When it comes to bright, cheerful and diverse perennial plants, dahlias are a common addition to many yards and gardens. Although these plants have a welcoming and warm appearance, they are toxic to both cats and dogs. Essentially, your precious pet isn't safe around dahlias.
If you don't have much of a green thumb and you're not exactly sure what dahlias look like in terms of size, a little knowledge might go a long way in keeping your cat protected from them. The flowering plants, which originate in central Mexico, are very diverse in appearance, which sometimes makes keeping track of them difficult. According to the North Carolina State University Department of Horticultural Science, dahlias can be anywhere from 1 to 6 feet tall. When it comes to their attractive flowers, size of bloom diameter is also relatively unpredictable -- usually from 2 inches to a foot.
Without prior knowledge, never assume that any type of flower only appears in one color. Dahlias can be white, yellow, bright red, purple, orange or pink. In some cases, the flowers feature conspicuous stripes of another shade. Never allow your cat to go near any unfamiliar plant unless you know exactly what it is -- and exactly how safe it is. Remembers, cats aren't exactly shy about putting strange things into their mouths.
According to the ASPCA, dahlias are not safe for cats, or dogs for that matter. The plant is toxic to felines, although the poisonous component is as yet uncertain. If your fluff ball consumed or even chewed on any part of a dahlia plant, it is crucial to seek emergency veterinary attention. No time for hesitation.
If your poor kitty experiences a toxic reaction because it ate dahlias, the symptoms will probably be very apparent. A couple of telltale signs of dahlia poisoning in cats are skin inflammation, irritation, nonstop scratching, pawing, oily skin, loss of clumps of fur and very subtle digestive distress -- think frequent and runny bowel movements.
Get your pet to the vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
- North Carolina State University Department of Horticultural Science: Dahlias for the Home Landscape
- The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Dermatitis
- Iowa State University Reiman Gardens: Dahlias
- University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Dahlias
- ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List - Cats
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