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Are Birch Trees Safe for Dogs?

Close up of a birch grove

According to ASPCA, birch trees can be toxic for your dog. Birch is one of the most beautiful ornamental trees that embellish your garden. However, a responsible dog owner should always research the safety of his/her pup before planting a tree. Unfortunately, this exquisite herb can be dangerous for dogs and you should avoid it if you have a pooch.

Birch Tree Information

view looking up into the canopy of a birch tree

Birch is a hardwood tree that has thin leaves. The scientific name of this species is Betulaand it belongs to the Betulaceaefamily. Other family members are Alders, Hazels, and Hornbeams. There are around 60 different Birch species that are thriving in the world, out of which, 11 are endangered.

Birch trees usually grow in areas where the climate is temperate or boreal. For instance, the areas in the North of North America are rich in Birch trees. According to Botanical research, Birch trees are composed of 43.9% cellulose, 28.9% hemicelluloses, 20.2% lignin, and 3.8% for extractives. Birch is regarded as a pioneer species because it quickly populates the areas wrecked by fire. Therefore, it is an important contributor to our ecosystem.

Is a Birch Tree Safe for Dogs?

Grove of birch trees in fall foliage

There are mixed views regarding the toxicity of Birch Trees. Some people don’t consider it toxic because it’s not lethal. However, if consumed in a larger quantity, it can induce toxicity in dogs. Birch will most likely not kill your dog but can impose serious unhealthy conditions. Let’s have a deeper look into the reasons behind Birch poisoning in dogs.

Why is a Birch Tree Toxic to Dogs?

The barks of Birch trees naturally contain a substance called Xylitol. This substance is dangerous for canines because it can result in kidney failure. If your dog has swallowed Xylitol, you will observe symptoms, like loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. According to Wismer, consuming 75-100 mg (of Xylitol)/kg (of dog’s weight) is noxious.

The researchers at Michigan State University (College of Veterinary Medicine) discovered that Birch Oil contains Methyl Salicylate in high concentrations. If a dog is exposed to concentrated birch oil, it can suffer from severe conditions, like gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney failure, seizures, and even death.

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