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Amaryllis Flowers and Pets

With bold colors, trumpet-shaped Amaryllis flowers are a welcome reprieve from the dull days of winter. These popular blooms are everywhere during the holiday season, but we think they’re lovely all year. While there’s not a question of their beauty, are these striking flowers safe to have around our animal companions? Are they poisonous to our pets?

Are Amaryllis Toxic To Pets?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Amaryllis is considered toxic to both dogs and cats. Even though the flower’s level of toxicity is considered mild to moderate, these flowers need to be kept away from your pets.

The ASPCA classifies amaryllis as toxic to both dogs and cats. While not as dangerous as Lilies, Amaryllis still makes your furry pal sick if eaten.

A toxin known as lycorine is to blame for this reaction. Lycorine is an alkaloid found in the plant species. You can find it in every part of an amaryllis, including the stem, pedals, and leaves. The chemical is most concentrated in the plant’s bulb making this the most dangerous part.

According to the pet poison helpline, Amaryllis flowers can also harm your animal’s mouth. Like daffodils, amaryllis contains sharp calcium oxalate crystals that irritate the gum, lips, and tongue if swallowed. Watch your animal for excessive salivation and pawing at the mouth.

The severity of the poisoning is dependent on two factors. What part of the plant your pet has nibbled, and how much of it they have consumed. If you suspect your pet has eaten a serving of amaryllis, watch for vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, lethargy, tremors, depression, low blood pressure, and respiratory depression.

 

What If My Pet Ingests Amaryllis?

First, what you need to do is don’t panic! It’s important to remember that this poisoning is rarely fatal in pets. And unless your animal eats a large amount of the flower, the odds of a full recovery, even without vet intervention, are very high. If you catch your pet in the act, the first thing you need to do is remove the plant matter from their mouths and/or fur.

Next, call your vet. Even though you might be able to bypass a visit, it’s best to check in with a professional. If your pet does need treatment, the sooner the treatment starts, the better.

If you can, let the vet know which part of the plant your pet has consumed and how much. Or better yet, bring a sample of it into the clinic to help the vet determine its level of toxicity. A quick picture on the phone will also work.

To treat amaryllis poisoning, the vet might administer medication to induce vomiting. Activated charcoal can also be used to remove toxins through the pet’s digestive tract. If your pet has been vomiting, they may require intravenous fluids to combat dehydration.

 

Safeguards To Take With Your Amaryllis

Of course, you might already have Amaryllis in your home or yard. Can you still enjoy these plants and keep your pets safe? Most definitely – you just need to be cautious.

If you were given a bouquet with it, your safe option is to regift it. But, if you would prefer not to part with your flowers, simply be sure they’re inaccessible to your pets. Place amaryllis and other toxic plants out of your pet’s reach, keeping in mind that felines are naturally good jumpers.  Put them high on a shelf or in a room that’s not accessible to your pets.

If you have it in your garden, always supervise your pets during outdoor activities. To keep them away from flowers that are toxic, you can install fencing or netting. A motion sensor sprinkler is another harmless and effective way. You may also consider planting something intended specifically for your feline, like cat grass or catnip, to lure them away from the toxic plant.

If your pet is a curious eater, perhaps it is time to replace your plant with something more pet friendly, like roses or daisies.

If you’re in the planning stage of setting up a new garden, it’s important to stick with plants that are non-toxic to your pets. For cat owners, there are some cat- approved options that add a beautiful touch to your outdoor space like daisies, roses, orchids, snapdragon, waxflower, sunflower, freesia, xenia, lipstick plant, and others.

In the end, it’s our responsibility as pet owners to keep our homes free of plants that are dangerous and contain toxins. By researching databases upfront, you can learn more about poisonous plants and plant toxicity and how they affect your pets, before this becomes a potential problem.

 

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