Dilly is our ninth CCI puppy, but only the second to decide the “Butterball” hibiscus blossoms that drop from our tree onto our patio are scrumptious. Several weeks ago he began pouncing upon them and snatching them up. Left to his own devices, he chews, savors, and swallows them. He doesn’t care if they are dried and brown…
or fresh and golden.
The tree is bursting with blossoms now, but it usually has some blooms all year. If you must decide one of the flowers in our backyard is a delicacy, the hibiscus is a good choice.
When we went through this with Kyndall 5 years ago, we initially felt alarmed. Certain plants can kill dogs, including a couple growing on our property such as oleander (permanently) and poinsettias (often during the Christmas season). No dog has ever shown any interest in them, however. When Kyndall’s hibiscus hankerings became evident, we turned to the Internet and (surprise!) found conflicting information. But a common assertion is that “hardy” hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) is indeed poisonous, while the “tropical” varieties do no harm. And happily our Butterball was a tropical variety, a rosa sinensis.
We made a half-hearted effort to stop Kyndall from eating them, but she managed to gulp down a fair number, and they never seemed to make her throw up. In contrast, Dilly’s digestive system has been more fragile, so we watch him like a hawk and almost never let him off the leash, even in the fenced back yard. When he gets something in his mouth, we pry it open and extract it.
The latest development is his learning that IF he can pounce upon one of the blooms on those rare occasions when he’s outside off-leash, he can dash away from us, and we will chase him!!! This makes for a game that is both hilarious (from a puppy perspective) and rewarding; it usually buys him enough time to gulp the forbidden flower.
Here’s a glimpse of the merriment: