poisonous plants cat azalea

Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats: Azalea

Azaleas, also called Rosebay or Rhododendron, are common plants in outdoor landscaping. Despite their beauty, they can be toxic if eaten by dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, pigs, horses, and goats (to name a few!). Read on to learn about common symptoms and what you should do if your pet has ingested part of this plant!

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

What makes Azaleas poisonous to dogs and cats?

The toxic component of Azaleas is called Grayantoxin. This toxin affects the body’s sodium channels which then affect the muscle tissue of the heart and skeletal muscles.

All parts of the plant are poisonous and even small volumes can cause clinical symptoms to develop. Your pet only needs to ingest 0.2% of their body weight to become ill. This means a 30-pound dog only needs to eat about 0.5oz to 1oz of the plant to get sick.

Clinical Symptoms of Azalea Toxicity in Dogs and Cats

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling excessively (also called hypersalivation)
  • Reduced appetite or lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
  • Heart failure
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Coma
  • Transient blindness
  • Lethargy
  • Death

What should I do if my pet ate Azaleas?

If you know your dog or cat has eaten any part of an azalea plant, it’s always safest to take them to the vet or emergency clinic. Since it’s hard to know exactly how much your pet ate and it can be fatal, you really don’t want to watch and wait.

Treatment for Azalea Toxicity in Dogs and Cats

Do NOT make your pet vomit at home. Your vet can give your pet activated charcoal to absorb the toxins that are in the GI tract. Your pet may also need IV fluids to support their cardiovascular system and may need specific medications to help with their heart and control seizures, if indicated.

For more information and pictures of Azaleas, check out these links:

ASPCA: Azalea

Pet Poison Helpline

Read more in our series of poisonous plants for your dog and cat:

Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats: Philodendron

Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats: Oleander

Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats: Sago Palm

Still have questions?

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This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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