Critter Culture
What if Your Dog Ate a Daffodil?

What if Your Dog Ate a Daffodil?

Critter Culture Staff



Daffodils are a wonderful symbol of springtime and warmth. Known for their bright blossoms, they attract insects, birds, and mammals. Unfortunately, this includes your dog.

Eating or coming in contact with any part of a daffodil could have nasty side effects. So it's important to keep your pup safe from this beautiful flower's harmful toxins.


Daffodil information

Also known as narcissus, daffodils are ancient perennial flowers that bloom in the early spring, displaying a number of colors. Growing from bulbs that protect and develop the plant, daffodils seem to get stronger as they age.

Daffodils are comprised of long leaves and a stem that's hollow on top but fills out near the rooted bulb. With a bold trumpet cup in the center and six petals, daffodils are an attractive source of pollen for bees and other insects.

Yellow Daffodils VichienPetchmai / Getty Images


Poisons in daffodils

There are over 100 natural compounds in daffodils, and lycorine is the most prominent. Lycorine has some excellent medical benefits, but it's a known toxin in an unrefined state. If your dog eats even a little bit of daffodil, then the lycorine is what will usually cause your pup to be sick.

jack russell pet dog sitting with daffodil flowers in the garden Wavetop / Getty Images


Daffodil itch

Calcium oxalate is another contributor to daffodil poisoning. These microscopic crystals will irritate the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. They can also cause difficulty breathing. Found mainly in the stem and bulb, they're the primary culprit of daffodil itch.

Daffodil itch is a common outcome when calcium oxalate meets skin. Rash, irritation, scaling, and dryness are some results. Topical medication or ointment usually helps the situation, but cardiac or nervous system issues can occur if these crystals get into an open wound. Plus, the scent may cause vomiting and headaches.

Close-up of Daffodils (Narcissus) in spring. Cyril Gosselin / Getty Images


Symptoms of poisoning

The symptoms of daffodil poisoning often seem like a number of other illnesses. Typically, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, drooling, and bellyaches aren't uncommon. More severe problems include tremors, closing airways, low blood pressure, and heart arrhythmia. These usually happen if a high amount of toxins are eaten. Otherwise, expect symptoms to last no more than two days; it's not uncommon for them to clear up within a few hours. Generally, the larger the dog, the milder the case.

Scotland shepherd dog lying on a bed indoors Milan_Jovic / Getty Images


Fatality potential in dogs

In any mammals, daffodil poisoning can be fatal. But this is an entirely uncommon occurrence. Usually, an animal can't get beyond a few nibbles before deciding the taste isn't particularly desirable. The natural compounds are too gross for all but the most adventurous pups to consume at a high rate.

Pug smelling daffodils Catherine Dashwood / 500px / Getty Images


Why are daffodils toxic?

Daffodils taste bad as a life-preserving measure. The flower is attractive and dramatic to lure pollinators. Its eye-catching appearance, coupled with being one of the first blooms after a long winter, makes it an easy target for potential threats. The toxins are a necessary part of the daffodil's composition: they evolved to contribute to and continue the ecosystem's success. Self-preservation methods for protection and survival are a must.

daffodils on a meadow Westend61 / Getty Images


Be proactive

If your dog displays symptoms of daffodil poisoning, or you know they ate some of the plant, remain calm: showing excessive emotion will only worsen things and confuse your pet, causing them to get excited, too. Be cool and call your vet.

Unless eaten in massive quantities, daffodil consumption usually doesn't require a visit to the office or hospital. Quite often, the vet will provide instructions. Follow these guidelines while giving your buddy gentle affection as you continue to monitor their situation. Hopefully, the symptoms will pass in a few hours.

man talking to someone on the phone while holding pet dog Sviatlana Barchan / Getty Images


What will the vet do?

If the vet determines that a full exam is needed, get your pooch there at the first available opportunity. It's good practice to take the plant with you: this will help the vet get a better idea of how much daffodil was eaten.

If the poisoning happened recently, the vet may induce vomiting or use activated charcoal to get rid of the remaining toxins. Dehydration is a concern as well due to a number of symptoms. IV fluids will help put your pup on the pathway to improvement.

dog with vet Westend61 / Getty Images


Avoiding the potential for danger

The best way to avoid daffodil poisoning is to simply not keep them around. Being such a standard seasonal fixture, this can be hard to avoid. Maybe someone gifted you a potted plant or bouquet. Or perhaps they've been growing in your garden for years.

If you can't bear to part with your outdoor daffodils, you should prevent your dog from getting into them. A sturdy fence or netting will help, but always monitor your furry friend's outdoor activity. And when it comes to your interior sprays, giving the flowers to someone living in a pet-free home is a beneficial option. But if you want to keep your daffodils, it's imperative that you put them out of harm's way. Place them in a high area that your dog can't access.

Woman holding vase with narcissus AdrianHancu / Getty Images


Are there better flower alternatives?

Daffodils are a staple of many homes and landscapes. They're a symbolic representation of spring, new life, and rebirth. Yet their toxicity doesn't reflect their beauty.

If you decide to eliminate daffodils to keep your pup safe, you don't have to sacrifice losing floral arrangements. There are a number of safer options available that will enliven your yard and interior decor without the threat of harming your puppy. Snapdragon, rose, limonium, sunflower, orchid, marigold, and lisianthus are a few options. They look wonderful on display, make great dog-friendly alternatives, and will give you peace of mind.

puppy holding rose while sleeping in bed HannamariaH / Getty Images


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