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Roses are Red, Violets are Blue and Lilies are Toxic

As fallible humans, we often turn to the beauty of nature to express what our words cannot. That is why we send each other bouquets of flowers to communicate romance, appreciation, apologies, congratulations and condolences.

However, when planning these thoughtful gestures, it is easy to forget the impact they may have on other members of the family. For dogs and cats in particular, many common plants are extremely toxic. Not only can exposure to these plants result in an emergency trip to the veterinarian, they can even be fatal.

One of the most dangerous and common flowers are lilies. Some lilies are so toxic that a cat can become ill from simply nibbling a leaf or licking pollen off its paw, so any interaction with a lily should be treated as a veterinary emergency. Because of their danger, these beautiful but deadly flowers should never enter any home with cats in the household.

Dogs are also affected by lilies and other flowers, including azaleas, daffodils, hyacinths and tulip bulbs. Since many of these flowers are commonly found in gardens, dogs and cats should always be supervised when spending time outdoors. The symptoms and toxicity may vary depending on the plant, your furry family member’s size, health history and the amount consumed.

The Pet Poison Helpline has a free online resource to look up various items to evaluate their toxicity for different species. It is highly recommended to use their database to search before purchasing any flower or houseplant. Should your furry family member ingest a confirmed poison, they can also provide expert consultations in coordination with your veterinarian.

You may be reading this thinking that your Valentine’s Day plans have been foiled. Fear not! There are many pet-safe options available, including one of the most iconic flowers of all. Fortunately for romantics everywhere, roses are non-toxic for cats and dogs! If you pick up a premade bouquet, just ensure that any foliage or accent flowers are also pet-safe (for example, even baby’s breath is mildly toxic). If you’re going the custom route, ensure to let your florist know that you’re looking for a pet-friendly selection before placing your order.

By considering the flowers that you send to your special someone this year, you can help ensure that all members of the family feel the love!


Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

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