Is Lungwort Poisonous to Dogs: Safety Concerns for Pet Owners

Key Takeaways

  • Lungwort is generally not considered highly toxic to dogs, but some sources suggest potential health risks.
  • Symptoms of plant ingestion can include gastrointestinal upset, and less commonly, neurological issues.
  • Immediate veterinary care is recommended if your dog exhibits any signs of distress after eating lungwort.

When it comes to creating a safe environment for your furry friend, understanding which plants are non-toxic is essential.

Lungwort, a plant known for its unique spotted foliage and nodding flowers, often raises concerns among dog owners about its safety.

While lungwort is not typically classified as a poisonous plant for dogs, conflicting information exists regarding its potential effects on canine health.

The primary concern with lungwort ingestion in dogs revolves around the possibility of it causing mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Certain sources also indicate that lungwort can provoke neurological issues and liver damage.

It’s important to be cautious when your dog is in areas where lungwort grows or when considering it for your garden.

If you notice any signs of distress in your pet after they’ve potentially ingested lungwort, it’s vital to seek immediate veterinary assistance for a proper evaluation and treatment.

Lungwort Toxicity in Dogs

Lungwort, a plant with botanical name Pulmonaria, is a subject that has raised concerns among dog owners due to its potential toxic properties.

When you’re assessing the safety of plants around your dogs, it’s important to know which may cause harm.

Lungwort contains two main chemical components that are of interest: saponins and pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Symptoms of Toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Neurological issues (such as difficulty walking)
  • Potential liver damage

Reports on the toxicity of lungwort in dogs vary, some stating it’s not overly toxic and others indicating that it can cause various symptoms, especially if consumed in large quantities.

If you suspect your dog has eaten lungwort and is showing signs of distress, seek veterinary advice immediately.

Notably, lungwort is not commonly listed among the most toxic plants to dogs, and cases of poisoning are rare. However, the plant’s fine hairs can cause skin irritation, and when ingested, may irritate the mouth and digestive system.

What to Do:

  • Prevent access to the plant.
  • Monitor for any of the symptoms listed above.
  • Contact your vet if you notice any adverse reactions.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Dogs

A dog shows signs of poisoning after ingesting lungwort plant

When your dog ingests toxic substances, he may exhibit a range of clinical signs. It’s crucial to interpret these symptoms promptly to provide him with the care he needs.

  • Gastrointestinal Signs:
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Loss of appetite
    • Drooling
    • Abdominal pain
  • Neurological Symptoms:
    • Seizures
    • Tremors
    • Lethargy
    • Uncoordinated movement
    • Unusual behavior
  • Respiratory Issues:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Coughing
  • Hemorrhagic Symptoms:
    • Bruising or bleeding, typically from the gums or in the stool
    • Nosebleeds
  • Other Signs:
    • Jaundice (a yellow tint visible on the skin, eyes, or gums)
    • Excessive thirst or urination
    • Rapid heartbeat

If you observe any of these signs, especially after your dog has been around unfamiliar plants or substances, seek professional advice without delay.

The presence of these signs does not automatically mean that lungwort, or any specific plant, is the culprit, as many different toxins can cause similar symptoms in dogs.

Treatment and First Aid for Dogs

If your dog has consumed lungwort and is showing signs of discomfort or allergic reactions, it’s important to act promptly.

Immediate Steps:

  1. Remove any remaining plant matter from your dog’s reach.
  2. Observe your dog closely for symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  3. Note any changes in behavior that could indicate neurological issues.

Contact Your Veterinarian:

  • Call your vet or an emergency animal clinic immediately if symptoms are present.
  • Describe the plant ingested and the symptoms you’ve observed.

At the Vet’s Office:

  • Your vet may induce vomiting, depending on the time of ingestion and the dog’s condition.
  • Activated charcoal may be administered to absorb toxins.
  • Supportive care, such as IV fluids, might be provided to manage symptoms and prevent dehydration.
  • In cases of severe allergic reactions, your vet may administer antihistamines or steroids.

Allergic Reaction Management:

Symptom Management
Mild Itching Bathe with hypoallergenic shampoo.
Hives or Swelling Vet-prescribed antihistamines.
Breathing Difficulties Immediate veterinary attention required.

Preventing Lungwort Poisoning

When creating a dog-friendly garden or simply safeguarding your canine companion from harmful plants, lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) may be a concern. To prevent lungwort poisoning, follow these practical steps:

Knowledge Is the First Line of Defense

  • Identify: Learn to recognize lungwort with its spotted or plain green leaves and springtime blooms, which can range in color from blue to pink and white.
  • Awareness: Be aware that lungwort contains chemicals like saponins and pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can cause health issues in dogs.

Safe Gardening Practices

  • Choose Safe Plants: Opt for non-toxic alternatives to lungwort in areas where your dog plays and explores.
  • Fencing: Consider fencing off areas with lungwort or other potential toxic plants to prevent your dog’s access.


  • Commands: Teach your dog basic commands such as “leave it” to stop them from ingesting unknown plants.
  • Supervision: Always supervise your pet during outdoor time, especially if you’re in an area where lungwort grows.

Regular Health Checks

  • Veterinary Visits: Regular check-ups can help spot signs of poisoning early.
  • Prompt Action: If you suspect that your dog has ingested lungwort, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

When addressing the concerns about lungwort (Pulmonaria) and dogs, it’s crucial to understand the potential risks and safe practices to keep your furry friend healthy.

What are the potential risks of Pulmonaria ingestion in canines?

Lungwort contains chemical components which may cause neurological issues and liver damage in dogs. Ingestion can also lead to mouth and stomach irritation due to fine hairs on the leaves.

How does the ASPCA classify lungwort in terms of toxicity to pets?

The ASPCA does not specifically list lungwort as toxic in their database. This implies it is not among the most hazardous plants for pets, but you should still exercise caution.

Can humans experience adverse effects from consuming lungwort?

Although lungwort is not typically considered a food source for humans, consuming it could potentially result in adverse effects, similar to any non-edible plant.

Are there any toxic properties in Pulmonaria that pet owners should be aware of?

Yes, Pulmonaria may produce chemical components that are harmful to canines. It’s advised to keep pets away from this plant to avoid any risk of poisoning.

What is the difference between lungwort and Pulmonaria?

Lungwort is a common name for the plant genus Pulmonaria, which belongs to the Boraginaceae family. There is no difference; lungwort and Pulmonaria refer to the same group of plants.

Is it safe to include lungwort in a pet’s diet?

No, due to its potential toxicity, it is not safe to intentionally include lungwort in your pet’s diet.

Always prevent your dog’s access to plants that could be harmful.