Orchard Vet's Blog

Spring Hazards for Pets


The weather is changing and the days are (finally) getting longer but there are still some hazards to be aware of to keep your pet out of trouble this spring!

Hot Cross Buns

All grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, as well as foods that contain them, are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of grapes and all their dried forms can be deadly to dogs causing kidney failure in some cases, make sure you keep these out of reach of your dog and call us immediately if you think your dog may have eaten some.

Flowers and plants

There are a number of flowers to be aware of during the spring season that can cause severe problems for both cats and dogs. Daffodil bulbs are particularly poisonous and, if eaten, can trigger severe vomiting and diarrhoea and possibly even death in both cats and dogs. Tulips, amaryllis and hyacinth can be dangerous if bulbs are eaten in large quantities. Rhododendrons and azalea contain a highly toxic substance called grayanotoxin which can cause nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and coma. Buttercups are mildly poisonous and can cause drooling, vomiting and even seizures. When eaten lilies are particularly dangerous to cats causing seizures and in some cases even death.

Fertilisers, insecticides and herbicides

While off-the-shelf products are generally safe for pets, they can present dangers if brushed against or swallowed. Read the instructions carefully and don't use if there's a potential risk.

Cocoa mulch

Like chocolate, cocoa-based garden soil dressing contains theobromine which poses a potentially lethal risk to cats and dogs. Use these products sparingly and call us immediately if you see your pet eating it.

Slug and snail pellets

Pellets used to control these garden pests can be highly toxic to cats and dogs. Avoid any products containing a substance called metaldehyde and scatter and pellets you do use sporadically. Additionally, dogs can catch lungworm, a potentially fatal disease, by eating slugs and snails which are carrying the larvae of the parasite so it's important to make sure your dog is up to date with worming treatments.


Adders are the only venomous snake native to the UK and they are most likely to bite in spring when they've just come out of hibernation. Their venom is highly dangerous to cats and dogs with approximately 5% of dogs becoming seriously ill. When walking your dog in open countryside be on your guard for any Adders. If your pet is bitten call us immediately.

Wasps and bees

Our pets can have a range of reactions to bee and wasp stings. Most wasp and bee stings are not emergencies but, in some cases, extreme immune reactions can cause serious swellings which could cause constriction of the airways. Try to keep your pet away from hives and nests and remove and bees or wasps from your home safely. Call us if you're worried your pet might have been stung and we can advise on the best course of action.

Easter eggs and chocolate

These contain a chemical called theobromine that's poisonous to cats and dogs. Chocolate ingestion can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, shaking, panting and seizures. Make sure you keep chocolatey treats out reach of your pets and call us immediately if you think your pet has eaten chocolate.