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Foxglove

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A representation of Foxglove extract
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Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxglove is a plant that grows in many gardens and meadows. It has beautiful flowers that shine in different colors. However, foxglove is not only an ornamental plant, but also a medicinal plant. It contains active ingredients that can strengthen the heart. But be careful: foxglove is also very poisonous and can be fatal if used incorrectly or overdosed. In this article, you can find out more about foxglove in relation to dogs. We explain what foxglove is, how it works and what advantages and disadvantages it has.

What is foxglove?

Foxglove belongs to the plantain family and is widespread in Europe, Asia and North America. There are around 20 different species of foxglove, which differ in the shape and color of their flowers. The best known are the red foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and the yellow foxglove (Digitalis lutea). The flowers are bell-shaped and often have dark spots on the inside. They are reminiscent of foxgloves, hence the name.

The foxglove is a biennial plant, which means that it only flowers in its second year. In the first year it only forms a rosette of leaves. The leaves are elongated, toothed and have a velvety surface. The plant grows up to 1.5 meters high and flowers from June to August.

The foxglove contains various active ingredients that mainly affect the heart. The most important are digitalis glycosides, which increase the contractility of the heart muscle and slow down the heartbeat. This relieves the heart and improves blood circulation. Digitalis glycosides are used in medicine to treat heart failure.

What effects does foxglove have on dogs?

Foxglove can be both beneficial and dangerous for dogs. It all depends on the dose. In small amounts, foxglove can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life in dogs with heart problems. However, this should only be done under veterinary supervision as it is very difficult to determine the correct dosage. Too much foxglove can lead to severe poisoning with vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmia and respiratory distress. In the worst case, cardiac arrest can occur.

Foxglove is very bitter for dogs and is not normally eaten. However, curious or hungry dogs can nibble on or accidentally ingest the plant. The seeds that fall from the wilted flowers in the fall are particularly dangerous. They contain the highest concentration of toxins.

What are the benefits of foxglove for dogs?

Foxglove can be a blessing for dogs with heart problems. It can improve heart function and relieve symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue. It can also slow the progression of the disease and prolong life expectancy.

Foxglove can also help with other conditions related to poor circulation. For example, it can support kidney and liver function in kidney failure or liver cirrhosis.

Foxglove is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries. It has fewer side effects than synthetic medicines and is often better tolerated.

What are the disadvantages of foxglove for dogs?

Foxglove contains the heart poison digitalis, which can lead to severe symptoms of poisoning if consumed. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, drowsiness and pale mucous membranes. In the worst case, cardiac arrest and death can occur. The lethal dose for an average-sized dog is around 5 grams of dried leaves. Other animals such as cats, rabbits, hamsters, horses and birds are also at risk.

To protect your dog from foxglove poisoning, you should take a few precautions. For one thing, it's best not to plant foxglove in your garden if you have pets or children. Secondly, you should always keep an eye on your dog when you take it for a walk or let it into other people's gardens. If you see foxglove in your neighborhood, keep your dog away from it and instruct him not to eat it. If you suspect that your dog has eaten foxglove, you should see a vet immediately and bring a sample of the plant with you.

Foxglove is a plant with two faces: it is beautiful to look at, but also very dangerous. It can even be fatal for dogs. That's why you should always be careful and protect your dog from possible poisoning.


Learn even more about Foxglove extract

If you notice any signs of hypersensitivity or poisoning in your dog, you should see your vet immediately. We are not a substitute for a vet, but we try to be as accurate as possible. Every dog reacts differently and we recommend you get a second opinion or consult your vet if in doubt.

Stay healthy and take good care of your four-legged friend!😊

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