Are Hibiscus Plants Poisonous to Dogs?

By Tracy Hodge

The colorful hibiscus is a shrub found in many parts of the country -- usually a landscape plant in warmer climates and container-grown in cooler regions. Pet owners should be aware the hibiscus is toxic to dogs, with ingestion of the plant causing serious adverse effects.



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The hibiscus is also known as the rose of Sharon and the rose of China and is a member of the Malvacea family. This tropical shrub is characterized by the large, colorful trumpet-shaped blooms it produces.


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According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the hibiscus is considered to be toxic to dogs. While its toxic principles remain unknown, ingestion of the hibiscus by dogs will result in adverse health effects.


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Dogs who ingest all or part of the hibiscus plant, will experience primarily gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs can experience mild to severe symptoms. In extreme cases, the loss of bodily fluids can result in death, said Dr. William Buck, director of the National Animal Poison Control Center in the online magazine Housepet. Dogs with have severe or ongoing symptoms should visit their veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan.