Tulip Bulbs & Dogs

by Betty Lewis
    Although this dog is safe among the tulips, you shouldn't let your dog eat them.

    Although this dog is safe among the tulips, you shouldn't let your dog eat them.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    Planning a garden requires forethought. You'll consider your climate, your gardening spot and its soil, and what flowers you want to plant. Plan ahead for Duke, too. If your pup enjoys spending time with nature or has a knack for digging, take time to make the garden safe for him.

    Tulips are colorful, cheerful flowers, but Duke won't be feeling very cheerful if he eats these posies. As part of the liliaceae family, tulips contain allergenic compounds. The dog that munches on a tulip flower, stem or leaf will likely experience irritation in his mouth and esophagus, resulting in drooling, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhea.

    Tulip bulbs are a greater risk to Duke because the tulip's toxic agents are concentrated in its bulb. It's not unusual for dogs to dig up freshly planted bulbs, nor is it unheard of for them to go foraging into bags of bulbs. If Duke snacks on a tulip bulb, he'll experience the same symptoms -- drooling, vomiting and diarrhea -- and potentially more serious consequences, such as difficulty breathing, change in respiration and a faster heart rate.

    Among the most toxic plants for dogs are cyclamen, English ivy, mistletoe, castor bean or castor oil plant, yew, thorn apple, dieffenbachia, hemlock, oleander and some mushrooms. The petMD website recommends keeping a variety of flowers out of the house and garden, including lily of the valley, bleeding heart, rhubarb, chrysanthemum, foxglove, delphinium and amaryllis. If Duke eats a suspicious plant, the best course of action is to take him and part of the plant to the vet. A sample of the plant will help the vet determine its toxicity and appropriate treatment. The ASPCA has a poison control line, 888-426-4435.

    Of course plenty of safe flowers exist that you and Duke can enjoy together. When you plan your garden, take time to check the ASPCA's database of plants to ensure your choices won't hurt Duke if he decides to take a nibble. Bulbs, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides should be out of his reach so he doesn't ingest something poisonous if he happens to forage around your gardening storage.

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    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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