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Is Aquilegia Poisonous to Dogs?

Is Aquilegia Poisonous to Dogs?

Dogs are synonymous with nibbling on random stuff.

From dirty shoes to newspapers, there is no end to the range of things that dogs often chew.

In some cases, puppies go about exploring their new environment using their mouths.

In other cases, dogs simply nibble on random items for the hell of it.

Given a chance, our canine companions can go to an extent of eating foliage.

Some plants, such as aquilegia, are too tempting as they feature attractive clouds of bell-shaped flowers that seem delicious.

Unfortunately, these plants are a major hazard for dogs as they are poisonous when eaten in large amounts.

What is Aquilegia?

Commonly known as columbine or granny’s bonnet, aquilegia is a genus of perennials comprising around 60 differently colored species.

These plants are native to Europe, Central Asia, and North America. They feature colorful, spurred petals, and arching stems that give these perennials a delicate outlook.

In reality, however, aquilegias are hardy flowers with the capacity to thrive in various water, temperature, and soil conditions.

For instance, unlike most flowers, the aquilegia can withstand temperatures of up to -40 °F and grow in climate hardiness zones 9 to 3

Depending on the species, aquilegia bloom vigorously from late spring to early summer for one to two months, providing a pleasant transition between the peak summer garden and premature spring bulbs.

Is Aquilegia Poisonous to Dogs?

The toxicity of this flower is highly disputed. There is a limited pool of literature addressing this issue.

Among the most notable scientific studies addressing aquilegia’s toxicity is an acute toxicity test carried out by a group of four Polish medical scientists.

The study, which was published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal, sought to investigate the effect of an AvEE extract made from ethanol and isocytisoside on mice.

Isocytosine (ISOC) is made up of dihydroxyflavone-7, glucopyranoside, and methoxy-5 compounds, and is the primary flavonoid present in aquilegia stems and flowers.

This study concluded that as much as 3000 mg/kg of this flavonoid cannot cause mortality in animals as small as mice, qualifying aquilegia as non-toxic.

Ideally, dogs cannot die from consuming aquilegia.

However, this plant still contains certain compounds that are likely to cause adverse reactions in dogs. These include aconitum and cardiogenic toxins.

Aconitum simply referred to as aconite, is a raw poison commonly found in certain flower species.

It is used as a homeopathic treatment in small doses to minimize dog fever during the early onset of a disease.

This substance also helps relieve a dog’s trauma after experiencing a sudden or frightening event such as a dog fight or an accident.

However, aconitum is also highly poisonous and needs to be used moderately.

As is the case with human beings, it can bring about distress to an animal’s gastroenteritis, central nervous, and cardiovascular systems, ultimately causing diarrhea or respiratory paralysis. 

Aquilegia also contains cardiogenic toxins. These are naturally occurring compounds that cause complications in heart functions by increasing the dog’s palpitation rate.

When ingested, this toxin reduces the heart’s capacity to pump sufficient amounts of blood to the body. In severe cases, the canine can suffer from a heart attack.  

Fortunately, aquilegia has an exceptionally bitter taste. Therefore, this plant offers zero appeal to dogs.

 You can hardly find your dog nibbling on this harsh-tasting flower.

Nonetheless, some canine companions, especially puppies, can be tempted to taste the lacy and colorful flower.

Your dog could also find aquilegia seeds or stems lying around and innocently chew on them.

Notably, the seeds and stems pose the greatest risk as they contain the highest concentration of the above-mentioned toxins. 

In case of such an eventuality, make sure to contact your vet immediately. Book an emergency appointment the soonest as possible.

Also, move the dog away from the aquilegia plant to prevent it from further indulgence.

Symptoms of aquilegia poisoning could include heart palpitations, diarrhea, vomiting, or/and stomach upset.

The good news, however, is that it is not likely that these symptoms will last for long.


In sum, aquilegia is a genus of perennials comprising around 60 differently colored species that are native to Europe, Central Asia, and North America.

 This plant is renowned for its beauty as it features brightly colored petals.

While studies show that it cannot cause mortality in pets, this plant is relatively toxic.

 It contains toxins that cause gastroenteritis and heart complications if ingested in large amounts.

Some common symptoms of aquilegia poisoning include heart palpitations, diarrhea, vomiting, or/and stomach upset.

 In case of aquilegia poisoning, contact your vet immediately.

Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by

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