With lockdown restrictions easing across parts of the country, there are many reasons to celebrate the arrival of warm sunshine and bright blooming plants and flowers. However, Greencross Vets Woolloongabba is calling on local Brisbane pet parents who have adopted dogs and cats during lockdown to be mindful of the hidden dangers some flowers and plants pose to pets. 

Many of the common plants, springtime flowers and fruit trees that can be found in Brisbane resident’s backyards, homes and parks have toxins or seeds that can be harmful to dogs, cats, Guinea pigs and rabbits.

“It is important for new pet owners to know of the seemingly harmless dangers that Spring can bring,” said Dr Magdoline Awad, Chief Veterinary Officer at Greencross Vets.

Flowering and non-flowering plants can lead to a variety of allergies. In fact, many common kinds of grass, weeds and flowers all have the potential to disrupt pets’ outside adventures. Sometimes these allergies can be due to direct contact with the plant, while other times the plant’s pollen can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin of allergic pets. Other plants are more dangerous when they are eaten.

Dr Awad added:

“Just like kids, our pets love to explore and try new things – tasting, smelling, chewing and rolling on things that they shouldn’t! Simply coming into contact with certain plants and weeds can cause pets to suffer an uncontrollable urge to scratch, lick, chew and rub at their skin until fur loss and dermatitis develops.”

Dr Awad shares her advice for recognising the signs that a pet may have come into contact with something toxic.

  • Ingestion of certain flowers, fruit seeds and plants can cause toxicity or intestinal blockages in pets. Symptoms range from:
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhoea
    • Sudden kidney failure
    • Sudden liver failure
  • One of the most common cut flowers in bouquets, the lily, is very toxic to cats, and even the pollen can cause serious kidney problems. Avoid lilies if you have cats at home
  • Identification of these worrisome plants allows avoidance and early recognition of the signs and symptoms that may become present in a pet that has had a reaction.
  • If you think your pet has consumed something unusual, visit your local Greencross Vets immediately.

Greencross Woolloongabba Practice Manager, Megan Carlisle said it’s important for Brisbane residents to keep a close eye on pets this Spring season:

“If you recognise any of the signs that indicate your pet may have come into contact with something toxic, call or visit Greencross Vets Woolloongabba immediately. For those that want to practice safe social distancing, we also offer WebVet, an at-home video call service, so that our dedicated and qualified team of veterinarians can assess your pet via video call, to provide advice and support. We also have minimal contact offerings which allow pet parents to drop and collect their pets outside our Woolloongabba clinic to reduce physical interaction.”

Below is a series of images containing some of the potentially allergy-causing plants, toxic flowers and harmful fruits and nuts that could create a dangerous situation if a pet was to investigate it too closely.