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Can Dogs Eat Clover? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Bynewsmagzines

Jun 12, 2023
clover on the ground


Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs often get into things that aren’t good for them, including toxic plants that grow in your yard. Clover is found in many parts of the world, but is it safe for dogs? Yes, clover is safe for dogs in small quantities.

Find out more about the safety of clover for dogs and how to keep your dog safe.

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What Is Clover?

Clover is a broad genus that covers about 300 annual and perennial plant species in the pea family.1 Different types of clover can be found all over the world and may be used as a cover crop or for livestock feed.

These plants are generally short-lived and feature both leaves and flowers that come in vibrant colors. They may have small fruits as well. These plants are often found in lawn grass mixtures, which means dogs come in contact with clover often in their backyards.

hand holding a misted clover
Image Credit: Harris Vo, Unsplash

Is Clover Toxic to Dogs?

There are many plants that are toxic to dogs, but fortunately, clover is not one of them. If your dog eats a little clover, it’s not likely to cause a problem. These plants are bitter, so most dogs aren’t going to eat large quantities that can cause illness.

That said, if your dog likes to eat grass and gets a lot of clover in the mix, it can cause digestive upset and other problems, especially if it’s ingested over a long period. Clover varieties have different chemicals that can be harmful in large quantities.

For example, white clover has traces of cyanide. Red clover has a naturally occurring estrogen. In addition, clover may attract fungi that can be toxic to dogs, such as slaframine.2 This is known as black patch disease in clover. Though rare, when dogs ingest too much, they can show signs like increased salivation, tearing eyes, excess urination, and diarrhea.

You should also be mindful of your dog eating clover, grass, or other plants if they’ve been treated with weed killer. While this isn’t specific to clover, many weed killers contain herbicides that can cause health problems in dogs.

close up clover leaves in the park
Image Credit: kiki Wang, Unsplash

Frequently Asked Questions About Clover

Is Clover Safe for Pets Overall?

Clover is generally safe if your dog ingests it, but that’s not true for some other domesticated animals. Clover can harbor fungi that can be dangerous for cattle, horses, goats, and other grazing animals.

I Want to Kill the Clover in My Yard. What Can I Use That Is Safe for Dogs?

Organic weed killer that doesn’t contain herbicides is generally safe for dogs, but it’s best to avoid your dog eating grass or plants that have been treated. Another option is to spray weeds with a mixture of vinegar, water, and dish soap. Always check the label and follow instructions carefully as this will show you if the product is safe for pets.

Is Clover a Good Ground Cover for Dog Urine?

Clover is a good option for ground cover, but it may not be the best for dog urine. Fescue is an ideal variety to absorb urine and stand up to the abuse of dogs playing and running. It’s also easy to care for and requires little nutrients and attention to thrive.

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Conclusion

If your dog samples some of your lawn and gets some clover, it’s not a cause for alarm. Most clover is fine for dogs in small quantities, though you should avoid your dog eating large quantities over long periods. If you have any concerns or notice signs like digestive upset, vomiting, or digestive upset, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.


Featured Image Credit: sq lim, Unsplash

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