Curious puppy sniffing a hydrangea

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Hydrangeas are a beautiful, fragrant flower that comes in a variety of colors, but is it safe to have them blooming in your garden if you own a dog? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Hydrangeas are toxic to dogs. Our furry friends often like to investigate with their noses and mouths, so if they accidentally lick or ingest a hydrangea, they might get sick.

The best way to keep your dog safe from poisoning is to avoid adding hydrangea bushes to your outdoor and indoor space. Even a well-trained pup will get curious, so there is always a risk of hydrangea poisoning if your dog has access to this plant. If you’d like to bring any sort of plant into your home or garden, it’s best to consult with a vet beforehand, as there are a number of plant species that are poisonous to canines. In this post we’ll tell you all about why dogs and hydrangeas don’t mix, as well as what to do in the event that your dog does ingest hydrangea. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Are Hydrangeas Toxic To Dogs?

Hydrangeas contain a chemical compound called cyanogenic glycoside, in the flowers, leaves, and bark . If a dog ingests any part of the plant, poisoning is a risk, although it’s very unlikely to be fatal. However, if you do have hydrangeas in your garden, it’s best to either keep them well out of reach of your dog or make sure to always supervise your dog during outside time. High fences or elevated areas are good solutions for keeping toxic plants away from your pet.¹

Hydrangeas contain a chemical compound called

The good news is that the risk of hydrangea poisoning for the average dog is quite low. Although symptoms can be quite serious, a dog would need to consume a relatively large amount of hydrangea for this to happen. Some dogs are actually able to metabolize a small amount of the chemical compounds in hydrangeas. Furthermore, a dog’s size also plays a role in the severity of poisoning.² In the following section, we’ll talk more in detail about signs of hydrangea poisoning in dogs and what to do if it occurs.

Symptoms of Hydrangea Poisoning in Dogs

Toxicity can occur if a dog consumes any part of a hydrangea plant. Even licking it can be enough to cause unpleasant symptoms. Typical signs of hydrangea poisoning include: 

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Cyanogenic glycoside, the substance in hydrangeas that is toxic to dogs, acts as a defense mechanism for the plant itself. Botanists believe that it helps fend off threats like viruses, herbivores, fungi, bacteria, and insects.⁴ 

How severe a dog’s reaction is, depends greatly on the amount of hydrangea they consumed. However, since the plant is categorized as generally toxic to dogs, it is recommended to always seek veterinary care if you suspect that your dog has ingested any. This is especially vital if they exhibit any of the symptoms listed above.⁴ 

Symptoms of Hydrangea poisoning in dogs

Severe Poisoning Indicators

A dog who has been severely poisoned from consuming hydrangea may also experience:

  • Increased heart rate 
  • Hyperthermia (increase in body temperature)
  • Severe gastrointestinal distress (including abdominal pain, gas, cramping, and bloating)

These symptoms indicate a more extreme level of hydrangea poisoning and urgent medical attention is required.⁴

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Hydrangeas

Ideally, our dogs would never stick their noses into anything harmful or toxic, but unfortunately, their curiosity can sometimes lead to trouble. So, what should you do if your precious pup manages to ingest hydrangeas? The first step is to contact your emergency veterinarian or call a pet poison control hotline. 

If possible, try to figure out which specific hydrangea plant your dog may have come into contact with and snap a picture to show your vet. A sample of your dog’s vomit can also help identify the plant. However, you should never try to induce vomiting at home. A vet may do so in a controlled medical environment, but if your dog isn’t throwing up, it’s best to simply monitor them and ask a vet for further advice.⁵

In the case of only mild toxicity, you should still call a vet, but they might recommend that you monitor your dog at home first. If your dog only licked or nibbled the plant, then it’s possible for the poisoning to run its course with only a bit of discomfort for your furry friend. This is more likely to be the case with larger dogs, for whom the ratio of the toxin in their body is lower. The leaves and the stem are the most toxic parts of hydrangeas. If your dog ingested this part of the plant they will need to be taken in for professional monitoring and decontamination.⁶

Preventing Hydrangea Poisoning in Dogs

As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to keep your dog safe from accidental hydrangea poisoning is to not have hydrangeas in your home or garden. If you do have them, though, make sure to keep your dog well away. Here are some safe gardening practices you can do to help prevent hydrangea poisoning in your dog⁷: 

  • Keep any hydrangeas out of reach of your dog.
  • Always supervise your dog if you have hydrangeas in your yard.
  • Train your dog with the “leave it” or “drop it” command.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when exploring new areas.

Even though it’s inadvisable to keep hydrangeas in your garden, there are still plenty of pet-safe plant options for dog-owners with green thumbs. If you’re looking for shrubs that are similar in size to hydrangeas, you can go for⁶: 

  • Rose bushes
  • Mulberry bushes
  • Black hawthorn
  • Magnolia bushes
  • Chaparral plants

These are all safe for dogs, so your canine pal can sniff around to their heart’s content. Of course, if your dog has a habit of digging, then it might be better to just keep them away from your precious plants altogether. Working on certain recall and redirection commands can also help keep your dog’s nose out of trouble in the garden.⁶


What parts of the hydrangea plant are toxic to dogs?

All parts of the plant are toxic to dogs, but the leaves and stems contain an even higher concentration of the toxic chemical compound, cyanogenic glycoside. 

How much hydrangea is toxic to a dog?

Since all parts of hydrangea contain traces of cyanide, all parts of the plant are considered toxic to dogs.

Can hydrangea poisoning in dogs be fatal?

Unless a dog consumes an extraordinarily large amount of hydrangea, the likelihood of hydrangea poisoning being fatal is very low.

How can I safely grow hydrangeas if I have pets?

Keep hydrangea plants well away from pets, like in elevated places. You can also place secure netting over the plants to decrease the chance of your pet gaining access to it with their mouths. Train your dog to “leave it” if they go near hydrangeas and always supervise them if they are in an area with the plant.

Senior woman cuddling with her dog

Final Notes 

Hydrangeas are toxic to dogs and can lead to poisoning if ingested. If possible, don’t bring hydrangeas into your home or yard if you have a dog. However, there is still a chance that your pup will encounter this plant on your outdoor adventures, so it’s recommended to keep them on a leash in unfamiliar areas. If your dog does end up ingesting hydrangea, call your vet right away. Usually, hydrangea poisoning only results in mild digestive distress, such as diarrhea or vomiting, but it can turn serious if a dog consumes a large amount of this plant. 



  1. Team, The PetPlate. “Poisonous Plants: What Plants Are Toxic to My Dog?” PetPlate, 2 May 2022,

  2. White, Ella. “Are Hydrangeas Poisonous To Dogs?” Front of the Pack, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, 21 Aug. 2022,

  3. (LSU). “Hydrangea.” LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Accessed 29 Jan. 2024. 

  4. K., Michele. “Hydrangea Poisoning in Dogs.” Wag!, 28 Jan. 2018,

  5. Reisen, Jan. “Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs.” American Kennel Club (AKC), 26 Jan. 2024,

  6. Villasenor, Yvonne. “Hydrangeas Are Poisonous to Dogs, But Here’s How to Keep Your Pooch Safe Around Them.” Daily Paws, Dotdash Meredith, 29 Mar. 2022,

  7. Fox, Amy. “Are Hydrangeas Toxic to My Dog?” The Wildest, Mars Incorporated, 5 Sept. 2023,

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