Keep These Spring Plants Away from Pets

April 12, 2023


It’s officially spring! If you’re anything like us, you’re eager to trade in your snow shovel for a garden shovel. But pet parents should note that while gardens and yards are great spots for relaxation on a spring day, many of our favorite spring flowers and plants may be toxic to our cat and dog companions. This year, whether you’re getting ready to plant your garden or you’re just looking to add a little bit of green to your home, be wary of these popular but poisonous plants.

Steer clear of lilies and oleanderLilies may look pretty, but they are considered especially toxic to cats. Even ingestions of very small amounts can cause severe kidney damage in our furry friends. Oleander can cause serious health problems including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, low body temperature and even death.

Be careful with tulips. These popular spring bulb plants add beauty to our gardens but can cause stomach problems when ingested by our pets. If the bulb was ingested, it may be harder for your pet to digest and may cause an obstruction.

Watch out for daffodils.  Like tulips, daffodils are another popular spring bulb plant that may cause some problems for pets. Ingestion of the plant or flower can lead to stomach upset and lethargy. Ingestion of daffodil bulbs may be more concerning.  While vomiting, diarrhea and obstruction can occur, there may also be risk for wobbliness and low blood pressure.

Be alert with fertilizer Unfortunately, fertilizers commonly contain ingredients that dogs find tasty. Ingestion of this common garden product may lead to stomach upset, an increase in thirst and less commonly, lethargy, tremors or weakness in the back legs.

Pass on the cocoa mulch. Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch attracts dogs with its sweet smell—and like chocolate, it can cause problems for our canine friends. Depending on the amount, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs from vomiting and diarrhea to muscle tremors, elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. Consider using a less-toxic alternative such as shredded pine or cedar bark.

If your pet likes to stop and smell the flowers, it’s important to not leave him or her unsupervised where these plants may be present. Want more information or have greenery in your home or garden that you’re not sure is toxic? Visit our full list of toxic and non-toxic plants.  

If you suspect your pet may have ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.