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Help My Dog Ate A Crocus! Are Crocuses Poisonous To Dogs?


Last Updated: September 22, 2023 | 4 min read | Leave a Comment

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This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate a live mouse, we recommend you contact your veterinarian immediately.

Spring is a lovely time of year. The evenings are lighter, the birds sing, and the flowers pop their heads above the ground. But although your spring bulbs look pretty, are they safe for your pets?

There are two distinct types to be aware of. We’ll explain the differences and what symptoms to look for should your dog get a hold of either one. Learn how to identify the flowering plant too.

We’ll also answer your questions about what to do if your dog ate crocuses. Find out if crocuses are poisonous to dogs, and more.

What Are Crocuses?

Field of Crocuses

Crocuses are seasonal flowering bulbs. The flowers lie low to the ground, spreading pretty blooms across grassy verges before disappearing to the earth until the following year’s season. The most common type is the spring crocus, which belongs to the Iridaceae family. The autumn crocus belongs to the Liliaceae family and has common names like the naked lady and meadow saffron. The flowers are usually purple, yellow, orange, or white.

Are Crocuses Poisonous To Dogs?

Yes, generally speaking, crocuses are likely to cause your dog some adverse symptoms. Although spring crocuses may cause your dog to dribble excessively or give them a bout of vomiting and diarrhea, the symptoms are usually relatively mild. All the same, it would be sensible to try to prevent your dog from eating spring crocuses if you can. 

Although they look similar to spring crocuses, autumn crocuses are very different. They are severely poisonous to dogs and cause significant gastrointestinal signs like bloody diarrhea and profuse vomiting. They can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system, leading to seizures or even death. 

What Are The Signs Of Crocus Poisoning?

Symptoms of crocus poisoning will vary depending on the amount and the type of crocus ingested. However, you should keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reduced appetite or inappetence
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Reduced or increased urination
  • Reduced or increased thirst
  • Shallow or rapid breathing
  • Breathing distress
  • Seizures

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Crocuses?

If your dog has eaten crocuses, the most important thing is to identify what type of crocus. As the name suggests, spring crocuses and autumn crocuses bloom in different seasons. This fact should help you determine which was eaten. 

My Dog Ate Spring Crocuses

If your dog ate spring crocuses, you don’t need to call the veterinarian right away. Although, if you’re worried, it won’t do any harm. You should monitor them closely for symptoms. If they cannot keep water down, are acting unwell, or their symptoms don’t improve in a day or two, you should contact the veterinarian. Feeding them small amounts of bland food and offering them water regularly should help settle their stomach. 

My Dog Ate Autumn Crocuses

If you think your dog might have eaten autumn crocuses or their bulbs, you should speak to your veterinarian right away. If you’ve seen them eat it, it’s best not to wait and see if symptoms develop. Treatment will be more effective if it is started early.

If you’re unable to speak with your vet, contact the emergency vet or poison control for dogs. The Pet Poison Helpline can be reached at (855) 764-7661.

I Don’t Know What My Dog Ate, But He Has Symptoms

If you haven’t seen your dog eat crocuses, but they have similar symptoms, it’s probably worth taking them to the veterinarian to get them checked out. Your veterinarian will be able to give them a complete examination and may suggest blood tests to look for an underlying cause of their illness.

There is a comprehensive list of toxic plants on the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ webpage, with handy pictures to help you identify them. These tables list common plants that harm dogs and some of the most poisonous plants for dogs. 

Some examples of other toxic flowering plants include but are not limited to, tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, bluebells, crocuses (especially autumn crocuses), irises, dahlias, and lilies. You should call your veterinarian right away if you think your dog has eaten any part of a bulb plant.

Is There Treatment For Crocus Poisoning In Dogs?

If you get your dog to the vet clinic soon after they ate the crocuses, it’s much more likely that they will recover. The veterinarian will be able to give them an injection to make them vomit to try to remove as much of the ingested crocus as possible. They can also give a charcoal substance and some other medications to try to stop the crocus from being absorbed by your dog’s gut.

The symptoms can be improved with antacids, anti-sickness medications, gut protectors, and a fluid drip. The veterinarian will also take a blood sample to check for liver or kidney damage. Should your dog develop seizures, they may require anticonvulsants or an anesthetic drug to control them.

Sadly, even with treatment, severe cases of autumn crocus poisoning can be fatal.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Poisoning?

Pet insurance covers accidental poisoning, so it is wise to have your pet insured (for more than one reason). Toxicosis treatment can average $500 to $1,000 but can be more than $2,000, depending on the poisoning and severity.

Autumn crocus is a cardiotoxic plant, which means it’s at high risk to your pet because it can cause their heart to weaken. Your dog ingesting autumn crocus should not be taken lightly, and you should act quickly to seek out treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are crocuses poisonous to dogs?

Spring crocuses are likely to upset your dog’s stomach. Autumn crocuses are highly toxic and can cause breathing distress, seizures, kidney and liver failure, and even death. If you think your dog may have ingested autumn crocus, you should seek urgent advice from your veterinarian.

Are purple crocuses poisonous?

Both autumn and spring crocuses can be purple in color, so it’s essential to identify which one your dog has eaten. Purple spring crocuses shouldn’t cause a problem for your canine companion aside from a mild gut upset. Purple autumn crocuses are highly toxic, and you should reach out to your veterinarian right away.

Which bulbs are not poisonous to dogs?

There aren’t many to choose from when it comes to dog-safe bulbs. However, why not try freesias, grape hyacinths, or gloxinia to brighten your spring garden?

Which garden plants are safe for dogs?

It’s not all bad news when trying to keep your garden looking beautiful while being safe for your four-legged friend. Many plants are safe for dogs, including cornflowers, geraniums, snapdragons, roses, lavender, honeysuckle, and sunflowers. There are other poisonous plants for dogs to be aware of as well.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your dog safe around garden plants isn’t easy, especially when visiting other people’s gardens or public parks. However, as long as you familiarize yourself with which plants are toxic to your furry family members, you should be able to keep them as safe as possible. If they do manage to ingest something they shouldn’t, or if they’re showing symptoms of being unwell, you should act quickly to seek veterinary treatment or call the pet poison hotline immediately (855-764-7661).

pug sitting behind iris bulbs outside on a path

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