Poisonous hemlock plant causes dog deaths in Ireland

The notorious Hemlock plant is linked to a dog’s death, allegedly due to prior exposure, in Lough Neagh at County Antrim.

Pet owners are warned as several more canines in Northern Ireland added to the death toll.

The seemingly harmless culprit contains a toxic property known as alkaloids that target a dog’s nervous system.

This organic poison causes breathing difficulties, paralysis, and death in animals, even humans.

hemlock plant poisoning in dogs

The Hemlock Water Dropwort, or the plant’s roots, is known as the most poisonous part.

And with the damp soil condition in North Ireland, the widespread growth of Hemlock plants causes a threat to pet owners.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency conducted a site inspection on May 23 and found “a large amount of toxic but fairly common Hemlock Water Dropwort.

Warning signages have been put up in the area to warn the residents nearby as Hemlocks are “perhaps the most poisonous indigenous plant.”

Due to the UK and Northern Ireland climate, Hemlock plants grow abundantly and reach up to 10 feet tall.

The poisonous plant has small white flowers and a hairless stem with purple patches.

With a similar appearance to edible crops like Cow’s Parsley, the Hemlock plant growing in vegetation areas is becoming a major concern for some residents.

In the US, Dan Shaver of Indiana’s Natural Resources Conservation Service said that Hemlock plants “hit this exponential rate of spread.” 

“Poison hemlock was nowhere, and all of a sudden, it was everywhere,” he added.

This poisonous plant dies after about 2 years but scatters seeds throughout autumn and winter and can be found in nearly every state in the US.


Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.