You are currently viewing Are Portulacas Poisonous to Dogs? – Portulaca Toxicity

Are Portulacas Poisonous to Dogs? – Portulaca Toxicity

Many dog owners enjoy planting portulacas, also known as moss roses, in their gardens and yards for their colorful, tropical-looking flowers. However, some people wonder if portulacas are poisonous to dogs that may nibble on or ingest parts of the plant.

The main question is: are portulacas poisonous to dogs? While portulacas are not toxic to dogs, they can potentially cause minor digestive upset if dogs eat the flowers or leaves. It’s a good idea to discourage dogs from chewing on or eating large amounts of any ornamental plant. Overall, portulacas are considered non-toxic for dogs, but it’s still smart to keep a close eye on your pet when outside among your garden plants.

What are Portulacas?

Portulaca, also referred to as Purslane is a genus of succulent plants containing over 100 different varieties. Some common types include:

  • Portulaca grandiflora (Moss Rose)
  • Portulaca umbraticola (Wingpod Purslane)
  • Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane)
  • Portulaca molokiniensis (Molokini Purslane)

These low-growing plants produce colorful, delicate flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white. They thrive in warm, sunny climates.

In addition to ornamental gardens, some portulaca varieties are grown as edible greens and groundcovers. The succulent-like leaves have a tart, acidic flavor.

While Portulacas add vivid color to gardens, they do pose mild toxicity risks to dogs who ingest parts of the plant.

Are Portulacas Poisonous to Dogs?

Portulacas contain certain naturally occurring compounds that can cause toxicity if large quantities are eaten, especially the leaves and stems. Two main culprits are:

Oxalic Acid

All parts of portulacas contain oxalic acid crystals. When ingested, these needle-like crystals can irritate the mouth, tongue, throat, and stomach. In high doses, oxalates can also cause kidney damage.

Many other common garden plants contain oxalates as well, including rhododendrons, rhubarb leaves, and lilies.


Purslane also contains alkaloids like dopamine and noradrenaline. While these compounds don’t normally cause issues in small amounts, large doses can overstimulate the nervous system and heart.

For toxicity to occur, dogs need to eat significant quantities of the plant. Just nibbling a few leaves or flowers is rarely an issue. But consuming a large amount can introduce enough oxalates and alkaloids to cause a reaction.

Signs of Portulaca Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog did ingest a substantial portion of portulaca plant parts, watch for the following symptoms of possible toxicity:

Mild Signs

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Lip licking
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Moderate Signs

  • Excessive salivation
  • Puncture wounds in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in vomit/stool

Severe Signs

  • Irregular or racing heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Changes in urine output
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Collapse/unconsciousness

If you notice any moderate to severe symptoms, contact your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately. Rapid treatment is critical for any poisoning.

Mild cases of gastrointestinal upset often resolve on their own once the toxins pass through the system. But more serious effects require intensive veterinary care.

Diagnosing Portulaca Poisoning

To determine if portulaca is the cause of your dog’s symptoms, the vet will ask about any possible plant exposure. Bring along any remains of the plant your dog was exposed to for identification purposes.

They will also check for clinical signs of oxalate crystals or alkaloid toxicity through a physical exam. Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Complete blood profile – Check for electrolyte imbalances.
  • Biochemical panel – Evaluates kidney and liver function.
  • Urinalysis – Tests for kidney damage and oxalate crystal presence.
  • ECG – Monitors heart rate and rhythm abnormalities.

Once portulaca poisoning is diagnosed, the vet will provide the appropriate supportive treatments to manage the symptoms and detoxify the body. With quick action, most dogs recover fully without lasting effects.

Is Common Purslane Poisonous to Dogs?

Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is one of the more well-known edible salad greens that also pop up in gardens as a weed. But just because it’s occasionally eaten by humans, is common purslane safe for dogs?

Unfortunately, all parts of common purslane still contain oxalates which could be problematic if large amounts are ingested. Any variety of purslane has the potential for toxicity if enough quantity is consumed.

That said, common purslane poisonings tend to be rare since it doesn’t have the tempting flowers or berries that dogs naturally want to eat. It’s more likely to be avoided or only nibbled in small amounts.

But for dogs who do ingest substantial portions, be aware common purslane can still cause adverse effects similar to ornamental portulacas. Monitor your dog closely and call your vet if symptoms develop.

Amount of Portulaca That’s Toxic to Dogs

When it comes to plant toxicity, the dose makes the poison. But how much purslane is dangerous for dogs?

Toxic quantities will depend on the size of the dog and what part of the plant was eaten. As general guidelines:

  • For small dogs: 1-2 ounces of portulaca flowers could cause poisoning. Leaves and stems require larger quantities, closer to 4-8 ounces.
  • For medium dogs: 2-4 ounces of flowers or up to 12 ounces of leaves/stems might be toxic.
  • Large dogs: It would take 8-12 ounces of flowers or over 1 pound of vegetative parts to potentially cause a reaction.

