A Pet-Friendly Guide to Spring Flowers
Nothing says spring like landscaping crews and kitchen tables adorned with freshly cut flowers. Unfortunately, like many springtime quirks, those beautiful bouquets can prove fatal to your furry friends. If you want to have flowers in your home or garden, be sure to avoid the following blooms.
- Lilies – All types of lilies are extremely toxic to all pets, and they can be deadly when consumed by cats. All parts of the plant, including the pollen, flower, and leaves, are poisonous. If you own a cat or dog, do not bring lilies into your home. Even rogue pollen can cause a bad reaction.
- Oleander – This outdoor shrub is popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate springtime flowers. However, the leaves and flowers are extremely toxic. If ingested, they can cause severe vomiting, a slow heart rate, and in the worst cases, death.
- Daffodils – One of the most popular springtime flowers, the daffodil contains lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties. This means ingesting the bulb, plant, or flower can cause extreme vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression.
- Tulips – These flowers contain allergenic lactones. Much of the toxins are located in the bulbs themselves, so do what you can to ensure Fido isn’t digging up flowers in the garden. If the bulbs are chewed or ingested, they can cause vomiting, drooling, and diarrhea.
- Dieffenbachia – This flower is popular in many homes and offices, but when ingested, it can cause oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
While you can control the plants you keep in your home, you can’t control what your neighbor plants in his yard. Popular lawn flowers, such as azaleas, sago palms, and rhododendrons, are extremely toxic to animals. When you have a spare moment, familiarize yourself with these plants so you can identify them on walks. Additionally, beware of herbicides and insecticides, as well as fresh mulch, which can contain chemicals and toxic levels of caffeine. Put simply, if Fido is chewing on something on your walk, get it out of his mouth ASAP.
This is especially important for pet parents who like to travel with their cats and dogs. While you may be aware of local dangers, bringing Fido into new terrain can pose an additional risk. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside at your vacation destination, brush up on the local flora and identify plants and flowers that could pose a risk.
What to Do in an Emergency
If you think your pet has ingested any of the above plants or garden supplies, make an appointment with a veterinarian immediately. If possible, take Fido or Fluffy to the emergency veterinarian. While your pet may act normally immediately after ingestion, their health can change very quickly once the toxins set in. That said, it can sometimes take days for symptoms to set in, and in most cases, this indicates an irreversible health issue. The only way to ensure you’re in the clear is to get a blood test as soon as possible.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any poisonous plant, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. Their website is an easy and free way to assess the danger of exposure and if there’s anything you can do to mitigate symptoms on your trip to the veterinarian.