Common milkweed is toxic for dogs

Asclepias syriaca toxic

The common milkweed is originally from the USA and can also be found in Canada and Mexico. It is a herbaceous plant that can reach up to 2 metres in height. The light green and erect stems rarely branch.

The flowers come in umbels that are orange or pink to white in colour. The fruits are up to 15 cm long, green-brownish and slightly horn-shaped.

The plants are absolute bee and butterfly magnets with their large showy flowers. There are hardy species that are also becoming increasingly common in European gardens. The plants are popular both as potted plants and as houseplants.

Unfortunately, the common milkweed is poisonous to dogs. All parts of the plant and especially its milky latex contain the poison.

Common milkweed is also known as:
  • butterfly flower
  • silkweed
  • silky swallow-wort
  • Virginia silkweed
Common milkweed in bloom

What should I do if my dog ate Common milkweed?

How toxic is Common milkweed?

Toxicity:toxic (toxic)
Toxic parts:All parts of the common milkweed are poisonous, especially its milky latex.
Toxic time:spring, summer, autumn
If your dog shows symptoms of poisoning, it is always an emergency! Time is critical for your dog's life. You should immediately call your vet or the animal emergency services and make sure that a vet is on site and then go there immediately. For the treatment, it helps the vet a lot to know what your dog has ingested.

Occurrence Common milkweed

Plant species:flower, perennial
Occurrence:Gardens, Meadows
Flowering time:summer
Fruit ripening:summer, autumn


The following symptoms may occur in case of poisoning with the common milkweed:

  • increased salivation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea
  • faintness
  • movement disorders
  • disturbances of consciousness
  • heart problems such as palpitations and arrhythmias
  • circulatory collapse
  • coma
  • death can occur due to cardiac arrest


The vet will always try to remove the ingested poison from the body and alleviate the specific symptoms of poisoning.

There are different methods to remove the poison from the body:

1. ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: Activated charcoal can absorb toxins. If possible, it should be administered within 2 hours after ingestion of the poison, so that the toxin does not enter the bloodstream.
2. LAXATIVES: The vet may combine the administration of activated charcoal with a laxative.
3. VOMITING: The vet can also induce vomiting using medication to remove the toxin from the body. 

Furthermore, depending on the degree of poisoning, the vet can administer an antidote and infusions and stabilise the body functions through further measures.

More information on dog poisonings can be found here: 

Preventing, identifying and treating poisoning in dogs


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