Spring plant hazards

Written by Louise Horton RVN
February 5, 2024

As the weather gets warmer we start to spend more time in the garden. Did you realise there are several poisonous spring plant hazards for our pets? 

Our pets are curious creatures and will often sniff, chew and ingest plants which could be extremely dangerous to them.  Sometimes it’s just the flowers or pollen which are poisonous and sometimes it can be the bulbs or leaves.    


These are extremely toxic to cats; all parts of the plant are poisonous and can lead to serious kidney problems.  Even the water from a vase of lilies can contain toxins. This is something to be mindful of for those cats that like alternative water sources to drink from.   

Spring bulbs

Bulbs including Daffodils, Tulips, Iris, Hyacinth, Bluebells and Crocus are very toxic to dogs. It is important to keep them out of reach and be mindful they also cannot be dug up once planted.  The flowers can also be harmful. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal upsets, fits, lethargy or breathing difficulties.   


Known to cause gastrointestinal upsets if ingested as well as skin irritation and rashes if the sap gets in contact with your pet’s skin.  A similar plant to this is Giant Hogweed. This is present all year round, and contains a toxin in the sap which is released when the stem is broken.  This can cause nasty skin blisters, usually seen around the face or where there isn’t so much fur.  It can also cause problems if it gets into your pet’s eyes or is ingested. 

Other common plants to avoid

Azalea, Geranium, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Hydrangea, Ivy, Laurel, Garlic plants, Grapevines, Ragwort, Rhubarb, Yew and many others. 

Many types of fungi and mushrooms out in the wild can also be extremely dangerous if ingested and in some cases can lead to organ failure. 

Certain types of compost may contain fertiliser or bacteria and large piles of leaves and compost heaps can contain harmful moulds so make sure these are kept away from harms reach. 


There are also several plants that are toxic to our pet rabbits. The bulb plants mentioned previously are also to be avoided, as well as “Buttercups, Foxgloves, Primroses, Poppy, Holly and Yew”.  Please keep your outdoor bunnies away from these plants. 

Further help and advice

If you are ever concerned your pet has ingested or been in contact with something that could be toxic, please always seek Veterinary advice immediately. Even if you are unsure this is important as time is often critical in these scenarios. 

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