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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: Are Pieris Japonica plants poisonous to dogs?


QUESTION:
I have a Pieris Japonica Mountain Fire plant in my backyard, and a dog that likes to chew on plants at times. I've seen some articles indicating that Pieris Japonicas are poisonous and can be fatal is ingested. But the majority of the plant information I've found doesn't mention anything to this effect. Should I be concerned? Also, I have seen the same information about azaleas, rhododendrons, and irises.

ANSWER:

Pieris Japonica, azaleas, and rhododendrons are all related and have the same type of toxin. They will poison sheep and goats that browse on them to the extent that they eat 0.2% of their body weight or more. They should be bad for dogs, too, but do you think your dog will knaw and swallow that much green leaf? Irises can be irritating if chewed, but really make a person or dog sick to the stomach if they eat the bulb.