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The simple answer to this question is no – your dog should not eat chocolate. In this article we look at why chocolate is bad for your dog. With Easter just around the corner, make sure all the family know why the family pooch cannot join in the Easter egg hunt.

Why can’t my dog eat chocolate?

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine which is poisonous for dogs. Dogs cannot metabolise this easily, unlike humans, so a build up can occur resulting in toxic levels in their bodies. Different types of chocolate contain different quantities of theobromine. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine content. So dark chocolates and cocoa powder are much higher in content than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of theobromine.

What happens if a dog eats chocolate?

Chocolate poisoning or theobromine toxicity can result in your dog vomiting, having diarrhoea, being hyperactive and panting with an increased heart rate, and possibly suffering seizures. The severity of the symptoms seen will depend on the size of your dog and the amount of theobromine ingested. If large amounts of theobromine have been eaten then this can result in muscle tremors and seizures, internal bleeding or a heart attack. Symptoms will usually be seen up to four hours after the chocolate. Quite often the first sign of theobromine poisoning is hyperactivity.

How much chocolate is dangerous to a dog?

Some dogs will eat a small amount of chocolate and show no symptoms but this does not change the fact that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. Other dogs will eat a small amount of chocolate resulting in an upset tummy with some sickness and diarrhoea. There is a theory that some breeds are more susceptible to chocolate poisoning than other breeds. As theobromine doses increase, so do the risks and effects of theobromine poisoning. The best approach is to make sure your dog is not given any chocolate, and cannot get access to any chocolate.

What to do if your dog has eaten chocolate

 If you know your dog has eaten a lot of chocolate, get in touch with your vet immediately.

If you are worried that your dog has eaten chocolate and is showing any symptoms related to chocolate poisoning and theobromine toxicity, get in touch with your vet immediately.

The sooner you can get to the vet, the sooner action can be taken. It will help your vet if you can tell them what type of chocolate has been eaten, how much has been eaten, and when it was eaten. If there are any wrappers or packaging that you can show the vet then take these with you also. Most likely, if your dog ate the chocolate within the last few hours, your vet will make your dog vomit. Other treatment option will depend on signs, symptoms and your dog. A dog who is treated quickly should have a good prognosis.

It’s Easter soon…..

Easter is just round the corner with Easter eggs to be enjoyed by all……except your dog. We have looked at why your dog can’t eat chocolate and what you should do if he managed to scoff the kids’ eggs. Enjoy any Easter egg hunts safely with your dog by your side while the kids do the hunting. He can enjoy some other healthy treats instead or you could set up a special dog friendly Easter hunt for him! Check out our ideas here.

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Bringing a new baby into your life and home marks the start of new habits and routines for parents. This applies for any pets who have been used to being “the first child”. In this article we look at aspects to consider when you bring a new baby home to meet your dog.

Prepare early…..ideally well before the baby arrives

There are going to be many changes for you and your dog. Routines, walks and meal times may change with the arrival of a new baby. Your dog will need to get used to new smells, sounds and objects. Your attention may be diverted so we encourage taking some time to think about what will change for your dog.

There are things you can do to help your dog adjust to life with a new baby. These adjustments or new behaviours are best put in place months or weeks before the baby arrives, rather than a few days before. This will help to make this exciting time enjoyable for the whole family, your dog included.

A well trained dog will take the stress away

Ideally, you will want your dog to be well trained to sit, stay, lie down, come when called and not jump up. Having good training and behaviour in place will help to make this time much easier for everyone. It is likely you will have less time to spend with your dog once the baby arrives. Get him used to spending some time on his own or lying quietly on his own each day in the months before the baby arrives. Use treats and/or positive encouragement to reward him for these new good behaviours.

Familiarise your dog with baby equipment

You could consider familiarising your dog with the new baby equipment (pushchair and highchair.) Some new parents walk the dog with the pushchair before the baby has arrived. We’ve also heard of new parents who introduce a doll as a pre-baby to help with the transition.

Once the baby has been born, you could bring home a blanket or piece of clothing from the hospital for your dog to smell before the baby’s arrival.

Introducing your dog to your new baby

When you first arrive home, it is very important to greet your dog on your own without the new baby. You could take it in turns to be with the baby in the car whilst you each have a chance to greet and have cuddles with your dog. Your dog will have missed you and will know that something is different. Dogs are incredibly preceptive. We don’t know if they undertand that there is a new baby about to “join the pack”, but they may have sensed signals of something for some time.

