Dog owners must avoid placing potentially dangerous plants in their yard or garden because many plants can cause symptoms of plant poisoning. Mountain ash, found in many yards, produces small, round berries that may eaten by dogs while they are outdoors. Even non-toxic plants can cause adverse effects in dogs, such as nausea and vomiting.
Mountain ash trees are members of the genus Sorbus, which is in the Rosaceae family. The California mountain ash, the Sitka mountain ash, the Cascade mountain ash and the European mountain ash are common in many yards and gardens across the United States. These perennial shrubs produce berries, which are small, round and red in color. The berries from the European mountain ash have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and to make jellies and jams.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not list mountain ash berries as toxic for dogs. In fact, none of the Sorbus species are poisonous to humans or animals. Dogs that consume any plant material such as leaves, flowers, stems or berries, can suffer from gastrointestinal effects, however. Vomiting and diarrhea are the two most common symptoms dogs experience after ingesting plants. Although these symptoms are not life-threatening, dogs may feel bad for several days after ingestion.
While mountain ash berries are not poisonous to dogs, ingesting them can cause allergic reactions as can any plant material. The most common symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs include itching skin, intense scratching, runny eyes, itching the back, itchy ears, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, chewing paws, snoring from swelling inside the throat and continuous licking, according to ASPCA. Dogs can suffer from allergic reactions from ingesting plant material or by rubbing against it.
If you think your dog ingested the berries or leaves from your mountain ash, contact your veterinarian for proper diagnosis. This is important even if your dog is not showing serious symptoms. It is a good idea to take a piece of the plant or berry with you to the veterinarian, so the plant can be properly identified.