If you live in desert areas in the United States, you’re probably familiar with the yucca plant. This plant has several other names, including Spanish bayonet, Adam’s needle, and needle palm, and it comes in several forms. But most yucca plants will feature long, pointed leaves on the thicker side and white flowers on tall stalks. And if you are a dog parent living where yucca is prevalent, you may wonder whether your pet will be safe if it eats this plant.
The answer is no. While the yucca plant won’t be fatal for most if eaten in small amounts, it is still toxic to dogs. This is because of the steroidal saponins within the plant that can cause stomach irritation and, in large doses, can affect the central nervous system resulting in death. Here’s what you need to know.
Yucca Poisoning in Canines
First, the good news—yucca is not tasty for a dog’s palate and causes stomach upset almost immediately, so it’s not likely your dog will eat a fatal amount. However, if your pup is on the small side or is getting up there in years, yucca could affect them more.
How does this plant cause irritation to the stomach? Steroidal saponins will foam when eaten, which in turn results in an intestinal upset in dogs. This ends up with your dog experiencing issues such as:
And if enough of the yucca is consumed by older pups or smaller ones, there could also be confusion and even seizures.
What to Do if Your Dog Ate Yucca
If you find that your dog has eaten some yucca (any part of the plant), you should take it to the vet right away. If you can, also bring a piece of the yucca with you to help your vet with a diagnosis, as there are several types of yucca to be found. You’ll need to tell your vet which part of the yucca your pup consumed and how much (if you know). Then your vet will do a physical exam and, most likely, lab tests.
There’s a possibility that your vet might also perform an endoscopy to help remove any yucca from your pet. An electrocardiogram may also be performed to keep track of your dog’s heart rate. Lastly, imaging tests, such as X-rays, might be done.
Once your vet has confirmed that your pet did indeed eat yucca, they will most likely induce vomiting to get rid of the toxins from your pet’s body. Besides that, your pup will probably be given IV fluids to help flush its system.
The good news is that if your dog is treated within at least 18 hours of first experiencing signs of yucca poisoning and there have been no issues with the renal system, your pet should be fine!
Yucca, while toxic for our canine companions, isn’t typically deadly. There are some exceptions, such as if a dog consumes a whole lot of yucca or a smaller or older dog eats some. However, for the most part, if your pup has eaten a part of the yucca plant, it should be fine.
You’ll see signs almost immediately that your pet has eaten some, as the yucca plant causes irritation to the stomach, and you’ll want to get your dog to the vet quickly if you see these signs. As long as your pup has only eaten a bit and is treated quickly, the outcome should be good!
Featured Image Credit: Kovacik, Shutterstock