Are Carnations Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

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If you're a protective, loving and concerned pet owner, then you are probably all too familiar with the trepidation and anxiety of your critter approaching an unfamiliar plant, even one as pretty and common as the carnation. After all, a lot of plants are toxic to both canines and cats, carnations included.

About Carnations

Carnations are herbaceous perennial flowering plants that are fixtures throughout gardens all over the world, particularly during the warm summer months of June and July. The plant, which is known scientifically as Dianthus caryophyllus, is often revered for its flowers, which are brightly colored and fragrant. Carnations originate in Eurasia.

Pet Safety

Dogs or cats should not be allowed to eat any part of the carnation plant, especially the flower bulbs, so make sure to keep them away from all of your furry cuties. Since the irritant of the carnation isn't certain, it is important to never allow your dog to go near a carnation, much less eat it, whether the stem or the petals.


If your precious doggie for any reason eats any component of a carnation, he may experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms. The ASPCA notes several of these, which include moderate skin inflammation and itching along with subtle digestive upset, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. In the event that your pet exhibits any of these signs due to eating any part of a carnation, immediately seek veterinary attention for the poor thing.


The easier you can identify a carnation visually, the easier it will be for you to keep your dog away from one, especially if you're in an unfamiliar yard or landscape -- say a public park, for example. In terms of size, the heights usually range from about 10 to 20 inches. Although bicolored flowers do appear, most are usually white, pink or red. The leaves often are deep green or grayish-blue in tone. The bottom line is to never, ever allow your pet near an unfamiliar plant and never, ever allow your pet's mouth near a carnation of any type.

By Naomi Millburn


ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List - Dogs
ASPCA: Carnation
The University of Vermont: Dianthus caryophyllus
University of Maryland: Carnation Production and Consumer Care

About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.