Why is a honeysuckle plant poisonous to dogs?

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Some of nature’s plants are lovely to observe; however, there are a variety of species that can be toxic to humans and animals. For example, honeysuckle plants are considered dangerous for dogs because of their toxic traits. It warrants being educated in how to identify the plants.

It is imperative to know the symptoms of a poisoning, along with how to best treat your dog.

Visual Description

honeysuckle image by Jackie DeBusk from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

There is an assortment of honeysuckle plants with more than 180 species. They bloom from the spring to the end of the summer with beautiful flowers that favour the shape of trumpets. They can blossom in colours ranging from white to blue. They have a sweet fragrance and are an attraction for butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. After the flowering process, berries emerge. It is unfortunate that all the beautiful aspects of the honeysuckle plant are considered to be potentially toxic to a dog.

Cyanogenic Glycosides

There are two toxins that are the reason behind the dangerous toxicity of the honeysuckle plant. Cyanogenic and saponic glycosides are both found in the flowers and the vine. Cyanogenic glycosides transpose into hydrogen cyanide, which is a poisonous chemical to the dog’s system. This occurs as a result of the breakdown of the macromolecules in the plant tissues during the digestive process. They are only dangerous if they are ingested.

Saponic Glycosides

Saponic glycosides can cause blood cells to burst. When it is combined with the natural fluids of the dog's body, it generates a bubbly foam that causes the breakage of the red blood cells.This would have an adverse affect on the circulation of oxygen throughout the dog's body. It can also be detrimental to the dog’s stomach by causing pain and upset.


The symptoms run the gamut with adverse side effects from which the dog suffers. There may be a noticeable irritation around the skin and mouth, along with drooling. There can also be vomiting and diarrhoea. The more serious noticeable symptoms would be difficulty walking, breathing, seizures, and convulsions. If your dog is not treated quickly and properly, it can result in coma and death. In addition, carotenoids are in the honeysuckle berries. They are not as toxic as the rest of the plant, but dogs cannot digest carotenoids easily. It is crucial to get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible if you suspect any part of the honeysuckle plant has been ingested.


One key aspect to prevent potential poisoning of your dog is to be certain not to plant honeysuckle plants close to where your dog will be. In addition, pay close attention to your dog if he does get close to the plants to be certain that none of it is eaten.