Monday, August 22, 2016

Poisonous Water Hemlock! Beware When Hiking!

Phoenix poses next to the Water Hemlock

I'm in a bunch dog facebook groups and recently there was a post about a dog who went hiking and accidentally ate Water Hemlock. The dog unfortunately passed away about an hour after ingesting it because the plant is highly toxic! This really concerned me because my dogs are big grass eaters and we are out hiking a lot.

After doing some research, I found that Water Hemlock is extremely common in the Pacific Northwest, although it can grow wherever the ground is moist. It's often found by water but not always. It's pretty much everywhere! I've found it all over our neighborhood and at all of the parks we go to. It was shocking to me that I've lived here for a while and never heard about this before.

Since I have not seen this topic come up, I decided that I should let everyone else know about it! If you're hiking be on the look out for this plant and don't let your dogs eat it! We will definitely be more cautious! The girls love grass so much but this is too scary to ignore!

Have you ever seen this plant before?


  1. Never heard of this before. I live in central California and it's very dry here. There are so many things that can hurt our babies.

    Have a terrific day. Scritches to the girls. ☺

  2. Now, water hemlock does look very similar to a number of other plants that are very common in the PNW as well, so it is possible that not all of what you are seeing is hemlock. That said, it is always better to assume it is and avoid it, just in case.

    1. Yep, I read that when I was researching it. I found out that a lot of people end up poisoning themselves because they think it's wild carrot. It IS definitely better to be safe than sorry and stay away from anything you can't identify.

  3. It grows in the swamps here sometimes. I don't let the dogs eat anything while on walks, even grass. Can't be too careful!

  4. That is scary! We have similar looking plants that aren't hemlock (but may still be toxic) in some of the parks we visit--I'll be extra careful that Barley doesn't try to take a bite! She usually doesn't eat grass (and even when wants to, I try to keep her from doing it since I never know if there are pesticides or other icky things on it), but there are definitely moments she tries to get a little trail-side snack.

  5. Scary! Good job getting the word out about this!

  6. I try to keep Dante and Ziva from eating anything, even grass. Ziva likes to eat grass but when she does she often barfs it back up... yuck!! So we just try to avoid it all.

  7. I am not sure if I've seen it but I have the same issue as you - my dogs both like to gobble mouthfuls of grass while walking. We believe that that's how R got poisoned last year (his near fatal poisoning last July). Something was under the grass that he ingested along with the grass. Also, Shyla had an episode of myoclonic seizures early this summer - since it hasn't repeated, our vet thinks it was caused by a toxin. Again, it was probably ingested as she grazed. Argh.

    We have an awesome botonist in our neighborhood who posts to our group about all sorts of plants, including poisonous ones, so we get a friendly warning about water hemlock every year. I think that every neighborhood needs a botonist :)


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