Again, these are general estimates. Even small amounts have the potential to irritate the stomach or intestines in sensitive dogs. And all dogs are individuals in their tolerance.

If your dog eats any part of a portulaca, monitor closely for any symptoms or GI discomfort. Quick action leads to the best outcome if major toxicity does develop.

Treating Dogs Poisoned by Portulaca

If your dog displays concerning symptoms after eating portulaca, quick veterinary treatment improves prognosis. There is no specific antidote for purslane poisoning. But vets use supportive care tailored to the severity of the effects.

Mild cases are often managed at home by withholding food for 12-24 hours and encouraging hydration to let the GI tract rest. Stomach medications may relieve nausea and vomiting.

Moderate poisoning requires hospitalization for IV fluid therapy, electrolyte balance, kidney function monitoring, pain control, and other supportive care.

Severe toxicity can involve seizures, cardiac monitoring, kidney dialysis, oxygen support, and even ventilation in critical cases.

With aggressive treatment, dogs usually recover well even with substantial ingestion as the compounds pass through the body and any damage can heal. However lifelong kidney issues are possible if there is major organ damage.

How to Keep Dogs Safe Around Portulacas

While purslane poisoning is fairly uncommon, you can take proactive steps to reduce the risks:

  • Keep potted portulacas out of reach on high shelves or plant them far from play areas.
  • Monitor your dog closely when first exposing them to purslane in your garden for any interest in nibbling the plants.
  • Muzzle dogs when walking near portulaca plantings to prevent snacking.
  • Remove and destroy dropped plant parts before dogs can eat them.
  • Avoid using purslane in compost piles accessible to pets.
  • Know the symptoms of purslane poisoning and act fast if any develop.

With some simple precautions, you can let your dog and portulaca plants safely co-exist in your garden! But do familiarize yourself with their toxicity potential just in case.

Are All Succulents Poisonous to Dogs?

While purslane belongs to the succulent group of plants, not all succulents are toxic to dogs! Here is a quick overview:

Non-Toxic Succulents

  • Burro’s Tail
  • Echeveria
  • Ghost Plant
  • Hen and Chicks
  • Jade Plant
  • Ponytail Palm
  • Sedum

Mildly Toxic Succulents

  • Aloe Vera
  • Panda Plant
  • Snake Plant
  • String of Pearls

Toxic Succulents

  • Euphorbia
  • Kalanchoe
  • Purslane
  • Senecio

Many popular succulent varieties like Burro’s Tail and Jade Plants cause no harm to dogs and can be safely kept as houseplants.

But take care with euphorbia, kalanchoe, purslane, and Senecio species which contain irritating sap or toxins. Make sure to keep those succulents out of paw’s reach.

And always research any new succulent before bringing it home if you have pets. Look for dog-safe options whenever possible. With smart planting choices, succulents and dogs can safely co-exist!


While portulaca adds vivid pops of color to gardens, it does carry some risk of toxicity for dogs who ingest substantial amounts. All parts contain oxalates and alkaloids that can cause adverse reactions affecting the gut, kidneys, heart, and neurological system.

However, severe poisoning is relatively uncommon. Most cases result in minor stomach upset at worst if only small amounts are nibbled. Monitor your dog closely whenever first exposing them to purslane and remove any fallen plant parts from their environment.

With sensible precautions, portulaca can still be incorporated into gardens with pets. However do familiarize yourself with the signs of purslane poisoning and when to seek veterinary treatment. Acting quickly leads to the best outcome if a significant amount is consumed.

In general, portulacas and dogs can interact safely. But be vigilant about keeping fresh plants and dropped plant material out of your pup’s reach. With smart planting and supervision, portulaca poisoning risks stay low while allowing your dog to share in the beauty of your garden!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are portulaca flowers toxic to dogs?

Yes, the showy flowers contain the same oxalates and alkaloids that make the leaves and stems potentially toxic. Just a few flowers could cause mild stomach upset. Larger amounts raise poisoning risks. Keep floral arrangements out of reach!

What part of the purslane plant is most toxic?

The highest concentrations of oxalates and alkaloids are typically in the leaves and stems. The seeds, flowers, and roots contain somewhat less. But all parts are considered potentially toxic to dogs when eaten in quantities.

Is Moss Rose poisonous to dogs?

Yes, Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) contains the toxic compounds that make purslane a risky plant. Ingestion of the flowers or leaves can cause poisoning symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or kidney issues if substantial amounts are consumed.

Are Purslane berries poisonous?

Purslane berries would be considered toxic to dogs as they contain oxalates and alkaloids like the rest of the aboveground plant. Luckily these tiny berries are less tempting to dogs compared to larger, juicier berries that dogs are more likely to eat in concerning amounts.

Leave a Reply