The five spring flowers that are toxic to pets – what to plant instead

RSPCA reveal which common toxic plants to AVOID

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The spring equinox is fast approaching, bringing a range of seasonal plants into bloom. Classic flowers and timely crops are the perfect addition to any garden, but which varieties are dangerous to pets? Research by OnBuy Greenhouses has revealed how some of Britain’s most-loved blooms could harm our feline and canine companions, and these are the most toxic plants to avoid.

Household pets are known for their curious minds, with cats and dogs both particularly prone to rooting around garden plants.

While the fragrant scents and bright colours can be enticing to our pets, there are a number of species that could be fatal if ingested by intrigued animals.

The effects of toxic plants can be as minor as a rash or skin irritation, but more extreme cases could result in severe vomiting – or even death.

Protecting our pets from potentially dangerous substances should be a top priority all year round, but what are the specific plants to look out for as we head into spring?

Which plants are toxic to pets?

The toxicity class guide uses four categories to rank the danger of plants when ingested by pets.

Class one describes “major toxicity” – eating the plant could result in serious illness or death.

Class two describes “minor toxicity” – ingestion may cause minor illness such as vomiting or diarrhoea

Class three is for oxalate – the juice or sap of these plants contains needle-shaped oxalate crystals which can irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, throat and stomach.

Class four is for dermatitis – the juice, sap, or thorns of these plants may cause a skin rash or irritation.

Azalea/Rhododendron – class one

These stunning flowers could cause serious harm to your pets due to their powerful toxicity.

Not only will your pet be in severe danger after eating this plant, but it can also be toxic to humans too.

Yew – class one

Just one small handful of yew seeds could prove fatal to your pet.

Keep an eye out for their needle-like seeds lurking around your garden – the red berries are a telltale sign that you’re growing a yew plant.

Hydrangea – class one and four

Perhaps one of the most common garden plants across the UK, the hydrangea can be majorly toxic in high quantities.

Your pet would need to consume a considerable amount of hydrangeas before proving fatal, though the toxins in the plant have been linked to heart problems.

Smaller quantities are likely to have a bigger impact on the skin than anything else.

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Daffodils – class two and four

These bright yellow blooms are a symbol of spring, but these stunning flowers could trigger both gastrointestinal and dermal symptoms if ingested by your pets.

Keep an eye out for skin rashes, vomiting, and diarrhoea if you think your pet has enjoyed some daffodils.

Tulips – class two and four

Another classic spring flower, the tulip plant should be avoided by garden-loving pet owners.

The stems, leaves and flowers of this plant all contain the toxins that can affect animals, but these toxins are most commonly found in the bulbs where they are very concentrated.

If eaten, they can leave your pet very unwell, though they are unlikely to pose a threat to your pet’s life.

In addition to these five popular spring flowers, you should also keep your pets away from:

  • Ivy
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Horse-chestnut
  • Laburnum
  • Rhubarb

Which spring plants are safe for pets?

While many seasonal classics should be avoided by pet owners, there are plenty of safe alternatives which can be planted out instead.

According to OnBuy Greenhouses, the 10 most popular spring plants which are safe for pets include:

  1. Sunflowers
  2. Roses
  3. Orchids
  4. Thyme
  5. Petunias
  6. Marigolds
  7. Snapdragons
  8. Pansies
  9. African Violets
  10. Sweet potato vines

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