A popular way to introduce your dog and baby is to sniff the baby’s feet whilst on the lead (or an alternative control method). Even with the friendliest and most trusted dogs, it makes sense to take these introductions slowly and carefully. Over the coming days, you would then proceed to being off the lead for sniffs and cuddles. It will be important for your dog to feel positive around your baby making good associations in his mind so perhaps use treats to praise and reinforce good behaviour.

Your dog will be aware of a new pack member. You don’t want him to feel that the arrival of the new baby means no time for him. It might be easier for you to give him attention when the baby is asleep. But also try to balance this with some attention whilst the baby is awake. You don’t want him to feel that it’s me or the baby. There is time and love for him and the baby.

Ensure you keep your dog stimulated and happy

Make sure your dog has toys to play with to stop him getting bored or frustrated. Sometimes it’s inevitable that walks will be shorter, or that there will be less time for him. If he accidentally picks up a baby toy, change it for one of his toys. Try not to tell him off or raise your voice and create negativity.

Going for a walk is one of your dog’s greatest joys. Taking your dog for a walk with the baby in the pushchair can be a very fulfilling aspect of your day. It will provide fresh air and exercise for you, your dog and your baby. It also provides an opportunity to create a healthy routine for all you to enjoy together whilst forging strong family bonds and experiences.


This is an exciting time for you and your family. It is normal to wonder “Will my dog be jealous of the new baby?” or “Will my dog accept the new baby?”. With some thought and preparation about your dog’s needs then your baby’s arrival should hopefully be a joyous time for you all. If you are very worried about your dog, consult your vet for more advice.

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You would all have experienced that knowing look from your dog at dinnertime. Some dogs go as far as to give reminders, collecting their own food bowl or sitting by it patiently. Oscar & Hooch also displayed this behaviour first thing in the morning (dog walk time) and again in the evening (second dog walk time).

When it came to food, Oscar was very happy for Hooch to do the badgering until the food bowls came out and then he would spring into action. But does this behaviour suggest that dogs can tell the time? Anecdotally, all dog owners will be convinced that dogs must have a good grasp of time, otherwise how else would they know when its dinner time??

The similarity between dogs and humans

Biologically all animals and also plants will act in response to the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is built in and in simple terms is a 24-hour internal clock. Your body will naturally lose energy at different points in the day thus know when sleep or food is required. The circadian rhythm also responds to external stimuli such as light and dark. This would explain why tiredness may creep in more when it is dark for example.

As the circadian rhythm is present in all animals, this is the obvious similarity between us humans and dogs. The circadian rhythm in some part would also help explain a dog’s timekeeping regarding food and dog walks. Aside from the circadian rhythm it may also be that subtle external stimuli help a dog realise what is coming.

From switching your oven on at dinnertime, to grabbing your keys if you’re going out. Even a suitcase in the hall can trigger the dog’s perspective on time, knowing the break between you might be longer than normal.

So then how do we know if dogs can really tell the time?

The science of dog’s behaviour

Let’s start with sleep, G.J.Adams and K.G.Johnson found that a dogs sleeping pattern was very different from a human one. Dogs in the study (Sleep-wake cycles and other night-time behaviours of the domestic dog Canis familiaris) slept in a cycle of 16 minutes and then had 5 minutes awake. Straight away we can see this is very different to our own sleeping patterns.

This can be coupled with other studies that have reviewed a dog’s reaction to being left on their own for differing lengths of time. Generally speaking dogs in these kinds of studies showed more enthusiasm towards their owners return the longer they were left. This would suggest they do have an understanding of the difference between one hour vs. four hours.

Separately we should also consider how an owner’s behaviour can shape the behaviour of your dog (in very much the way a parent shapes a child’s behaviour, to an extent!). Another study conducted by Veronika Konok in 2015 looked at the influence between an owner’s attachment style/personality and their dogs separation related disorder (SRD).

This latter study does show a link between human influence and SRD.


