Be Berry, Berry Careful

Dog - Be careful with berries

As Warren and I were taking a break from clearing brush on the property, we stopped and looked at the bright red berries all over this vine or bush or whatever it was.  It was hard to tell because the greenery was so dense. The berries were so vibrant and eye-catching.  It was very pretty, but what is this plant or vine or bush or tree that had such bright berries?

After a plea on Facebook, followed by a Google search, this plant is called Lonicera tatarica or more commonly known as Tatarian Honeysuckle or Bush Honeysuckle.   This plant is noxious. How does it spread everywhere?  Birds.  Birds will only eat the berries if there is nothing else to eat.  It’s as if they know something.  The birds cannot digest the berry, so it is pooped out and viola, another bush is born.  This makes sense because you will often find these bushes wrapped around trees which is exactly where we found ours.

Pleased with myself for finding out what this bush was called, my curiosity ceased, I reported on my Facebook post that the answer has been found.  People were excused to return to their usual daily tasks. I was onto my next search of chicken coop building plans. My awesome, smart, and fiercely independent friend, Sandy, saw my Facebook post and asked if the plant was toxic to dogs?  Uhmmmmm. . . I have no idea.  I didn’t even THINK of that! I found it nowhere near my dog’s areas so it didn’t even cross my mind.   Another quick search finds that YES, indeed this bush IS toxic to dogs.  Just like the birds, the berry’s sweet smell attracts dogs but after ingesting, dogs can exhibit symptoms such as:

Discomfort and Loss Of Appetite


Diarrhea and vomiting

Irregular heartbeat

Stomach rupture



Please excuse me for a moment while I get my choppers and chop this b*tch is coming down! Nobody messes with my babies! NOBODY!

Cutting Down Berries
Pig Eats Everything

As if this bush needs one more reason to go, it is also extremely invasive and down-right nasty to other plants and the forest floor. It will choke out other plants if given half a chance.

Berry Bush tied to Apple Tree
This one is attached to the apple tree. It will eventually cover the entire tree killing it.

Bees do love this bush, but there are so many other things we can plant that are friendly to dogs, other plants, birds and bees.  Be on the lookout for this awful bush.  It never hurts to do an inventory of your yard followed by a quick search to find out if your plants and foliage are safe or harmful for your dog. Take this opportunity as Fall arrives to rip out anything toxic or dangerous. Spend the winter planning other vegetation to plant that will be beautiful and healthy for all. Get planting in the Spring and rest easy.


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