Spring Bulbs and Your Pets

Spring Bulbs and Your Pets

Spring flowering bulbs are a seasonal highlight that capture the excitement, colour and beauty of spring. These plants come in all shapes and sizes and are commonly planted in gardens throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Whilst these plants can dazzle us with their beautiful blooms, almost all plants that arise from bulbs or corms have the potential to be poisonous if ingested by pets. These include well known species such as the tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, lilies and other lesser known plants such as the crocus, iris, bluebells, amaryllis, gladiola and allium.

The most dangerous part of these plants are the underground bulbs which contain higher concentrations of the toxin. Cats and dogs that ingest the leaves, stems or flowers generally only develop very mild signs of poisoning unless large quantities are ingested. However, if your pet chews on or eats a bulb, signs could be much more severe. This is especially true of daffodils which have the potential to cause an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure and seizures. For cat owners, special mention must be made of lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis varieties. All parts of these plants, even the pollen, are highly poisonous to cats. Exposure to even the water in a vase of cut lilies can potentially result in kidney failure.

Unless you have a very inquisitive pet, we do not think it is necessary to remove all bulb plants from your garden or home, however do be mindful of the following:

✅ Create a fence or barrier to prevent access to dogs who may dig up the bulbs.

✅ Avoid using organic fertilisers around spring bulbs – dogs will dig up the fertiliser and will often find the bulbs and eat them.

✅ Do not allow pets to drink water from vases that have contained these plants.

✅ It is safest to never have Lilium or Hemerocallis lilies in a home with cats.

If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline provides free advice to pet owners in Australia and New Zealand, and can be reached on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ).