Are dahlias toxic to cats? Inspect houseplants reviewed by a veterinarian

Are dahlias toxic to cats?  Inspect houseplants reviewed by a veterinarian

Dahlias are perennials that add a pop of color to late summer gardens. The flower blooms from mid-July until the first frost in most parts of the United States. The smaller varieties grow well in pots, and many gardeners bring cut flowers indoors. Although dahlias are beautiful to look at, they are slightly toxic to cats.

Cat owners should know the signs of plant poisoning in cats. Below we discuss what symptoms to look for and how to keep your cat safe.

What happens if your cat eats a poisonous plant like a dahlia?

Dahlias are on the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants, but what makes them mildly toxic is unknown. They reported that mild dermatitis and gastroenteritis could be seen.

Be calm if you catch your cat gnawing on a dahlia or other poisonous plant.

  • Brush any visible plant bits from their fur.
  • Remove any plant material from their mouths if You can safely get inside. Be careful, because you don’t want your cat to bite you or shove any pieces of dahlia down her throat.
  • Place your cat in a safe and secure area. You will need to monitor them and possibly take them to the vet. You can leave them in a small room like a bathroom.
  • Contact your veterinarian or local 24/7 animal hospital. Keep a pen and paper handy, as you may need to write down instructions or another phone number.
  • Follow the medical advice you receive, whether continuing to monitor your cat at home or taking him to the vet as soon as possible.
Beautiful dahlia flower
Image by: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

How do you know if your cat has been poisoned by a plant?

In many cases, it is obvious what your cat has fallen into. A vase of dahlias is on the floor, and petals are everywhere! However, some cats are more sneaky about getting into things they shouldn’t. Here are some of the symptoms that cats experience when they eat a poisonous plant.

  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • difficulty breathing
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drink more than usual

Don’t hesitate to contact your vet any time your cat is acting differently or showing symptoms. There are many diseases that can cause the above symptoms and do not necessarily indicate poisoning. However, your pet should still be seen by a veterinarian.

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What do dahlias look like?

Identifying a dahlia plant is the first step to knowing if your cat ate one or got into a different plant. Even the most experienced gardener may have difficulty identifying a dahlia flower since the flowers come in a wide range of colors—everything from white to violet and purple. The flowers are full and dense at peak bloom, and most dahlia cultivars have pointed petals.

If you’re not sure whether or not the plant your cat has eaten is a dahlia, take a photo to show your veterinarian. You can also place the dahlia flower in a plastic bag and take it to an animal clinic or hospital.

Are dahlia petals toxic to cats?

We were unable to find source information on dahlia toxicity but it is listed by the ASPCA as moderately toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. It is safe to err on the side of caution if swallowing dahlia.

Orange dahlia flower
Image source: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

What flowers are safe for cats?

Dahlias are one flower that many gardeners cut to display inside their homes. But as we discussed, it may be best to keep dahlias and catkins separate from each other. You can still bring some pink color into your home with cat-safe flowers like chrysanthemums and gerbera roses.

However, even non-toxic plants and flowers can upset a cat’s stomach. Biting a cat-safe plant may cause vomiting and diarrhea, depending on the amount consumed.

How to keep your cat safe around houseplants

You don’t have to have a plant-free home just because you have a feline roommate. There are ways you can keep flowers and houseplants out of reach.

  • Hang flower pots or vases from the ceiling
  • Display flowers or small plants in a terrarium
  • Use natural cat repellents such as citrus peels

You can also keep your cat occupied with catnip or a bowl of cat grass. This safe treat satisfies your cat’s natural desire to eat plants.

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Final thoughts

Unfortunately, dahlias are thought to be toxic to cats. You should contact your vet if your cat eats any part of the plant. Similar flowers that are not toxic to cats include gerbera daisies and roses. Even non-toxic plants and flowers can upset your cat’s stomach, but you can lure your cat away from houseplants by providing cat grass or catnip.


Featured image credit: AnnaER, Pixabay

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