Quick Spring Refreshers

By Candi Amundson, CVT
Veterinary Information Specialist at Pet Poison Helpline®

As we see spring coming close to an end we will be welcoming summer soon! Here are some quick spring/summer time refreshers about flowers, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and cleaning products that can cause risk when exposed.



Plants like Iris, Dogwood, Lilacs, Geraniums, Poppies, Daisies, and Black-eyed-Susan are not likely to cause severe or life-threatening symptoms. Large ingestions of these plants could cause vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, or even lethargy.

Try to keep your dog or cat away from Azaleas, where just 1-2 leaves could cause toxicity to the heart. Signs of Azalea toxicity include: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, trouble walking, tremors, and trouble breathing.

Cats need to be kept away from all Lilies! This could lead to a toxic affect to the kidneys. Signs of Lily toxicity in cats include: drooling, vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, urinating more frequent (about 24 hours after exposure), then leading to acute renal failure.

Brief reminder on Fertilizers

  1. Blood meal/Bone meal: These are dried ground blood or bone that is not anticipated to cause a systemic toxicity, however if large amounts are ingested it could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and even an obstruction or pancreatitis.
  2. Rose & Plant Fertilizers: Some of these fertilizers will contain Organophosphates (Disulfoton for example) which can cause drooling, tearing, urinating and defecating in excess. This could lead to other central nervous systems symptoms such as seizures.
  3. Iron: Large amounts of this heavy metal could lead to vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and possibly affect on the liver and heart.


Most spray products or “ready-to-use” are likely an irritant and not likely to cause serious symptoms (due to the small percentage). Some products (granular/liquid) do have organophosphates and again to keep a watch out for those! If there are any questions or concerns about a potential exposure it is best to speak to a trained medical professional or Pet Poison Helpline®.

Cleaning Products

DetergentsMost products that are ready to use are diluted and mostly just irritants, nothing more serious than mild stomach upset or skin irritation if exposed. Products that could lead to risk for corrosive injuries would be Bleach, Toilet Bowl Cleaners, Oven Cleaners, and Grill cleaners. These products are not likely to target any internal organs or cause failure, however this will cause local tissue damage like oral burns/lesions, burns to the face or body, and could lead to risk of infection if the skin becomes open and exposed. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a corrosive product: flush the affected area continuously with tepid tap water for 20 minutes and then speak to a trained medical professional. As always, Pet Poison Helpline® is available for assistance 24/7 and all major holidays!