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Poisonous spring plants for pets

Don’t let your dog or cat investigate the spring flowers popping up in your garden

The spring flowers are poking out of the ground, you’ve been cooped up all winter, and you can’t wait to inspect them. Just don’t take your cat or dog out to the garden with you.

Dr. Tina Wismer is the medical director for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. She says their phones are busy this time of year.

"During spring, the calls that we get about animals, especially dogs and cats getting into the bulb plants skyrockets," she says. "So tulips, daffodils, hyacinths. We have them outside, we cut them, we bring them in, and the dogs and cats decide to munch on them."

Wismer says your pet might have stomach upset, but fortunately the parts above the ground are not as dangerous as the bulb itself. If they chew on that, it can cause bloody vomiting and low blood pressure. That’s because the compounds found in the leaves and flowers are more concentrated in the bulbs. Many plants in the lily family – especially Easter lilies – are deadly for cats.

Wismer says this doesn’t mean you can’t have spring flowers if you have pets.

"If you’re able to keep all the pretty flowers in the front yard and keep your pets in the back yard, that certainly is the easiest thing. Otherwise, perhaps blocking off that area from the new puppy. Your older dog may not care about the flowers but the new puppy certainly may want to snack on them," says Wismer. "Things like chicken wire, even things like baby gates just to keep that area off limits can be very helpful."

If you suspect somebody’s been chewing on your flowers and is showing signs of illness, call your vet or a pet poison hotline right away. With treatment from the veterinarian, most animals will recover.

Ten spring plants that are poisonous for pets

Tips for keeping your pets safe around these plants

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