Autumn Plantings and Your Pets

Autumn is the second most popular time for gardening, with people laying in both cool season vegetables and bulbs for the spring. A number of these plants can be hazardous to your animal companions and it is important to review what you are planting and where it will be located. Most autumn and late season plantings won’t involve fertilizer, as that promotes tender new growth, which is not ideal heading into frost. That, at least, is good, but there are still many things to be careful of.

 

Some common autumn plantings to watch out for include:

 

  • Members of the Liliaceae family. Not limited just to lilies, these include many flowers which are commonly planted in the autumn. Hyacinths and tulips both can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression in cats and dogs. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats, causing acute kidney failure.
  • Allium, Daffodils, and others from the Amaryllidaceae family can cause vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, convulsions, and cardiac arrhythmia. These are particularly important to take note of, as bulbs are the most poisonous part of the plant. Garlic, leeks, and onions all can cause vomiting, hemolytic anemia, elevated heart rate, and weakness. 
  • Gladiolus and Irises cause vomiting, drooling, and lethargy, with the highest concentration of the offending chemical in the rhizomes and cormlets.
  • Sweet Peas are more toxic than many know, not only to dogs and cats, but also to humans (which one of our staff learned the hard way as a child). They can cause weakness, lethargy, seizures, and possibly death.

 

Other potential offenders include hellebores (also known as Christmas or Lenten roses), dahlia, crocuses, and ranunculus. Be sure to store and plant these in places that are inaccessible to your pets. When in doubt, always check the ASPCA Poison Control or contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.