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It is springtime which means humans and their pets will grab every opportunity to spend time outdoors. From running around the home garden to exploring flowers that bloom on the wayside, dogs have the freedom to enjoy a little air after being indoors for months. Before you let her off the leash, think about her safety. Our adorable canine buddies are very curious and like to experiment with their little mouths. Unfortunately, they run into trouble more often than not. Knowing which plant is toxic to dogs will help you ensure that your doggie doesn’t ingest a toxic plant.
What is Verbena?
Also known as Vervain, Verbena is a beautiful flower belonging to the family Verbenaceae. It is a low-growing plant with green leaves and blooms that last long especially during summer and spring. It can be planted as an annual or perennial depending on the planting season. People that live in high humidity areas utilize the perennial forms that bloom well in summer. The flower is mostly used in containers or as bedding plants in specialized gardens.
Is The Verbena Plant Toxic?
The Verbena is a big family of over 250 species. Some are toxic to pets while others are not. Let’s go over some of the common varieties and find out which ones are toxic and which ones are not.
1. Lantana (toxic)
Lantana goes by many names including Yellow sage, Shrub Verbena, and Red sage. As the name goes, this plant produces different colored blossoms ranging from red to yellow to orange. Like other Verbena plants, the flowers come in clusters of mixed colors giving a beautiful bi-colored effect. Sadly, these plants are toxic according to Pet Helpline. Every part of the plant contains liver toxins called triterpenoids. If your pup happens to ingest it, he will experience diarrhea, vomiting, liver failure, weakness, and depressions.
2. Lemon Verbena (mildly toxic)
The second variety of the Verbena flower is a lemon-scented herb that goes by the name of Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush. It is mostly used to make medicine to treat a range of issues including colic, joint pain, agitation, asthma, skin conditions, varicose veins, and chills. It is also an ingredient in alcoholic beverages, cleaning products, and essential oils.
Lemon Verbena is also toxic according to ASPCA. However, your doggie would have to ingest a large amount to exhibit symptoms of toxicity such as heavy panting, diarrhea, and vomiting.
3. Trailing Verbena
Like the lantana, Trailing verbena come in a wide range of colors such as white, lavender, purple, lavender star, royal purple, and more. The plant grows very low filling any barren land with its dark green foliage and a mass of bright flowers. The most common variety is the Homestead Purple which is annual with the same dark foliage and violet flowers that stick out from a unique spiky purple-green bud. The ASPCA has not listed it as a toxic plant, meaning it is safe for dogs. No pet parent has ever reported toxicity in the history of time. If you are looking for a harmless Verbena for your garden, this variety is a good choice to consider.
4. Purpletop Verbena
This is scientifically referred to as the Verbena Bonariensis with other names being Purpletop Vervain, Pretty Verbena, Tall Verbena, and Argentinian Verbena. Unlike the Trialing Verbena that lies low, the Purple top grows upright reaching heights of 6 feet. It also spreads very fast across with its dark green foliage and dull purple blooms that give off a strong fragrance. Neither the ASPCA nor other reputable botanical sites have listed the specific variety as toxic. As long as your doggie doesn’t eat too much of it, she should be totally fine.
5. Blue Verbena
Also called Blue Vervain, Swamp verbena, or American vervain, the Blue Verbena is a unique variety that produces beautiful blue blossoms. This one is a bit different in that the flowers grow on individual thin branches that attach at the end rather than being in clusters. Like the Purple top and the Trailing varieties, the Blue Verbena is listed nowhere as a toxic plant for dogs. As long you make sure the dog doesn’t swallow a massive amount, you should not worry at all.
These are a sample of the Verbena flowers found in most gardens. Please note that any plant can burden your dog’s system depending on the amount ingested. Even the most harmless plants can cause diarrhea, GI upsets, and vomiting if taken in large quantities. If you notice that your pup is acting abnormally, make a point to see the vet. Watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, lethargy, and weakness.
Not all Verbena plants are created equal. Some of the varieties have chemicals that are toxic to pets while others are safe. On average, stay away from Lantana and Lemon Verbenas if you have dogs at home. If you must grow them, create a strong dog-proof fence around your garden for her safety.