Warning: Spring flowers spell danger for your pets

It’s spring… finally! Warm days ahead have me excited about getting outside and seeing friends again outdoors. My favorite blooms are just starting to bud, but so are my concerns about the spring flowers that spell danger for my pets.

For me, having fresh flowers in the house is one of the best ways to bring the feeling of the season indoors.

But, with two cats in the house, I have to make some careful choices about the flowers I bring in, and where I place them.

Some of the most beautiful spring flowers, those that really say “spring is here,” can make cats (and dogs) terribly sick. Some can even kill them.

If you’ve got the same dilemma, here’s some information that will help you choose which flowers to bring into your home this spring.

6 flowers that will poison your pet

Lilies. Even a small bite of this popular Easter flower could cause kidney damage in cats. And it’s not just the flower that’s a danger — the entire plant is poisonous.

If your cat has eaten a piece of lily, you might notice drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Or, there might be no symptoms at all. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on your cats and your plants, and to either keep poisonous flowers out of your home, or position them out of reach (hard to do with cats, who jump and climb).

Lilies are less harmful to dogs, but they can irritate their mouths and stomachs, especially calla lilies.

Tulips. For me, yellow tulips are a source of great joy. I’d love to have them right in the middle of my kitchen table. But I’ve had to enjoy them in a vase on my stove, or in my bedroom, where cats are not allowed.

Any part of the tulip can irritate your pet’s mouth and throat, but it’s the bulbs that are the most toxic. If your pet eats a few, they may have trouble breathing, start drooling, or even have convulsions.

Begonia. The leaves and blossoms of this popular and hardy indoor house plant are poisonous to your animals. But it’s the roots that will cause kidney problems. So, if you keep begonias in the house, place them where your curious pet won’t be able to knock the pot over and get into the soil.

Begonia leaves and flowers can irritate the inside of your dog or cat’s mouth and cause vomiting, drooling, and trouble swallowing.

Azaleas. These gorgeous flowers are some of the first to show up in spring. Their candy-like blossoms of purple, pink, red, orange, yellow or white are quite attractive to young children, who can also be poisoned if they decide to try a taste.

If your pet has eaten part of an azalea plant (also known as a rhododendron), you may see excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and difficulty walking. If left untreated, ingesting this plant will cause seizures and coma.

Iris. Both dogs and cats will show symptoms if they’ve eaten part of an iris plant, but the consequences can be especially dangerous for dogs.

Cats will experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain, along with mouth ulcers and skin irritation. Dogs will exhibit all these symptoms, along with lethargy and depression, stomach ulcers, eye irritation, and burn-like sores on the lips and muzzle.

Daffodil. This popular spring flower contains a poisonous alkaloid that can trigger vomiting. But daffodil bulbs are even more toxic and can cause abnormal heart rhythms and breathing problems in both cats and dogs.

What to do if you suspect your pets poisoned

If you think your pet may have eaten part of one of these plants, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms yet, it’s crucial that you get them medical attention right away.

If you can’t get them to a veterinarian right away (many communities have 24-hour emergency vet services), call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

If you do go to a vet, be prepared to describe any symptoms your pet is having. Bring along a picture or sample of the plant they may have eaten. Different plant-based poisons require different treatments. Some have antidotes, while others can only be treated by inducing vomiting or by stomach pumping.

Having a pet is just like having a young child in your home. If you take precautions and make wise choices about how you enjoy those spring flowers, you can keep your furry “child” safe andrevel in those beautiful springtime blossoms.


Houseplants that are poisonous to pets pets.webmd.com

Are azaleas poisonous? Plant Addicts

Spring plants poisonous to dogs Blue Cross for Pets

Animal poison control ASPCA

Iris poisoning in cats wagwalking.com

Symptoms of iris poisoning in dogs wagwalking.com

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.