Toxic flowers to sniff out


A quick reminder of some flowers that can be dangerous for pets

Tulips are just one example of toxic flowers for pets. (sunday_morning /

Tulips are just one example of toxic flowers for pets. (sunday_morning /

Plant or flower poisonings can be difficult to prevent because it is often challenging to remember which species are toxic and which ones are harmless. However, ingesting toxic plants can lead to a range of health issues in animals, alternating from mild discomfort to severe complications. Client education on the plants most toxic to pets can help prevent any emergency cases, but if a pet has ingested a toxic plant is crucial to seek immediate medical attention for effective treatment.


Lilies are one of the most common toxic flowers for pets. For dogs, lilies can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) system, but for cats, they can be potentially fatal.1 Renee D. Schmid, DVM, DABT, DABVT, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, said that lilies are “certainly the most common plant call that [veterinarians] receive,” with regards to a client calling into the Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the plants are toxic, including the pollen, including the water if it's a cut bouquet—the water that that plant has been sitting in—the leaves, and stems,” she continued.1

Amanda Takiguchi, DVM, explained in a release from TrustedHousesitters that, “Even eating a small amount of this flower can cause deadly kidney failure in cats. Multiple species of lilies are toxic to cats, so it’s best to avoid lilies altogether.”2

The most dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter, and roselilies.3


Daffodils can be harmful to pets because of the alkaloid, lycorine, it contains which has strong emetic properties. According to Pet Poison Helpline, ingestion of daffodil bulbs, plants, or flowers can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression.3 Daffodils can also potentially cause a skin rash if pets come in contact with the plant, according to the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.4


Tulips can also cause contact allergic dermatitis for pets and the most toxic part of the plant is concentrated in the bulb, rather than the leaves or petals.2,3 Toxicity poisoning from this flower can cause symptoms such as excessive drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, and even cardiac abnormalities.2,3

Overall, it is important to keep any household flowers out of reach for pets while indoors and to closely monitor outside time wherever these flowers, and other toxic plants, grow naturally. If clients suspect their pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, they can call the Pet Poison Helpline and should see a veterinary professional for help sooner rather than later.

“Make sure that anything you leave in reach of your pets is safe, should they get their paws on it, keeping an eye out to spot any abnormal signs that your pet has become unwell, in which case a vet should be consulted immediately,” said Angela Laws, head of community at TrustedHousesitters, travel solution for pet owners.


  1. Yankowicz S. Treating cats poisoned by lilies. dvm360. August 3, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2024.
  2. Bad Romance: Experts warn of 5 deadly Valentine’s Day flowers for pets. News release. TrustedHousesitters. February 12, 2024. Accessed February 19, 2024.
  3. Top 10 plant poisonous to pets. Pet Poison Helpline. Accessed February 19, 2024.
  4. Budd A. These 25+ plants are toxic to pets. University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. August 5, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2024.
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