domestic cherry, ground cherry, wild cherry, Prunus, Choke cherry, Black cherry, cherry laurel
Toxicity to pets
Cherry trees and shrubs (Prunus sp) including the Choke cherry, Black cherry and cherry laurel contain cyanogenic glycosides. All parts of these plants other than the ripe pulp around the seeds are considered toxic and contain cyanide. The main concern are the pits (seeds). If the pit is chewed and crushed, cyanide may be released. Cherries purchased for human consumption typically contain a lower amount of cyanide in the pits than cherries found in the wild. Cyanide inhibits cytochrome oxidase, an enzyme necessary for cellular oxygen transport, preventing appropriate oxygen uptake by cells. When ingested in toxic amounts, clinical signs of dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, inadequate oxygen levels, bright red gums, shock, and death can be seen. If a pet ingests the whole pit without chewing and breaking it open, poisoning is not expected. Stomach upset and a potential for a gastrointestinal foreign body may be present depending on the size of pet and number of whole pits ingested.
The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.