Toxic plants

Is Dock or Sorrel Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Dock or Sorrel Toxic To Cats? 

Dock, sometimes known as sorrel or bitter dock, is a perennial plant that has been shown to contain calcium oxalates, which are toxic to cats. These calcium oxalates damage the kidneys and cause crystals to develop in the urine tract. While most dock poisonings do not result in death, a severe reaction might result in death in as little as 10 hours. 

Dock leaves are usually consumed by humans and are usually used in vegetable dishes or in salads. However, these leaves are not safe for cats and when ingested, they may cause oral irritation, salivation, and vomiting among other clinical symptoms.

What Is Dock or Sorrel?

Cat sits near Sorrel

Dock plant, formally known as rumex species, is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant that grows from 16 to 59 inches tall. Huge oval leaves with cordate bases and rounded ends, as well as scarlet stems on some of the lower leaves, make it easy to identify. The dock plant’s leaves can grow to be 12 inches long and 6 inches wide, and its taproot is massive, with many branches reaching deep into the earth and robust, crimson stems that are unbranched until just before the blooms.

Clinical Signs of Dock or Sorrel Poisoning in Cats


Sorrel and catsIf your cat consumed too much dock plant, unfavorable symptoms will start to appear two to six hours after ingestion. Skin contact with the leaf juices might cause inflammation to your cat’s skin. The other warning signs of dock plant poisoning to look out for are:

  • Excessive drooling 
  • Skin irritation
  • Vomiting
  • Irritation of the mouth
  • Depression 
  • Dyspnea or difficulty in breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Weak pulse
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Tremors 
  • Coma

First Aid and Treatment of Dock or Sorrel Poisoning in Cats

Sorrel and a cat nearby

A calcium-rich fluid, such as dilute calcium lactate or dilute calcium hydroxide can aid the cat’s body combat the effects of oxalates. Although the cat may be coaxed to drink the solution, the liquid will most likely have to be administered intravenously.

All of your cat’s symptoms will be discussed with the veterinarian. Intravenous fluid therapy, activated charcoal administration, and gastric lavage may be used to treat dock or sorrel plant toxicity. If your cat’s skin is irritated, the vet may prescribe a topical medicine. Other drugs may be prescribed by the veterinarian if he believes they are important for your cat’s recovery.

Recovery from Dock or Sorrel Poisoning in Cats

Severe cases of dock plant poisoning are rare because a large quantity of the plant must be ingested to reach extreme toxicity. The greatest prognosis comes from prompt treatment, so do not be complacent and bring your cat to the vet if you think that he or she has been poisoned.

Prevention of Dock or Sorrel Poisoning in Cats

Keeping the dock or sorrel plants out of your garden may be the safest alternative. Avoid leaving your salads unattended to prevent your cats from accidentally nibbling on them.  Keeping your cats indoors can help protect them from these plants in other people’s vegetable and herb gardens. 

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

Read Our Recent Posts
And Learn More
Read All