This is an important reminder as we start to see spring unfolding in our flower beds - daffodils, and many other plants grown from bulbs, are toxic to our pets.
In dogs and cats daffodils can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, wobbliness and, in severe cases, seizures. The most toxic parts of the plant are the bulbs and flowers, but symptoms can be seen even if the animal drinks water from a vase containing the stems.
Other plants growing from bulbs are also toxic so if you’re planting any bulbs this spring it’s best to keep your pets out of the way. Be cautious that dogs do not dig up and consume bulbs – freshly dug soil where bulbs have just been planted can be especially tempting to a fun-loving canine.
Cats can be tempted to play with and nibble cut flowers that are displayed indoors, so be cautious and keep vases out of reach.
Plants growing from bulbs should be kept out of rabbit grazing areas too as they can also cause toxicity to bunnies.
If you know your pet has consumed something it shouldn’t, please don’t wait for signs of ill health, call us for advice straight away. If your pet is already unwell and you think it may have been a toxic plant or similar, please mention this as a concern when calling us for an appointment. In most cases of potential toxicity we will want to see your pet as soon as possible.
We will ask you what has or may have been eaten, how much of it was eaten and how long ago. If you have this information it’s very helpful. In the case of spring bulbs, it’s useful to bring the packet with you to your appointment (if you have it).
We will examine your pet fully and talk to you about any signs of ill health you have noted so far.
Depending on what has been eaten and when, we may want to admit your pet for observations or further treatment. In some cases we can make your pet sick to try and limit how much toxin is absorbed. Inducing vomit is not always appropriate, however. We may need to give treatment like fluids via a drip or medicines to protect the stomach and intestines. In milder cases, following a thorough examination, we may just treat the symptoms, for example give your pet an injection to help reduce feelings of nausea. There is a dedicated helpline for vets treating pets with potential poisoning, run by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service. We may advise you that we need to call this number to seek advice so we can give your pet the best treatment possible.
In all cases, if you’re worried your pet has eaten something and you’re not sure if it’s a problem or not, you can call us for advice. Sometimes it’s good just to check and be told there’s nothing to worry about. In cases where spring bulbs are concerned however, you are right to be worried. Prevention is better than cure, so please remember to keep pets away from daffodils and other spring plants.