Is Dahlia Toxic to Cats?

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  • Is dahlia toxic to cats? 

    Dahlia is toxic to cats. The unknown toxic principle causes mild gastrointestinal disturbances and skin irritation.

    What is dahlia?

    • Family: Asteraceae
    • Scientific name: Dahlia spp.
    • Common names: Dahlia
    • Plant type: Tuberous herbaceous perennial
    • Bloom time: Late summer to autumn
    • Toxic parts: All parts of the plant are toxic to cats
    • Toxicity: Mild
    • Toxic principle: Unknown

    Named after Swedish botanist Andreas Dahl, the dahlia is a tuberous herbaceous perennial native to Mexico made up of 42 species and numerous hybrids.  Their showy flowers make them a popular ornamental garden plant and cut flower. Dahlia flowers grow in almost every colour and bloom from spring until autumn.

    The flowers grow in a number of shapes and sizes from small, single petals to large showy flowers, which makes them a favourite with gardeners and florists.

    Dahlia flower types

    Clinical signs

    Symptoms are generally mild and self-limiting and relate to gastrointestinal disturbances and mild dermatitis.

    Treatment

    Thankfully, clinical signs are usually mild and self-limiting. If it is safe to do so, remove any remaining dahlia from the cat’s mouth and offer a drink of something tasty such as water or tuna juice.

    Most cats can be cared for at home unless they have underlying health issues or are experiencing prolonged vomiting and diarrhea and are at risk of dehydration. In which case, fluid therapy will be initiated to correct fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

    A bland diet of boiled chicken and rice may be recommended to help the gastrointestinal tract recover.

    Prevention

    Due to their curious nature, and tendency to chew on anything, kittens are at greatest risk. The only guaranteed way to prevent dahlia toxicosis is to not grow them in gardens with cats and keep floral arrangements with dahlia out of the home. There are plenty of cat-safe flowers to grow in the garden.

    Author

    • Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio