Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is coming up soon ― and with it comes a mini bouquet boom.
An estimated 250 million stems are sold on the special day, with the majority of sales going to roses and tulips.
But while the beautiful blooms might improve the health of your relationship, they can be far more detrimental to your pets’ wellbeing, says Dave Leicester, an expert at UK emergency vet company Vets Now.
The company has “issued a warning to pet owners ― after they saw a 60% rise in flower-related cases last February.”
This is because some commonly-gifted flowers, like lilies and tulips, are poisonous to pets. So, we thought we’d share their advice on which blooms to avoid ― and which ones are totally fine for pets.
“Certain types of lilies – those from the Lilium or Hemerocallis species – are very dangerous for cats,” Leicester says.
“They contain highly toxic substances and ingestion of any part of the plant, or even just grooming the pollen from their coat, or drinking water from the vase, can be potentially fatal, causing acute kidney failure. While lilies don’t pose quite as severe a risk to dogs, they are still toxic,” he adds.
“The calla lily, peace lily, lily of the valley, and palm lily, are all deemed dangerous to dogs.”
Yep ― even the harmless-looking tulip can make your pets poorly. “As one of the most popular flowers for Valentine’s Day bouquets, tulips are in the lily family, and are poisonous to both cats and dogs,” he says.
“The bulbs are the most toxic part,” Leicester adds, “but any part of the plant can be harmful to your cat, so all tulips should be kept well away.”
“These springtime flowers can appear early in the season if the winter has been mild,” Leicester explains.
“The yellow flowers contain a poisonous alkaloid that triggers vomiting while crystals in the bulbs are severely toxic and can cause serious conditions such as cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression. These signs can be seen between 15 minutes and one day following ingestion.”
4) Chrysanthemums and dasies
These can be less toxic ― but you should still keep them high out of the reach of pets, Leicester warns.
“Although only mildly toxic, chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins, which are used in dog flea and tick medications, and are particularly poisonous to cats. If your cat has eaten chrysanthemums look out for vomiting, diarrhoea and lack of appetite and seek advice from your vet.”
“Belonging to the liliaceae family, the highest concentration of poison in hyacinths is in the bulbs, making them harmful to both cats and dogs,” Leicester says.
“Ingesting a hyacinth bulb can lead to drooling, vomiting, or diarrhoea, depending on the number consumed.”
So, which flowers are safe for dogs?
Roses, lavender, sunflower, and orchids are among the pet-safe favourite flowers, Leicester says.
But “even for these non-toxic plants though, too much of a good thing can still cause stomach upset.”
“We’d urge pet owners to be vigilant and extra cautious during times when you are likely to have more flowers on display at home than usual,” Leicester says.
“Pets can be notoriously curious, so be sure to keep vases of bouquets and potted indoor plants well out of reach if you do have cats and dogs in your home.”
Contact a vet if you’re unsure about your dog’s health following a flower feast ― and remember to keep your romance pet-safe this Valentine’s Day.