What conclusion can be drawn from all of this information? Well firstly there are some indisputable facts:

  • Dogs have an inbuilt circadian rhythm, albeit sleep patterns are very different to humans
  • Dogs show higher levels of enthusiasm when left alone for great periods of time
  • Dogs behaviour can be in response to owner behaviour/personality
  • External stimulus (light, dark, food, keys etc) will provoke a response in your dog that could be time dependant or completely unrelated

Based on all of this we believe dogs do have ‘time perspective’. They understand the difference between thirty minutes and 2 hours. This is balanced with an acute sense of stimulus that will generate a response that could be an awareness of time or just a response to food going down (a Labrador will always act like its hungry!).

So, dogs can tell the time, a bit, just not in the sense of reading a clock. Or at least that has yet to be proven!

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Most of us assume that a dog’s tail wagging suggests the dog is happy or excited. This is not strictly true and different tail wags can have different meanings. Assuming a dog is happy to see you and wants affection could prove to be poor judgement on our part.

We explore the real reasons dogs wag their tails and what this means. This will help dog owners and others to understand what a dog is communicating and what kind of response is required.

Are there different styles of dog tail wagging?

In short yes, there are a lot of different styles of dog tail wagging. Before exploring dog tail wagging, it is worthwhile understanding what the position of your dog’s tail means.

The most common positions are illustrated below:

Normal or natural position with tail hanging down towards to dogs heals although this will vary with different dog breeds, for example a Pugs natural position is the tail up:

Tail up high. A tail that is up usually means a dog is excited and also may be at high alert. This could be because of something they have seen, heard or smelt. A completely upright tail can also indicate aggression:

Tail low and between legs. The tail between the legs suggests a dog is worried and anxious about something. A larger or more aggressive dog may stimulate this response in a smaller more submissive dog.

Tail that is straight and parallel to the dogs back. This position usually suggests a dog is curious and inquisitive about something. You may notice this position when your dog is smelling a lamppost for example:

Tail wagging then adds another dimension, a tail wags in multiple ways and each different wag style has a different meaning. The most common are illustrated below:

Tail wagging fast. This is a sign of excitement and will usually suggests positive excitement. A dog’s owner coming home, seeing a friend in the park and if you have a Labrador then dinnertime will always elicit this response!

Tail wagging slowly. A slow tail wag demonstrates a dog is less enthusiastic about what it is sensing, unknown people may sometimes get this response when your dog is a bit unsure.

Tail wagging right or left. A tail that is wagging to the left is usually negative and demonstrates a dog’s anxiety about a particular situation. A dog tail wagging right suggests more positivity with regards to a particular situation. The science behind this is directly linked to the brain. The left side of the brain (associated with positive feelings) regulates the right half of the body. The right side of the brain (associated with negative feelings) regulates the left half of the body. This explains why you have the variance in tail wagging.

Do dogs understand each other’s tail wagging?

Apparently, dogs understand what the different sides of tail wagging means. A study conducted by Siniscalchi et al (published in Current Biology 2013) found that when a dog observed another dog with a tail wagging left, their heart rate increased (suggesting a reaction and possible anxiety). However, when dogs observed other dogs with tails wagging right, they remained calm.

It isn’t currently believed that dogs are attempting to communicate with other dogs through tail wagging but is an automatic response based on the brain’s alignment towards left or right bias. Knowing this information can be useful for any dog owner.

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It’s that time of year, post-Christmas and people all over are pledging to have a dry January. This is a good idea for many people. It gives your liver the opportunity to recover from excessive alcohol consumption over the Christmas period.

What about dogs and alcohol? Well in the first instance I hope you haven’t been feeding your dog alcohol over the Christmas periods as it features as a no no on our list of foods/drinks to avoid (which can be viewed here).

We have all experienced a ‘social’drinker justifying the benefits of alcohol and why a little is actually good for you. We are not going to get into that debate here, instead we will explore this urban folklore when it comes to dogs. Let’s be honest, managing your dog’s alcohol intake is a lot easier than managing your own!

To be absolutely clear, alcohol is toxic to dogs. The stronger the alcohol the greater the affect will be. This doesn’t mean giving your dog a little taste of weak beer is ok. Even small amounts of alcohol can be toxic and the effect is unpredictable and will vary with different dogs (in the same way alcohol affects humans differently).

The science, like humans it is the ethanol content in alcohol that will impact the body. The ethanol will affect the bodies central nervous system usually slowing it down. This leads to the usual signs of being drunk, staggering and drowsiness for example. If an excess of alcohol is consumer then this can lead to serious problems.

The nervous system can slow so much that the heart and breathing slow and eventually lead to metabolic acidosis. This is a condition where the blood is too acidic and can lead to a heart attack and potentially death.

Remember alcohol is present in many other formats than beer, wine and spirits. Alcohol can be present in foods as well as many cleaning products and medicines.

As much as alcohol poisoning is rare in dogs, you should always be vigilant to reduce the risk of your dog getting access to alcohol. If your dog has inadvertently had some alcohol, they can usually sleep it off in much the same we a human would. However, if in doubt you should seek your vet’s advice immediately.

If you do feel your pet is missing out on a festive glass of something then look for dog friendly alcohol-free drinks, such as dog beer or pawsecco.

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If you are a dog owner, then it is very likely that you would have seen your dog eat grass. Talking from experience, both Oscar & Hooch (chocolate Labradors) ate a lot of grass over their fifteen-year life span! Being chocolate labs there wasn’t much they didn’t attempt to eat….

Anecdotally we noticed that when they consumed a lot of grass and vomited, this indicated some form of upset stomach. This usually resolved itself without a visit to the vet.

In this article we aim to answer the fundamental question- why do dogs eat grass? We will also explore why do dog eat grass and vomit afterwards. If your dog is eating grass, there may be a perfectly innocent explanation. Most are easily resolved or better still don’t need resolving.

Below are several potential explanations as to why dogs eat grass.  You should explore each if you have any concerns. If you follow each remedy and find it doesn’t work then you should seek specialist advice. If vomiting is persistent or any other untoward signs are present then seek veterinary advice immediately.

Lack of fibre in your dog’s diet

Lack of fibre is a common issue in humans and potentially dogs. We resort to prunes, dogs may resort to grass. This is completely normal and not cause for concern. Our recommended remedy if you dog eats grass a lot would be to check the food you are feeding them.

You may be purchasing a good quality food but there is still a lack of fibre. All dog foods should list ingredients and nutritional values but worth checking. An average dogs recommended consumption of fibre is 2-4%. For further help on this topic see our article on dog food here.

To help remedy an issue

It may be your dog has eaten something untoward and just wants to be sick. If your dog is eating grass and vomiting, then this could be your dog’s way of trying to throw up whatever is bothering it.

Dogs eating grass and vomiting can be completely innocent. However if you notice your dog is eating a lot of grass without much chewing this could indicate something is amiss. If your dog does vomit after eating grass then it has probably remedied whatever was bothering it, but if your dog continues to retch you should consider a visit to the vets.


Some believe that worms may trigger a need for your dog to vomit and so grass eating could be a sign of worms. This isn’t the case most of the time so don’t panic if your dog is eating grass!

Worms can be completely asymptomatic but other common symptoms include: bloated appearance, vomiting, diarrhoea, losing weight, always hungry (clearly this would always appear with certain breeds!!).

If you worm your dog routinely then this is unlikely to be your issue and we consider this an unusual reason for your dog eating grass.


Some dogs may eat grass out of boredom. Whilst this may be hard to hear for any dog owner, it should be taken seriously.

If your dog is eating grass a lot, then using some other form of distraction and stimulation could be an effective way to reduce or stop your dog eating grass.

Some ideas for making a dog walk interesting can be found here.


Some dogs just like grass! If your dog has a nibble on grass every now and then you shouldn’t concern yourself. In the same way some people like to have a nibble on rocket leaves, some dogs like grass, you may think it weird but just accept we are all different….

On a more serious note, you should be careful if any fertiliser or herbicides are used as these can be toxic. If unsure you should stop any incessant eating of grass. You should also be aware of any plants that can be poisonous for dogs, examples of which can be found here.

Be reassured the majority of dogs that eat grass have nothing to worry about, as with all habits look for other signs and symptoms that may suggest something more sinister is happening.

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You come home from work and your greeting is a wet face! You may have asked yourself the question, why does my dog lick me? Of course, it’s not just their owners that dogs lick, it can be guests, vets and other dogs.

There isn’t one simple answer to the question of why dogs lick you? Instead there are multiple reasons that lead up to and explain this behaviour.

A mother and its puppy

If you go back to when your dog was a puppy and living with its mother. There was a two-way communication between mother and puppy. This communication was led by licking. Mothers would lick their young to clean them, this licking could in turn encourage urination. The mother’s natural instinct is to ensure any odours are cleaned from her puppy so that potential predators are not attracted.

