As you head into the garden to plant bulbs or clip fresh flowers, it’s important to keep in mind that some plants and fertilizers can be toxic to your pet in the springtime. We’ve asked Dr. Justine Lee, the associate director of Pet Poison Helpline, to share some details on potentially poisonous plants to dogs and cats and what to do if your pet ingests one of them.
Poisonous Plants for Dogs
The first plants poisonous to dogs aren't even ones you might expect. Spring flowers with bulbs, like tulips, daffodils, Narcissus, and hyacinths, can be particularly dangerous to dogs, especially the skin at the bottom of the bulb, Lee said. Whether they dig them up from a garden or snack on some bulbs waiting to be planted, ingesting these flowers in large amounts can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. More severe symptoms as a result of larger ingestions can include increased heart and respiratory rate, foreign body obstructions, and, in rare cases, cardiac arrhythmias.
Dogs are more likely to dig up bulbs planted in organic fertilizers, which are more dangerous than other fertilizers, Lee said. While they’re a great natural source of nitrogen and utilize unused animal products, they’re often made of bone, blood or feather meal — an appetizing combination of aromas to a dog that will often eat the fertilizer along with the poisonous bulbs. Organic fertilizers on their own are not life threatening, Lee said, but if ingested in large quantities they can obstruct a dog’s stomach and cause target="_blank"vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
Poisonous Plants for Cats
You may have heard that you need to watch out for lilies around your cat, and if you haven’t already, now’s the time to start being cautious. While there are some benign species of lily that are safe for cats, many of the very common varieties for spring, including tiger, day, Easter, stargazer, red, and wood lilies are highly toxic to cats.