Yellow daffodils in bloom.

This time of year is all about the blooms, from fresh cut bouquets to early spring flowers like tulips, hyacinths, and crocus. While we enjoy the beauty and delicious scent of fresh flowers, some of these plants are poisonous to our pet companions. The good news is that most plants are nontoxic, but it is important to know which ones to avoid.

The team at The Pets Place Animal Hospital is here to make you aware of these flowers that are toxic to pets and some pet friendly blooms, too.

10 Toxic Flowers That Harm Pets

If you are a green thumb or just enjoy the beauty and elegance of a flower arrangement, we understand the desire to have plants around the home. Spring is all about the blooming season. To help protect your cat and dog, though, steer clear of these dangerous plants.

  1. Azalea—These popular blooming shrubs add a pop of pink color each spring and summer, but they are also poisonous. These plants contain grayanotoxins that affect the skeletal system and heart muscles. Even a tiny bite of azalea can cause serious symptoms in pets. Vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling are some of the early clinical signs with the possibility of coma. Immediate treatment is required.
  2. Autumn crocus—Among the Liliaceae family are crocuses, the winter variety of crocus will cause gastrointestinal upset, but the one to really watch for is the autumn blooming variety. The autumn crocus causes severe symptoms in pets, such as vomiting, internal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure.
  3. Daffodils—These flowers contain an alkaloid that causes vomiting. Ingestion of any part of the plant, including the bulb, can cause repetitive vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Depending on how much your pet ate, respiratory distress or arrhythmias can develop. 
  4. Kalanchoe—This decorative flowering plant is often seen in households and offices. Flowers can be red, yellow, or pink and all parts of the plant are toxic. Heart rhythm and rate are often affected when a pet ingests this plant, as well as electrolyte imbalance, vomiting, tremors, and seizures. 
  5. Oleander—This is another popular plant in the warmer climates of the south and southwest, including in our region. This highly toxic bush is used as natural walls and walkways, but the flowers and leaves are extremely poisonous to pets. After ingestion, signs of toxicity include vomiting, abdominal pain, and dangerously low heart rate.
  6. Cyclamen—This is another plant sold at grocery stores and garden shops that is quite popular in the spring and summer. Cyclamen is also called Persian pink and contains saponins, which are irritating to the throat and digestive tract. Signs of toxicity include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If a pet ingests a larger quantity it can result in cardiac issues, seizure, and collapse.
  7. Lilies—Lilies are one of the most beloved choices in flower arrangements and for good reason, they are beautiful and long lasting. Most varieties of lilies are toxic, but Tiger, Easter, Day, and Asiatic lilies are often fatal when cats ingest them. Even a few petals can cause severe symptoms that lead to kidney failure.
  8. Tulips and Hyacinths—These plants contain alkaloids and lactones, with the bulbs being the most toxic part of the plant. Chewing on the bulb can cause drooling, throat and mouth irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Since dogs love to dig things up, avoid these noxious plants.

Some Pet Friendly Blooms for Spring

Now that you know what to avoid when it comes to flowers that are toxic to pets, here is a list of some safer options for your home and garden.

  • Gerber daisies
  • Sunflowers
  • Orchids
  • Snapdragons
  • Freesia
  • Statice
  • Wallflower
  • Madagascar jasmine
  • Rose (thorns can be problematic, though)
  • Limonium

Questions About Flowers that Are Toxic to Pets

There are lots of reasons to plant flowers this spring, or spruce up the home with a seasonal bouquet. Just be sure that you are choosing plants that are safe for your fur friends. If you have questions about flowers (and plants) that are toxic to pets, please call us!