Dogs are highly inquisitive creatures and will naturally investigate everything in their environment. During the springtime, daffodils are a colorful and beautiful feature in many gardens and outdoor spaces across the country. This means it is not unusual for dogs to encounter and interact with them.
Dogs tend to explore their world with the nose and their mouth, which means they commonly chew or swallow many things that they probably shouldn’t do! So, what happens if your dog picks up (or digs up) some daffodils and swallows them?
Unfortunately, daffodils can be both toxic, and harmful to our canine companions. So if your pup just swallowed some daffodils from around your home or garden, there are some steps you’ll need to take, including calling your vet. Let’s take a look at what you can expect.
Are Daffodils Toxic to Pets?
Unfortunately, all parts of daffodils are potentially poisonous to dogs, with the bulb being the most dangerous bit. Daffodils contain toxic chemicals including alkaloids, glycosides, and oxalates. Levels of these chemicals vary widely between daffodils and different parts of the plant. This means different dogs will have different reactions to them.
This means it is very hard to give an accurate “toxic dose” of daffodil. It is best to assume that any amount of daffodil is potentially dangerous to dogs. It is also worth noting that dogs can potentially be poisoned if they drink water from a vase that has had cut daffodil flowers inside.
My Dog Ate Some Daffodil: What Now?
If your dog scarfed down some daffodils, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure you minimize permanent health problems with your pup. Follow these steps to get your pup care as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Don’t Panic & Remove the Daffodils
First and foremost, don’t panic. You don’t want to make quick decisions like making your dog throw up, that could harm them. Start by separating Fido from any further daffodils. If the daffodils are outside, move them inside away from the daffodils; alternatively, if the daffodils are inside move them away from your pup. This ensures that no further daffodil can be eaten to make the problem worse!
Step #2: Figure Out How Much Was Ingested
Try and work out how much has been consumed. Can you identify roughly how much daffodil has been eaten and which bits of the plant? It is also useful to make a note of roughly what time the daffodils were ingested.
Step #3: Call Your Veterinarian
Contact your local veterinary clinic for advice as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is professionally managed, the better the outcome is likely to be for your canine companion.
Step #4: Follow Your Vet’s Instructions
Follow the instructions of your veterinarian. This will probably include a visit to the clinic for an examination and further treatment. Don’t wait and see. Problems like this are easiest to manage if dealt with straight away. Leaving problems is only likely to make them worse.
Will Daffodils Make My Dog Sick?
If a dog eats daffodils (any part of the plant but especially the bulb), then symptoms of poisoning will usually start between 30 minutes and 4 hours later. This is very similar to other plants, including the hyacinth, or the oleander plant.
The glycosides and alkaloids in daffodils are highly irritating to the lining of the stomach and intestines. This can lead to severe vomiting and potentially followed by severe diarrhea. The chemical damage to the guts leads to tummy pain, and most dogs will become very lethargic and miserable. As symptoms progress, your dog may become drooly, dehydrated, weak, wobbly, and potentially start to collapse and have seizures.
Fortunately, severe poisoning from daffodils is rare, but it is well worth being aware of and taking seriously in all cases. The oxalates in daffodils can also cause an itchy and red skin reaction (dermatitis) – seen sometimes in gardeners and in dogs and cats.
Will My Dog Be OK After Eating Daffodils?
Most cases of daffodil poisoning are relatively mild. Severe symptoms don’t happen very often and would usually only be seen if a smaller dog ate a large amount of daffodil. That said, different dogs will suffer very differently. Symptoms can be more severe if your pup has pre-existing medical conditions such as a sensitive tummy.
In general, most dogs with daffodil poisoning will have tummy upset symptoms lasting 12-48 hours and make a full recovery. Usually, there are no long-lasting effects of daffodil toxicity.
Daffodil poisoning can still be life-threatening in severe cases – vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration and blood chemistry changes. Both of these effects of the poisoning can cause your dog to rapidly deteriorate and get even worse, and this can be fatal in some cases.
How Do You Treat Daffodil Poisoning?
There are a few different treatment methods that your veterinarian may take. This will depend on your dog’s size, breed, weight, and amount of plant ingested. Depending on the severity of the amount ingested, treatment will vary by dog. Let’s take a look at what you might expect when visiting your vet.
Induced Vomiting For Recent Cases
If you catch Fido in the act of eating daffodils, or if they have likely only eaten them within the last 3-4 hours, then you have a great chance of helping him before symptoms of the poisoning even appear. Your veterinarian can administer a powerful, safe, and reliable injection to induce vomiting. This will help bring all the daffodils back up again. This is the fastest and safest resolution to the problem in the majority of cases.
Inducing vomiting must always be done by a veterinarian using this injection. It is not appropriate for all cases and may do more harm than good in the wrong situations! It is also important to note that there are several “home remedies” for inducing vomiting in dogs.
These methods are unreliable and can often cause poisoning of their own! The best and safest option is to get your dog to your local veterinary clinic as soon as practical and use the injection under veterinary supervision.
Other Treatment Options
If your dog ate daffodils more than 3-4 hours ago, or if there are symptoms of daffodil poisoning already, then the injection to induce vomiting is usually no longer appropriate. There is no specific antidote for daffodil poisoning.
Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and may recommend a blood test to check your dog’s blood chemistry. Blood tests are especially important if your pup has an underlying health condition, or if the vomiting or diarrhea has been severe.
Most dogs will need a little symptomatic, supportive help to get through the symptoms of daffodil poisoning. This might involve treatment for nausea and tummy pain, and sometimes the use of activated charcoal to bind up any remaining daffodil toxins in the gut. Dogs affected more severely might need a day or two of hospitalization to treat dehydration using intravenous fluids via a drip.
Dehydration is a real problem in dogs as they don’t know to keep sipping water and keep hydrated as we do. Dehydration through vomiting makes them feel lousy, and they have no desire to drink, so they just keep getting more dehydrated.
A short time on a drip can really turn dogs around and allows treatment for nausea and pain to be given intravenously too. Most dogs will make a full recovery, and even severely affected dogs have a good chance of a full recovery as long as prompt veterinary help is sought.
Daffodil Ingestion Prevention
Strict separation is usually the simplest answer to this question. It is best to keep your dog away from outdoor spaces where daffodils appear in the springtime while the plants are active. They vanish quite quickly once they have stopped flowering, so this period should be relatively short.
If daffodils are present in your garden, it may be worth fencing or blocking them off during the springtime. Alternatively, it may be worth digging them up and moving them to somewhere less accessible. If you are buying cut flowers, avoid daffodils and ensure they are up and away from your dog if they are in the house.
Good training is important. Dogs should not be allowed to dig holes and dig up bulbs. It may be worth using a “Baskerville” muzzle while out and about – this will allow Fido to pant and breathe normally but not eat or chew anything. Muzzles have a bad reputation but are actually an important and very useful tool in training and can be well tolerated by dogs.
All parts of the daffodil plant are unfortunately toxic to dogs and cats. Poisonous chemicals within the plant, especially the bulb, can cause severe tummy upsets. Vomiting and diarrhea are often the main symptoms. Most animals will make a full recovery. However, dogs can be hit hard by the effects. Especially if they have eaten a large amount.
Prompt veterinary advice and expert treatment are needed in most cases to give your pup the best chance of a good and speedy recovery. If you think Fido has eaten daffodils or is suffering from daffodil toxicity, make contact with your local veterinary clinic at the earliest opportunity.