who frequently sees dogs who have ingested substances that are not good for them, adds that when it comes to rose of Sharon, “I have never heard of any toxicity.”

The bottom line: you can enjoy your plant without worrying that your dog will get sick by snacking on it. Of course, whether your dog is bad for your rose of Sharon is another story.

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