Dr Tracy Douglas
Your guide to this article today is by veterinarian Dr Tracy Douglas
Published 14:44 pm

It is a known fact that dogs will chew on anything and everything they come into contact with. Chewing has some benefits for their dental health, and so is not really a bad thing to do. The issue comes up when they choose toxic or harmful things to put in their mouths. They are not the best and knowing what is right for them to gnaw on and will do it for the fun of it. It is up to you to make sure they are not chewing on anything that could be of harm to their bodies. Plants are not processed the same way in dogs’ bodies as in humans, and you must pay close attention to which plants your dog is chewing. Bamboo is one of those plants that look attractive to chew on, and you might be wondering, ‘Is bamboo poisonous to dogs?’ In this article, the answer to this question will be explored to give you the information you need about your dog and bamboo.

Corgi dog sitting in the grass

Facts About Bamboo

The scientific name for Bamboo is Phyllostachys aurea, and it belongs to the family Gramineae. Some of its common names are Golden Bamboo and Fishpole Bamboo, with about 10,000 species. They are considered the fastest-growing woody plant to exist, with a growth capacity of 91 to 122 centimeters a day. Bamboo is easy to grow and does not need much maintenance and so amateur farmers will not have a hard time with it. It is also resistant to pests and there is no need checking the acidity and alkalinity of the soil before cultivating it. The woody plants are classified into runners and clumpers, which are determined by the kinds of roots or rhizomes they have. Runners spread very quickly while clumpers grow in thick clumps and slowly spread. Both types of the plant are known to grow anywhere, but runners mostly thrive in temperate zones while clumpers do well in tropical areas. The low growing bamboo is useful for controlling erosion while the tall bamboo serves as sound and windbreaks.

The vast number of species make it possible for the plant to be used in so many ways. Firstly, they can be planted for their aesthetics either inside or outside the house, with the hardy versions able to withstand zero F temperature. It is also the primary material for some items like baskets, flooring toys, and kitchenware. If you have some in your home, then it is likely that your furry pup will enjoy gnawing on some. It is, however, noteworthy that there are also other plants that look very much like bamboo, which might confuse you.

Can Dogs Chew on Bamboo

When you find your dog eating bamboo, do not be very surprised or worried. It is okay for them to chew the plant because there are no toxins in it. The real Bambusoideae species is 100% safe for dogs to consume, unlike the look-alike. The foliage of bamboo contains up to 22% of protein, making it useful for the dog. The protein content of the plant varies across species, but the newly grown bamboo usually contains less protein. The ‘heavenly’ or ‘sacred’ bamboo, known as Nandina domestica, is the mimic of accrual bamboo that can cause harm to your dog if ingested. It is not bamboo in the first place, but it looks a lot like it. It is a shrub that is easy to care for with a semi-evergreen color, which changes according to seasons. It usually becomes pink in spring, light green in summer, bronze purple in fall, and bright crimson during the winter. Even though it is beautiful to decorate with, the berries contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can produce severe health issues for our dog. The symptoms may include stomach ache, vomiting, increased temperature and heartrates, as well as cause respiratory failure. The best thing to do in that situation is to take your dog to the vet with what it has chewed.

Plants and Dogs’ Diet

Dogs are naturally meat-eaters and so their diet should look like what they would eat in the wild. Their meals should be made up of a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat with protein taking up the majority. Plants can be used as a source of specific vitamins or minerals for your pet only when they need it. They should not constitute the main ingredient in your dog’s food since they cannot provide the nutrition your dog needs. Also, some plants contain toxins that are very bad for your dog’s health and must be avoided at all costs. These plants include tulip, aloe asparagus fern, hibiscus, daffodil and hydrangea. Fortunately, bamboo is not on the list of poisonous plants for both pets and humans. However, due to the difficulty in identifying toxic plants from non-toxic ones, it is advisable to discourage your pet from chewing on them altogether.

Bamboo

To Summarize

Plants are not always the best for dogs’ diet but chewing is suitable for their teeth. It is best to discourage your dog from chewing on all plants since it can be hard to decipher the toxic from non-toxic. When it comes to bamboo however, it is totally safe for your dog to chew on. If you have this plant in your home, do not be surprised when your dog settles down to take a bite out of it. Your pup will not get sick, but you still need to pay attention so that they do not consume too much. The fertilizer used to grow your bamboo plays a role in how safe the plant is. It is recommended that an all-natural mixture is used to reduce the chances of your dog getting sick. Artificial or chemical fertilizers contain toxins that may gravely hurt your friend and must be avoided as much as possible. If you want your dog to chew more, you can get them toys to chew, which do not have pieces that can come off easily. This will reduce the likelihood of them choking and at the same time, improve their dental health.

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Dr Tracy Douglas
General Practice Veterinarian, currently working at the Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dr. Douglas began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Nurse in Highton Veterinary Clinic, Highton Victoria, and then as an Emergency Veterinarian in Uintah Pet Emergency, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tracy is particularly interested in surgery, neurology and internal medicine, which gives her a well-rounded knowledge on animal health and well-being. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Melbourne, while her undergraduate bachelor of science is from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

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