Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle


Alternate names


Toxicity to pets

The leaves and stems of this plant are covered in fine, tiny hairs. Some of these hairs, called trisomes, have the ability to break their tips when handled. These tips or needles inject histamine into tissue when animals (or humans) rub up against the plant. This causes erythema (redness), swelling, and intense itching. When ingested, stinging nettle can result in profuse salivation, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, labored breathing, muscle fasciculations (twitching) and ataxia.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Erythema (redness)
  • Swelling
  • Intense itching
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Labored breathing
  • Muscle fasciculations (twitching)
  • Incoordination (ataxia)

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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.