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Fact Check: Are Dianthus Poisonous To Dogs? (2023)

Are Dianthus Poisonous To Dogs

You’re thinking that carnations are going to be a perfect addition to your garden…

However, they’re a member of the Dianthus family. 

And from what you’ve heard, they can be poisonous to dogs. So, are they?

Plus, is there anything you can do to both plant it and ensure Fido’s safety?

Keep reading to discover:

  • What is Dianthus, and is it poisonous to dogs.
  • 3 ways to prevent Dianthus poisoning in your dog.
  • What to do when dogs are poisoned with Dianthus.
  • And many more…

What is Dianthus?

Dianthus is a family of flowers that are among many gardeners’ favorites. These flowers are widely present in Asia and Europe.

According to plant experts, these are some of the common names for Dianthus:

  • Pinks.
  • Carnation.
  • Gillyflowers.
  • Clove Pinks.
  • Eastern Star.
  • Maiden Pinks.
  • Cottage Pinks.
  • Sweet William.
  • Rainbow Pinks.

Moreover, these can be grown annually or once per year. Some also grow biennially, completing 2 life cycles in its season. Then others can be perennials or live for more than 2 years.

Now, the flowers in this family are recognizable by their sweet yet spicy scent. 

They’re also a staple to most gardens for their lovely blossom. 

That’s because they boast 5 petals that are jagged or scalloped on their edges.

Did you know? I mentioned earlier that these flowers are also called pinks

However, that common name doesn’t have anything to do with the flowers’ color.


Yep, you read that right. Experts say it’s actually from the Latin word ‘pinct.’

Now, that word refers to the flowers’ scalloped petals instead of the prominent color pink.

To prove it even further, one synonym of the word ‘scalloped’ is ‘pinked.’

That aside, the flowers are also identifiable by their captivating hues. 

The most common colors of Dianthus are pink and lilac. Then, some have a splash of white, yellow, red, and purple.

As for its markings, they come in many varieties.

Moreover, their leaves are green yet greyish or bluish.

Then, Dianthus usually stands from 2 in (5 cm) to 3 in (7 cm). However, some can also grow up to 20 in (50 cm).

Before this section ends, there’s one more question that requires an answer…

“Aren’t Dianthus edible?”

The answer is yes. Organically grown Dianthus is edible.

That’s why you might see carnations as a decoration on a cake. Such is crystallized with sugar first.

You can also put them in rice for a pop of flavor and color.

Then, you can also put it in your salad for taste or in your pasta for display.

Note: Contact with Dianthus leaves can lead to mild dermatitis. Also, only petals of Dianthus are edible to humans. You must not consume the leaves of a Dianthus.

That’s because doing so can lead to mild poisoning.

The toxic principle behind such is called Triterpenoid saponins.

Research says that such a compound is a defensive compound. That means some variant of it can be used medicinally.

However, the kind that Dianthus leaves contains won’t do you good.

And although the consequences of eating Dianthus leaves can be light, it isn’t a great situation to be in.

Is Dianthus poisonous to dogs?

Dianthus Is Poisonous To Dogs

Dianthus is poisonous to dogs. But, the toxic variant responsible is still not identified by experts. Regardless, the plants can cause mild gastrointestinal upset and dermatitis in dogs. But it’s easy to recover from Dianthus poisoning. Despite that, veterinary treatment might still be necessary.

Dianthus poisoning in dogs: What to do

When your dog ingests Dianthus, you should act immediately. That’s because Dianthus is poisonous to dogs.

However, the ASPCA tells us that the toxic irritant for dogs on Dianthus isn’t yet identified.

That aside, here’s what you should do. And you should do it as soon as you realize that your pooch had eaten Dianthus:

First aid

So you catch your pooch munching on your carnations…

As soon as you see them, stop them immediately. Now, focus as you should begin the first aid process.

Step #1: Remove and flush

See if your canine is still chewing on some of the plants. If they are, remove the remaining plant from their mouth.

After that, it’s time to flush their mouth with running water.

Moreover, this is also the time to give their vet a call. You can also give the Pet Poison Helpline or Animal Poison Control Center a ring.

Step #2: Induce vomiting

Your dog’s mouth is now on the clear.

So, it’s time to focus on the plant that’s gotten into their gastrointestinal tract.

With that, you must induce vomiting as soon as possible. Doing so might extract the plant from your dog’s body.

And you must do so before their body absorbs more of its toxicity.

To do that, you must use an emetic.

What’s that?

Those are medications or substances you should give to your dog after ingesting a toxin.

Moreover, the MSDVM states that you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide as an emetic. 

In doing so, only give your dog 0.17 oz (5 mL) to 0.33 oz (10 mL). Administer it orally by giving it through a syringe.

And you might be thinking…

“Hydrogen peroxide sounds like it’s toxic for dogs as well…”

You’re right that it is…

However, small amounts and low concentrations of it can be harmful. Moreover, it’s actually the safest thing you can use at home.

Now, only when you go beyond the recommended amount will it start being toxic. Also, stronger concentrations like those present in hair dye products can be toxic.

With that, remember only to administer the suggested amount of emetic.

Plus, this is an efficient and effective method…

Experts say that 90% of dogs vomited following the administration of hydrogen peroxide.

For more guidance and advice, here’s a how-to video on inducing vomiting in dogs:

Step #3: Monitor

Keep an eye on your dog after giving them an emetic.

This time, they’ll be facing emesis, which is just another word for vomiting.

So, monitor their vomiting habits.

Take note of its interval and frequencies.

Moreover, get past thinking it’s disgusting…

Because you’ll have to take a close look at what their vomit looks like. See if there are any of the plants present in the puddle.

Moreover, they’re also likely to show other symptoms of poisoning. Those are:

  • Itching.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Mild skin dermatitis.
  • Abdominal pain, which will show through whining.
  • Difficulty breathing and uneven breaths. This is due to the swelling of their mucous membrane.

You must take note of all these signs. 

That’s because you’ll have to tell the vet all about it if needed.

Lastly, whether induced or naturally occurring, emesis can have side effects.

So, that’s more to look out for.

Research says persistent in dogs vomiting can cause:

  • Dehydration.
  • Loss of natural GI fluids.
  • Decrease in electrolytes.
  • Hypovolemic shock or decrease in blood circulation. 

If these show persistently, then it’s time for…

Step #4: Bring your dog to the vet

Bring Your Dog To The Vet

In step #1, I mentioned that you should call their vet or the available hotlines.

Now, they’ll likely suggest that you do steps 1 to 3 first.

That’s because most cases like this are treatable, even without vet intervention.

Moreover, death due to Dianthus poisoning is infrequent.

However, if your dog experiences any of the following, then it’s time for a face-to-face with vets. I’m talking about:

#1: Persistent vomiting within a day of the ingestion. 

If you’re not inducing vomiting anymore, it’s time to focus even more. 

VCA Hospitals tell us that vomiting can usually improve on its own.

It’s only when the intervals between each vomit become close or too frequent…

And uh-oh…

When that happens, it’s time for a vet’s assessment of the situation.

#2: They’re also likely to experience diarrhea as I mentioned.

And add that to the vomiting…

Then, it’s going to really hurt your dog’s body.

What I mean is it can lead to dehydration, which will be a terrible issue.

#3: It calls for an emergency if their vomit contains blood.

What to expect from their veterinarian

If your dog’s still vomiting, there are 2 reasons for it:

The first one is that they still have some plant parts on their GI tract.

And the second one is that their body reacts poorly to the toxicity. The kind that’s even more worse than the average reaction.

Now, the only person to confirm which between the two is the vet. 

And when they identify it, they’ll proceed with the proper treatment.

Response #1: They might induce more vomiting

If still possible, this will be the way of treatment.

Your dog’s going to have to bring out every part of the plant that they ate.

And this time, the emesis will be done and observed by a professional…

So, trust them on this one. The vet won’t go through with this if it’s not a suitable option.

Response #2: Attending to the inflammation

As I mentioned earlier, Dianthus poisoning can cause mild skin dermatitis.

That means your canine might have mild skin irritations. It’s the reason why they might be itching.

To treat it, the vet might put on soothing cream for the swelling of the skin.

Response #3: Fluid therapy

In this treatment, the goal will also be to flush out the toxin from your dog’s system.

And the vet will do so by giving your pooch fluid therapy. They’ll administer it using the intravenous route. 

Moreover, this method helps to tone down the vomiting and diarrhea. That’s because it assists with your dog’s dehydration problem as well.


All in all, your dog should recover 4 to 24 hours after being exposed to the toxin.

If symptoms are still persistent after that, veterinary attention is needed ASAP.

The recovery will depend on the severity and way of treatment when given that.

How to prevent Dianthus poisoning in dogs? 3 tips

#1: Restricting their access

Say that you really want to own these pretty flowers in your garden…

Well, there’s a way to keep them without having to hurt your fur baby.

A way of doing so is fencing the area where you plant your Dianthus.

Make sure that your dog’s access to it is non-existent…

That’s because the plant will be restricted from them.

As I said earlier, these flowers can stand from 2 in (5 cm) to 3 in (7 cm). But sometimes, they can grow up to 20 in (50 cm).

With that, make sure that the fence will be covering the plant as a whole. 

#2: Training

Wanna completely display these beautiful flowers?

Then, you can train your dog to leave your garden alone.

You must reinforce their training using the ‘leave it!’ method.

And for better and fast results, here’s what you should do…

Don’t just apply this rule for your Dianthus plants.

You must train your pooch to leave every plant alone. This is so they won’t get confused and still face a risk of poisoning.

Editor’s pick: Top 20 Most Stubborn Dog Breeds That Are Difficult To Train

#3: Never let them near an alien plant

So you’re not much of a garden folk…

Or you don’t have any Dianthus in your yard. And you don’t plan on having it anyway…

But you know who has it?

Someone in your neighborhood. 

Then, when you’re walking your fur baby, you pass by the pink-lilac flowers…

Now, such can still be a risk.

With that, you must stray your dog away from alien plants. Or those that aren’t yours.

If they’re on a leash, then that’s better. You’ll be more in control of where they’ll be going.

Moreover, don’t let them sniff any foreign plant. 

You never know…

It can escalate and lead to them ingesting the plant.

So, pay close attention to your pooch during their walks. Plus, their training from #2 can help with this as well.