The mother’s behaviour is borne out of instinct, protection, and ultimately love. The puppy also learns that licking is an effective form of communication with its mother to meet its needs: affection and food. A young puppy licking its mother can help signal to the mother that feeding is required.

Dogs licking other dogs

What about when dogs lick other dogs? You may have observed this behaviour when your dog demonstrates does this with a larger more aggressive dog. Before you panic its worth understanding what this means.

A dog that feels it is lower down in the pack or being faced with a threat (a bigger or aggressive dog) can naturally lick the other dogs face as a sign of respect. This can be an effective way for a more submissive dog to avoid any conflict.

Dogs licking their owner

By now you are probably thinking, this is all very interesting, but you haven’t answered the fundamental question – why does my dog lick me? From what we have described so far you should have picked up on several key threads and potential reasons for why dogs lick you:

  • Happiness and affection
  • Your dog is hungry and wants feeding
  • To sense your mood (dogs can decode our pheromones to understand our mood)
  • They may just enjoy the taste of you, dogs can taste left over food or just salt in your skin

Remember there can be subtle things going on as well, your dog may have run out of water or simply wants to go outside to the loo. Equally it can signal your dog is pleased to see you and wants nothing more than a good hug!

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There are lots of reasons for hair loss in your dog and a dog collar can be one of the causes. There are many other reasons and you should always rule these about before assuming a change in dog collar will provide the solution.


What causes hair loss in dogs?

 There are lots of potential causes of hair loss in dogs, we have looked at the most common. You should remember that loss of hair is normal as dogs shed. However excessive hair loss isn’t normal and should be investigated. Causes of hair loss in dogs include:

Pressure sores

This can be seen more often in senior dogs. Caused by lying on a hard floor and on the same spot. You may see bald patches on areas that your dog lies on. This can be stopped by using soft bedding where your dog lies. The sores can get worse and eventually get infected, so you should monitor them and seek treatment if required.

Poorly fitted dog accessories/poor quality dog accessories

If your dog’s collar or harness is fitted poorly so that it is tight then over time this could lead to hair loss and potentially skin damage. See our article here on how to fit a dog collar.


Mange can come about from an infestation of mites. Excessive itching can lead to hair loss in your dog and so the mange should be treated. Seek expert advice if unsure.

Allergic reactions

Like us dogs can suffer from lots of different allergies. Fleas are probably the most common. Itching and scratching at flea bites can cause hair loss in your dog. To understand more about how to identify fleas see our article on the subject here.


Male pattern baldness, something most men fear. Some dog breeds are also predisposed to hair loss (greyhounds for example). Not that much can be done but always worth consulting your vet to check nothing more sinister is going on.

Thorns and other stuff

Anything that can get stuck in your dog’s skin can lead to bald patches. You will notice potential swelling or your dog licking on particular part of its body. If there is a foreign body, then it may need removing by a vet and treatment if infected.


Infections such as ringworm can cause hair loss in your dog and should be treated. Notable by a ring-shaped pattern (although not always). Ringworm can be treated with cream or special shampoos.

What to look for in a dog collar?

There are so many different dog collar styles and materials on the market it can be hard to choose. You should always consider the style of fur your dog has. Shorter haired dogs may not suit a heavy leather dog collars for example. Longer hair dogs may have issue with nylon webbing dog collars as their fur may get caught in the webbing itself.

Once you have considered your dog then remind yourself that a dog collar is the most important accessory your dog may wear. It has the dogs ID tag (important if it gets lost), it may be on 24/7 unless you take it off, so comfort is important. The collar should strong to withstand the sturdiest of dogs.

So, don’t scrimp, go for a high-quality collar made of high-quality material. You may not get a second chance if your collar breaks. You also want the dog collar to be comfortable so choose a material that offers a soft contrast to your dog’s fur.

Oscar & Hooch dog collars are all designed with comfortable and durability in mind and come in a selection of fabrics to suit any discerning owner. They can all be viewed here.

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When dogs get fleas, it can be a nightmare for both dog and owner. There are so many different types of flea prevention and flea treatments for dogs. It can be hard to know where to start.

