No, dogs cannot eat rhubarb as it is toxic, unsafe, and harmful to them.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant known for its tart, red or green stalks. While it's commonly used in cooking and baking for humans, it contains oxalates, primarily in its leaves and roots, that can be extremely toxic to dogs whether cooked or raw. These oxalates can lead to a condition called oxalate poisoning if ingested by dogs. While the stalks contain lower levels of oxalates compared to the leaves and roots, they can still cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs if ingested in significant quantities.
Table of Contents
- What are the symptoms of dogs eating rhubarb?
- How much rhubarb is toxic to dogs?
- Can dogs safely eat rhubarb crumble?
- What to do if your dog eats rhubarb?
- What Are Alternative Safe Natural Treats for Dogs?
What are the symptoms of dogs eating rhubarb?
If a dog eats rhubarb, especially the leaves and roots which contain higher concentrations of oxalates and are more toxic, they can experience a range of symptoms associated with rhubarb poisoning:
- Gastrointestinal Distress: The most common early signs of rhubarb ingestion in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, and excessive drooling.
- Abdominal Pain: Dogs may exhibit signs of abdominal discomfort or pain, which can manifest as restlessness, whimpering, or reluctance to move.
- Dehydration: Frequent vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, which may cause symptoms like increased thirst, dry gums, and reduced skin elasticity.
- Kidney Issues: Rhubarb's oxalates can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys, potentially causing kidney damage. Symptoms of kidney problems may include increased or decreased urine production, changes in urine colour or odour, and lethargy.
- Neurological Symptoms: In severe cases, dogs may experience neurological symptoms such as tremors, seizures, or muscle weakness.
- Cardiac Issues: Rhubarb poisoning can also affect the heart, leading to irregular heartbeats and cardiac distress.
The onset of symptoms in dogs after consuming rhubarb can vary depending on several factors, including the amount ingested, the individual dog's sensitivity, and the specific parts of the rhubarb plant consumed (leaves, stalks, or roots). In many cases, symptoms may start to appear within a few hours to several hours after ingestion. However, it's important to note that some symptoms may not become apparent until several hours or even days later, especially if the toxic substances have had time to accumulate in the dog's system.
How much rhubarb is toxic to dogs?
The amount of rhubarb that is toxic to dogs can vary depending on several factors, including the dog's size, age, overall health, and individual sensitivity. However, it's important to note that even a relatively small amount of rhubarb, especially the leaves and roots, can be toxic to dogs due to their high oxalate content.
As a general guideline, it's best to avoid giving any rhubarb, including both the stalks and the leaves, to your dog. Rhubarb leaves are particularly dangerous, as they contain higher concentrations of oxalates and other potentially harmful compounds.
Can dogs safely eat rhubarb crumble?
Cooking rhubarb does not eliminate the oxalates, which are the toxic compounds present in rhubarb that can be harmful to dogs. While cooking may reduce the concentration of oxalates somewhat, it does not make rhubarb completely safe for dogs to consume, especially if they have ingested a significant amount.
In addition to the rhubarb, crumble generally contains high amounts of sugar and fat which also makes this dessert unsuitable for dogs.
What to do if your dog eats rhubarb?
If you suspect or know that your dog has ingested rhubarb or any part of the rhubarb plant, it's essential to take prompt action to ensure their safety. Here's what to do if your dog eats rhubarb:
- Contact Your Veterinarian: The first and most crucial step is to call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Explain the situation and provide as much information as possible, including the amount and parts of the rhubarb ingested and your dog's size and weight.
- Monitor Your Dog: While on the phone with the veterinarian, follow their instructions for monitoring your dog's condition. Pay attention to any symptoms your dog may be experiencing, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, or changes in behaviour.
- Do Not Induce Vomiting: In some cases, inducing vomiting may not be recommended, especially if a significant amount of rhubarb has been ingested. Your veterinarian will advise you on whether or not vomiting should be induced.
- Seek Immediate Veterinary Care: Based on your veterinarian's guidance, take your dog to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Rhubarb poisoning can be serious and potentially life-threatening, so it's crucial to have your dog assessed and treated by a veterinary professional.
- Provide Relevant Information: When you arrive at the veterinary clinic, provide any additional information about the rhubarb ingestion, including the time it occurred and any changes in your dog's condition since then.
- Follow Treatment Recommendations: Your veterinarian will determine the appropriate course of treatment based on your dog's condition and the severity of the poisoning. Treatment may include supportive care, fluid therapy to address dehydration, medications to control symptoms, and monitoring for potential complications.
Remember that early intervention is key to a positive outcome when it comes to rhubarb poisoning. Even if your dog appears to be fine initially, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian to assess the situation and provide appropriate care.
What Are Alternative Safe Natural Treats for Dogs?
There are several safe and dog-friendly alternatives to rhubarb that you can use as treats for your dog. If your dog is partial to fruit or treats containing fruit, look for healthy natural options.
Biscuit Bakes are available in several flavours containing fruit. Blueberries and banana are used in two of the most popular flavours; Feeling Blue and Go Bananas - our Totally Tropical flavour has watermelon, coconut, banana and peanut for a more exotic taste.
Biscuit Bites send dogs wild! Grain-free and healthy dog biscuits, the Banana, Apple and Blueberry flavours are a hit with our canine customers.
With Wags & Woofs,
Laura, Dolly & Reggie