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Can Dogs Eat Elderberries?

Can Dogs Eat Elderberries

No! Because it contains a cyanogenic glycoside known as Amygdalin, the elderberry tree has a high toxicity level. Although fully ripe berries are less poisonous, they can still be harmful to canines and must be avoided.


Elderberry Poisoning In Dogs Can Be Caused By A Variety Of Factors. 

The cyanogenic glycoside Amygdalin, which is also found in bitter almonds, stone fruits, and apple seeds, is produced by the elderberry plant. Hydrogen cyanide is produced when Amygdalin is degraded in the digestive tract. 

Hydrogen cyanide is hazardous to practically all animal species in doses as low as two milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Death from cyanide poisoning is usually quick, taking less than an hour from the time of intake.

Why Are Dogs Sickened By Elderberries? 

The dilapidation of Amygdalin in dogs’ digestive tracts can result in the production of very deadly hydrogen cyanide. Even if it is only 2mg per kilogram of body weight, it will have the same effect.

 This cyanide poisoning might result in death very quickly (generally taking less than an hour from digestion). However, the length of time depends on how much of the elderberry tree your dog ate.

Your dog may vomit and have diarrhea if he eats elderberry trees. Aside from that, cyanide poisoning may cause peculiar breathing and drooling in dogs. 

Toxic elderberries, on the other hand, can cause dilated pupils and a reduction in blood pressure. Symptoms of cyanide toxicity include fluid accumulation in the chest or belly, as well as annexations. 

If not handled within the first 15-20 minutes after eating, all of these symptoms will result in death (within 30-45 minutes).

Elderberry Poisoning in Dogs: Symptoms 

Amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside found throughout the plant except in the mature berries, makes elderberry plants hazardous. Teas and syrups prepared from elderberry leaves are also hazardous and can lead to human death. 

After swallowing the elderberry plant, symptoms of cyanide toxicity can appear in as little as 15-20 minutes, and without treatment, death can ensue in as little as 30-45 minutes

BloodA heart rate that is quite fast 
Coma Seizures 
Dilated pupilsShock 
Diarrhea There’s a strong odor of bitter almonds. 
Breathing problems Unexpected death 
Excessive drooling and a drop in blood pressure Tremors 
Fluid buildup in the chest or abdomen Vomiting
Source: Agriculture.VIC

Elderberry Poisoning In Dogs: What To Look For And How To Treat It 

Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has consumed any part of an elderberry plant. Ingesting any part of the plant material can cause cyanide poisoning, which can be lethal quickly if not treated promptly.

 If you saw your pet eat the plant material, plant identification may be all that’s needed to figure out what’s causing his or her illness. If the cause of the poisoning is unknown, your veterinarian will want to know whether your dog ate without supervision, as well as any prescriptions that your dog is currently receiving.

Many of the symptoms and indicators are similar to those of other types of poisoning, but some, such as cherry red blood and the smell of bitter almonds on the breath, are specific to cyanide poisonings.

 In the first few hours after death, cyanide can be identified in the blood and urine, but if cyanide poisoning is suspected, treatment is usually started without waiting for the results.

Treatment for elderberry poisoning should be started as soon as feasible due to the rapid onset of symptoms. Without prompt treatment, exposure to toxic cyanogenic glycosides is likely to be fatal, but the outcome is often significantly improved.

In most cases, amyl nitrate will be given, along with thiosulfate treatment in the form of an IV injection. Thiosulfate has been utilized successfully in some cases where cyanide poisoning is suspected but not verified.

As long as the heart continues to beat, these antidotes to cyanide created in the gut are normally effective; nevertheless, caution is advised because the antidotes are poisonous on their own. Vitamin B12 can also be used since it binds to cyanide and produces cyanocobalamin, which is eliminated in the urine.

 Additional therapies are purely supportive. The supportive care will include IV fluids for dehydration as well as electrolytes and carbohydrates to correct any imbalances. Oxygen treatment may also be used to aid in the recovery of your pet. Oxygen therapy has been demonstrated to be especially beneficial for dogs. 

Dogs With Elderberry Poisoning Recovery

Cyanogenic glycoside poisoning is almost invariably deadly if left untreated. Recovery is far more likely if you can get your canine companion into the veterinarian’s clinic as soon as possible. If your pet survives the first two hours, he or she is more likely to make a full recovery. 

Once treatment has commenced, the dog’s prognosis is determined by the amount of food consumed, the speed with which the dog was diagnosed and treated, and the size of the dog. Additional cyanide may be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract after this time, causing the poisoning signs and symptoms to reappear.

Your veterinarian will almost certainly schedule a follow-up appointment to check for any signs of infection.


As you are aware, providing elderberries to your dog can have a negative impact on his health; thus, try to prevent situations like this and protect your dog from infection and disease. If these berries are fully ripe, they may not cause much harm, but why offer your dog anything that could be harmful to his health? 

Also if you are looking for a variety of food options then read our post for what fruits can dogs eat safely?

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