Flea dog collars have been around a long time, and pipetting flea and tick drops onto your dog has become standard practice. Understanding which is best and when to use could save a lot of pain and irritation for you and your dog. 

How to spot fleas on your dog?

There are lots of different signs of fleas, seeing a flea is lucky as even in their adult stage they are minuscule (think the tip of a pen). If you do see specs and movement within your dog’s hair, then it’s likely you are seeing fleas. Other signs include:

  • lots of scratching
  • signs of irritation (may be red patches)
  • bites on humans in the house with no explanation
  • bald patches on your dog’s fur
  • lots of darks specs (mud like) when your dog is brushed

If you see any of the signs above, then grooming your dog is a good way of checking. When using a comb, you may see lots of black specs coming off your dog’s coat. These are not necessarily fleas but likely to be flea droppings. Add water to the specs and if it turns brown then its probably mud. However if it turns a reddish colour then it is very likely to be fleas, you should look to treat.

If you are unsure either way, then you should speak to your vet.

What are the different flea treatments?

There are lots of different flea treatments for dogs that can make the decision overwhelming. We have summarised the main categories of treatment below:

Dog flea collar

Dog flea collars are very simple to use, simply attach and possibly trim to size and you are done. Good dog flea collars are effective and can last for quite a few months. If you are against using chemical drops or anything topical then they are a good option. Remember they are not normal dog collars and so don’t attach a lead to them.

Spot on treatments

These are very easy to use and usually applied monthly. A few drops around the neck and towards the tail and you are done. Very easy to use and can give good coverage against fleas and ticks. We have personal experience of this kind of treatment using on a monthly basis.

During Oscar and Hooch’s long and very full lives (15 years) they were lucky to never suffer with fleas. The only con with spot on treatments is your dog cannot get wet 24-48hrs after application depending what you use.


Flea shampoos are effective when your dog has fleas and will help reduce the irritation by killing the adult fleas. To prevent further fleas, you are going to need to use something else such as a dog flea collar or spot on treatment. Bear in mind your dog’s bedding will also need washing!


Oral dog flea treatments ,like spot on treatments, can help prevent fleas and some will kill existing fleas. If your dog likes to take tablets then this could be a good route.

Flea spray

A good dog flea spray will act like a good flea shampoo and kill the adult fleas. It should be used in conjunction with one of the other dog flea treatment types. This will ensure further prevention and reduction in flea larvae.

Considerations of dog flea treatments?

By this point in the article you have probably decided which treatment is best for you and your dog. Your decision should consider the following factors

  • Route of administration and likely success with your dog. If they don’t like collars then spot on will make more sense.
  • Cost- all dog flea treatments vary substantially in price particularly if using monthly
  • Efficacy – if it doesn’t work then you will end up spending more
  • Whether your dog has fleas or not. If like us you manage to avoid fleas then a shampoo a spray would never be considered
  • Your own routine. If you are unlikely to remember a monthly spot on treatment then a dog flea collar may be a better choice
Safety of dog flea treatments

Most dog flea treatments use chemicals so you need to be careful. You should know your dog’s weight as most treatments vary by weight of dog. Dog flea treatments can be poisonous and even fatal for cats so never use on cats.

Check age restrictions on your dog flea treatment as you will need the right one for a puppy. Lastly don’t get too carried away, follow the package instructions or your vet’s advice. Giving extra treatment doesn’t mean you will get rid of the fleas any quicker and does pose the risk of overdosing in your dog.


Before you even consider dog flea treatments, you should get yourself into a good grooming routine with your dog. A regular groom (whether by you or a professional) will help identify fleas early on and may prevent a major infestation.

Use our considerations checklist to see whether you and your dog is better suited to a dog flea collar or the alternatives. Discuss with your vet the latest treatments and whether prevention is better than cure. Once you have a treatment that works for you and a routine that works for you dog,  stick with it as any slippage in routine can lead to fleas……

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There are so many foods that can poison dogs (see related article here) which can be controlled by their owners. When it comes to plants this can be much harder to achieve.

Bearing this is mind every owner should be aware of what plants are poisonous and whether drastic measures need to be taken in your garden. Even if owners decide to remove all poisonous plants from their garden they still need awareness when out on a dog walk or in someone else’s garden. Potential toxins to dogs are everywhere and some pose a mild threat whilst others can be fatal.

Should you dig up all of the poisonous plants?

Once you have identified potential threats then to be ultra-safe you should remove all potential plants. After all you wouldn’t leave a bar of chocolate in reach of your dog.

The risk to your dog is also dependent on many factors such as:

  • Toxicity of the plant
  • Which part of the plant is poisonous
  • The dogs breed
  • Dogs personality (does it eat everything, does it constantly run into bushes, etc)


What are the more common plants that are toxic to dogs?

These are a selection of some common plants that can be poisonous to your dog, this is not a complete list as there are many more plants that can be toxic. You should always seek veterinary advice if unsure or if you dogs eat any plants and shows any signs or symptoms that are out of the ordinary.


The bulb is the most toxic element of the plant. Eating the flower and leaves is also poisonous, the alkaloids in daffodils can cause sickness and stomach pain. More severe symptoms can be seen such a breathing problems and can be fatal.


There are many different types of rhododendron from smaller azaleas to the bigger bushes. Dogs don’t need to eat much at all for the toxins to work. Can be similar to daffodils but more severe potentially leading to seizures and coma. If treated the prognosis is very good. As a popular plant around country houses and gardens this is something to be aware of when visiting.

Aloe Vera

Good for your skin but not good for dogs if eaten. Generally poisoning is mild but in rare cases can lead to tremors. The toxins in aloe vera will cause sickness and potentially diarrhoea.

Asparagus Fern

Often used as houseplants and floral bouquets these plants can cause mild poisoning to your dog. Sickness, diarrhoea can be witnessed alongside potential skin issues if your dog has come into contact with the fern.

Tomato plants

The good news is that only an unripe green tomato is toxic if eaten in large amounts by your dog.


There are two types of crocus defined by when they bloom. The spring crocus and the autumn crocus. Both contain toxins, but the autumn crocus is the more poisonous of the two and can be fatal. It is also worth noting that the symptoms of the autumn crocus can be delayed for several days.


A beautiful flowering bush that can come in lots of different colours, not so good if eaten by your dog as contains toxins that can cause diarrhoea and sickness.


The buttercup can predict if you like butter on not but can also be poisonous to dogs. The flower is the most toxic part and can irritate a dog’s stomach and also their mouth potentially causing blisters. As they have a harsh taste dogs are unlikely to eat many, symptoms can include excessive dribbling, diarrhoea and sickness.

Morning Glory

The seeds are the most toxic part of the plant which can lead to a complete lack of coordination in your dog.


The Irish emblem would need to be eaten in reasonable quantities and this may seem unlikely due its unpalatability. If eaten can lead to sickness, diarrhoea and excessive dribbling.


Very good for making wine but unfortunately can also cause sickness in dogs so to be avoided.


Around April/May time you’ll see lots of bluebells out, dogs need to eat lots of these to cause any real harm.


This bright flower can cause your dog to get an upset tummy if eaten but like the buttercup the taste will put most dogs off.

Deadly nightshade

Already well known as a poison to us humans, the berries can tempt dogs so one to avoid as can lead to sickness and diarrhoea and if possible breathing difficulties.


Very like the daffodil with the bulbs posing the greatest threat, can lead to diarrhoea and sickness.

Rhubarb leaves

Unlike the edible stalks, rhubarb leaves can be toxic to dogs and in serious cases can lead to kidney failure.


Known for their opioid content poppies can be toxic for dogs, leading to lethargy and narrowing of the pupils. You may notice a drug induced state.


The trivial risk is a Christmas kiss under this plant. To be kept away from dogs during the holiday period as can cause stomach upset. If a large quantity is eaten, then more serious effects such as high blood pressure can be seen.

Horse chestnut and oak tree leaves/fruit

If eaten in large enough quantities then both the leaves and fruit of these trees can be poisonous to dogs.


The foxglove is poisonous to touch even for us humans, in dogs the seeds and leaves can cause sickness.

All of these plants are to be enjoyed in the wild. Being aware of what your dog should and shouldn’t eat/touch is half the battle. Once you have a good awareness of the plants in your gardens, and on your dog walks, it is much easier to avoid any potential dangers.

Simple things like throwing conkers for your dog may become a thing of the past, especially if they eat them! We hope this article has been informative and please share on social media if you think others will benefit.

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The post What plants are poisonous to dogs? appeared first on Oscar & Hooch.

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