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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

How to Enjoy the Spring and Avoid a Pet Poisoning

A dog digging in the yard

Spring is just around the corner! You and your pet may be heartily anticipating longer days, but more outside time can increase exposure to potential threats. This begs the question: is your backyard free of hazards

Beyond potentially poisonous chemicals like bait, fertilizers or pesticides, the plants about to pop through top soil could result in a pet poisoning. To create an environment that ensures their well-being (and all but guarantees spring pet safety), we must establish a proactive approach to dangerous springtime plants.

Sweet Smells

Spring acts like a soothing balm after a long, cold, grey winter. It’s always tempting to bring home bouquets of cut flowers or potted plants, but if your home is shared by curious cats and dogs, this could spell danger.

What to Know and Expect

The severity of pet poisoning symptoms has many variables. Some animals, depending on their exposure and their overall size, may only experience mild symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea or skin irritation. On the other hand, smaller pets and those that consume a great deal of toxic plant matter can have severe symptoms, including organ failure and death.

Heads Up

Whether you know or simply suspect your pet ate something they shouldn’t have, please seek emergency veterinary help as soon as possible. Rarely, signs of a pet poisoning resolve themselves. If you do know what they ate, be sure to save a sample or take a photo with your phone in case it is needed by veterinary staff. 

There are many symptoms that owners can look out for when it comes to a pet poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Seizures
  • Irritation on the lips, gums, and tongue

A Pet’s View

Since animals rely on their sense of smell to navigate the world around them, we have to do the work for them. Leaving them to discern whether or not to sample a toxic plant is not a strategy for a pet’s health and safety.

Please scan your pet’s outdoor environment for toxic plants. You might not be aware that previous owners or tenants planted various types of bulbs in garden or landscape beds. To prevent the dangerous effects of a pet poisoning, please be extra wary of your pet’s proximity to the following:

  • Lilies (especially important for cats to avoid)
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Crocus
  • Hyacinths
  • Lily of the valley
  • Azalea
  • Rhododendrons
  • Iris
  • Oleander
  • Sago palm

Preventing a Pet Poisoning

If you cannot bring your pet to an emergency veterinarian, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline or the Pet Poison Helpline for immediate help.

To prevent pet poisoning this spring (and throughout the entire year), please review this comprehensive list of plants toxic to dogs and this list of dangerous plants for cats. To err on the side of caution, do not allow your pet to even smell toxic plants, as the pollen inhaled or licked can cause ill health.

If our staff can assist you with any questions or concerns, please contact the Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic