Animal experts list common flowers that are dangerous to pets and share advice on safe alternatives
Vets across the UK are warning pet owners of the potential dangers around Valentine’s Day, when they experience emergency visits due to poisoning.
Valentine’s Day is a time for spreading love – but among the flowers, chocolates, and thoughtful gifts lie dangerous hazards.
With 62% of Brits having a pet, the threat across the country is huge. From toxic treats to deadly bouquets, pet experts at Trusted Housesitters have spoken to vets to determine the biggest risks our furry (and feathered!) friends face.
To keep pets safe, here are six things all pet owners should avoid on Valentine’s.
They may be stunning to look at, but lilies are a definite no-no for anyone with a pet. Certified vet Amanda Takiguchi DVM, explains:
“A common flower that veterinarians warn cat owners against is lilies. 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. Owners need to be especially cautious around Easter when these flowers are more popular.
“While similar in name, Lily of the Valley flowers do not cause acute kidney failure like true lily species. Regardless, Lily of the Valley flowers are highly toxic to both dogs and cats. If ingested, this flower can cause seizures and dangerous abnormalities in heart rate and rhythm.”
Chocolate is perhaps the best-known hazard to pets but remains one of the most common issues faced by vets. All forms of chocolate are toxic to pets, including dogs, cats, birds and rabbits. Chocolate contains an alkaloid, theobromine, that your pets can’t metabolise. At best, it can lead to sickness and diarrhoea; at worst, it can be fatal. If you gift or receive chocolate this Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s kept in a safe spot away from your furry friends.
While a stunning choice for a bouquet, stay away from tulips if you have a cat or dog at home. This flower is toxic for both cats and dogs. If your pet consumes tulips, they will experience symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea and hypersalivation.
Daffodils are a popular spring plant, so you’re likely to find them on sale around Valentine’s. However, this plant is extremely poisonous for many pets, including cats and dogs. Your canine or feline friend will experience severe vomiting and health concerns if they ingest any part of a daffodil, but the bulb is particularly poisonous.
Roses are undoubtedly one of the most popular choices for Valentine’s day flowers but they can cause a catastrophe for your pets. While roses themselves aren’t toxic, the thorns on the stems can puncture through pets’ skin and cause injury. Even worse, if they’re ingested, they can lead to internal punctures and cause serious problems. If you’re considering roses this Valentine’s Day, always make sure the stems and thorns are removed.
- Sweet pea and ‘filler’ flowers
Those buying a mixed bouquet this Valentine’s should be especially careful it doesn’t contain any filler flowers or plants that are toxic to pets. Veterinary Technician Lauri Partanio explains:
“Sweet pea is one of the most common “filler flowers” florists use. These small, pretty, sweet-smelling pink flowers are in most Valentine’s Day bouquets. If you have pets that counter surf, double-check that your vases don’t include a trip to the emergency vet. Sweet pea contains a toxic chemical called aminopropionitrile. If consumed by your pet, it can cause seizures, full body weakness, and even death.”
10 pet-friendly flower alternatives
If you want to make a thoughtful gesture to a loved one, flowers do make a lovely gift. If you have a cat or dog and want some safe, pet-friendly options, you should buy:
- Roses with the thorns removed
- Gerbera daisies
Angela Laws, award-winning community manager of TrustedHousesitters, who is also a sitter with 14 years of experience, comments:
“Many pet emergencies occur around special occasions and holidays, and Valentine’s Day is no different! While Valentine’s is a great time to celebrate that special someone in your life, keep a close eye on your furry friend and take extra care that any gifts, flowers or wrapping paper you buy are safe and pet-friendly. If you do notice any strange symptoms, keep a close eye on your pet and get straight in touch with a vet for expert advice.”