What Are the Treatments for Nandina Ingestion for a Dog?

By Melodie Anne

Nandina is a type of shrub that you may unknowingly have in your backyard. This plant, also known as sacred bamboo or heavenly bamboo, can be toxic to your furry companion. All parts of nandina, including the leaves, stems and berries, can make your dog very ill. If you suspect your pooch has consumed an unfamiliar type of plant, take him directly to your veterinarian. Collect a small sample of the shrub to take to the vet, if possible, so he knows exactly which plant your dog ingested and the proper antidote.

Induce Vomiting

When your dog ingests toxic substances such as nandina, you need to follow certain steps to help your pet eliminate the poison from his body. Your first step is to induce vomiting. If you catch your furry pal in the act of eating nandina, you may be able to prevent or lessen toxin absorption by inducing vomiting. You can safely give your dog 1 teaspoonful of hydrogen peroxide per 10 pounds of body weight, says Dr. Dawn Ruben, a veterinarian with Johns Hopkins Medicine. Ensure that the hydrogen peroxide you are using has a concentration level of 3 percent. It may be easier to use an oral syringe. A 1 teaspoon portion is equal to 5 milliliters on a syringe. After giving your dog the hydrogen peroxide, make your pooch walk around or rub his belly to help mix the contents of his stomach. He should vomit within 15 to 20 minutes, but if he doesn't you can repeat the steps one additional time.

Minimize Absorption

The next step is giving your pet an absorbing agent. Activated charcoal is an odorless and nontoxic absorbing agent. It comes in tablet or powder form. It works by absorbing toxins and poisons so your pooch can pass harmful agents through his bowel movements. Mix it with water to create a thick black paste. Your dog can have approximately 1 teaspoonful of dissolved activated charcoal per 2 pounds of body weight, but your veterinarian will be able to make the final decision. Getting activated charcoal into Fido's body after he vomits helps further lessen any absorption of toxins from the nandina plant.

Aid with Elimination

Once your dog ingests activated charcoal, it is important for him to have a bowel movement to eliminate all of the toxins from his gut. Magnesium hydroxide, more commonly known as milk of magnesia, acts like a laxative to help your pooch move his bowels. Sodium sulphate, or Glauber's salt, has the same effect. Since these substances will give your dog diarrhea, it is imperative to keep an eye on him to watch for signs that he needs to relieve himself. He may not be able to control his bowels, leading to unpleasant accidents. Give him plenty of water since he is at risk of dehydration from loose stools.

Other Considerations

These treatments should be administered by a veterinarian or under close council from your vet. If your dog shows neurological signs of poisoning, such as seizures or stumbling, take your dog to the nearest emergency center, and contact poison control immediately. Your quick response to your furry friend's ingestion of nandina can save his life.