Are Tulips Safe To Have Around My Dog?

Everything you need to know 🌷

dog with tulips

Dogs like to nibble on everything they can get their mouths on, and that includes flowers, like tulips.

Tulips are actually poisonous to dogs, so you should keep them away from your pup whenever possible.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Cristina Bustamante, an associate veterinarian with Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Florida and founder of Dr. B. Vet, to find out everything you need to know about tulips and dogs.

Are tulips safe for dogs?

Tulips are actually toxic to dogs, so keep them far away from your pup.

Tulips contain glycosides, which can inhibit protein synthesis in the cells in your dog’s body if he eats one. (Glycosides can even affect people and can cause rashes if they’re handled too much.)

While all parts of a tulip are poisonous to dogs, most of the toxins are located in the bulb, making it the most toxic part of a tulip.

Tulips are toxic to all dogs, but small dogs and puppies can be more susceptible to poisoning from tulips. Pups who are smaller in size can become dehydrated more quickly from vomiting and diarrhea and can more easily develop an intestinal blockage if they eat a large piece.

Signs of tulip poisoning in dogs

Symptoms of tulip poisoning are a result of the toxins in the flower.

Most cases of tulip poisoning occur from dogs eating tulip bulbs since it’s the most poisonous part of a tulip. But while there are lower concentrations of toxins in the stem, flower and leaves, your dog could still get mouth and stomach irritations if he eats those parts of the flower.

Symptoms of tulip poisoning in dogs can show up within a few hours and include the following after ingestion:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth and esophagus irritation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Heavy breathing
  • Difficulty breathing

More severe signs, such as increased heart rate and trouble breathing, are often the result of a dog eating a bulb or a large amount of tulips.

Sudden death can also happen, so it’s super important to get your dog to a vet ASAP — even if he only ate a little bit.

Treatment of tulip poisoning in dogs

If you think your dog ate a tulip, or if you notice any of the above signs of poisoning in dogs, take your dog to the vet immediately. You can also call ASPCA Poison Control or the Pet Poison Helpline.

“Take your dog immediately to a veterinarian, and when you come back home, make sure to give away or throw away your plant,” Dr. Bustamante told The Dodo.

If you catch your dog in the act of eating a tulip, try to distract him with a treat so you can safely take away the tulip he’s eating. Then, you’ll want to rinse his mouth out.

“Carefully wash your dog's mouth, if possible, with water to try to remove any remaining pieces from their mouth,” Dr. Bustamante said. “Then call a poison control helpline or ASPCA Poison Control to determine whether the amount of the plant your dog ate poses a health risk.”

Treatment will depend on how much or how many tulips he ate, how long ago he ate them and what his symptoms are.

So try to bring the tulip, a picture of the tulip or the name of the type of tulip that your dog ate with you to the vet’s office. You should also try to determine how much he ate and how long ago it was eaten. The more info you can give your vet, the faster they can treat your dog (since they won’t need to do a ton of diagnostic testing), which in most cases will lead to a better outcome.

If your dog recently ate the tulip, your vet might induce vomiting or give him activated charcoal to prevent absorption of toxins.

Additionally, your vet will treat any symptoms your dog has. “Toxicities are usually treated with supportive care based on the symptoms that the pet is showing,” Dr. Bustamante said. “For example, if the pet is having an upset stomach, then medications will be given for nausea, abdominal pain and dehydration.”

For more severe cases, your dog may need to have his stomach pumped (gastric lavage) and have his heart monitored.

What flowers are safe for dogs?

There are tons of other flowers that are safe to have around dogs that you can have in and around your home.

Some common flowers that are safe for dogs include:

  • Roses
  • Gerbera daisies (African daisies)
  • Sunflowers
  • Orchids
  • Snapdragons
  • Freesias
  • Limonium and statice
  • Madagascar jasmine
  • Stock
  • Waxflowers
  • Lisianthus
  • Garden marigolds
  • Pansies
  • Petunias
  • Zinnias
  • African violets

This isn’t a complete list, though — to check if another flower or plant is poisonous for dogs, you can visit the ASPCA’s website for extensive lists of plants that are poisonous and safe for dogs.

But even though the flowers listed above aren’t toxic to dogs, you shouldn’t let your dog eat them since they can still make your dog sick.

“There are some plants that are nontoxic, but this does not mean that they are harmless,” Dr. Bustamante. “Many pets can have an upset stomach after eating a nontoxic plant because it is not part of their regular diet. Keep all plants away from your puppy’s reach!”

So keep any tulips out of your dog’s reach or just don’t bring them into your home at all (and don’t plant them outside). And before buying any flowers, you should check that they’re safe to have around your pup.

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