Are Marigolds poisonous to cats and dogs?

Pet owners can all agree on the fact that owning a pet is just as time-consuming as having a child at home. There are so many things that owners need to take into consideration from your pet’s nutrition and dietary needs to their exercise and right down to knowing whether common household items are toxic for your pet and if they need to be removed.

If you have pets at home, especially a cat and/or a dog, and you love gardening, you have to be extra vigilant about the plants in your garden. A lot of times, we plant certain flowers or grow vegetables in our vegetable patches without knowing that what we’re growing is actually toxic for our furry friends. This is why, when they start to show signs of being affected by the toxic greens, we’re often confused about what is causing our pet to react so terribly.

Marigolds are beautiful, tiny sunny flowers that add a splash of color to our gardens and light them up. These yellow flowers are so extremely color-saturated that they are often fed to chickens to brighten the yellow of their egg yolks. Not only do they brighten up our gardens they are very low maintenance plants thus making them a favorite for gardeners.

Now if you own a cat or dog who frequently makes trips to your garden, it is important to know if these beautiful flowers are toxic to your fur babies.


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Cats are carnivores. They get most of their nutrition from the protein in meat. However, that doesn’t mean that our feline friends aren’t going to let their curiosity get the best of them and lead them to go sniffing around the different plants in your garden. When grass is easily available, cats usually ignore other plants and flowers. But if they’re feeling curious or bored, they might end up nibbling on a leaf or stem.


Dogs seem to be following the same logic as their feline counterparts. When let outside, dog owners often notice that their dogs are hasty to grab up a mouthful of grass, chew and swallow it and then promptly vomit it back up. They might also be attracted to leaves and eat one or two here and there.


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When we sit down to answer the question as to whether marigolds are toxic to our cats and dogs, we might have to rephrase the question a bit. The question thus becomes “what kinds of marigolds are toxic to our fur buddies.”

There are two types of marigolds: Calendula Officinalis also known as pot marigolds and Tagetes also known as French Marigolds. Now the good news is that the pot marigolds are considered nontoxic to both cats and dogs. The bad news is that the French marigolds are toxic and if consumed by either cat or dog it will lead to a mild form of gastric upset. But if your pet has consumed the flower in large quantities it can lead to poisoning. So, the first step in keeping your pet safe is knowing the difference between the two types of marigolds.

Pot marigolds are also known as ruddles, calendula, Mary bud, gold bloom, Scotch marigold, and common marigold. These are safe to plant in your garden where your pet or even strays frequently and are also laden with health benefits for humans. Not only are they edible but can and are used in herbal medicine as an antiseptic and topical anti-inflammatory.

On the other hand, we have bushy and compact French marigolds which are easy to grow and take care of. French marigolds grow up to 6 to 12 inches tall and have single, double, semi-double, or crested flowers. The flowers range in colors from yellow, to orange to red and also come in a unique bronze color. However, as wonderful as these flowers look, they are not safe to plant if you have a cat or dog around and should not be planted unless you want to rush your furry friend to the vet! 

So the good news is that if you really love marigolds and absolutely need to have them in your garden or your home, you can without harming your cat or dog. Just as long as you buy pot marigolds, your pet will be safe!

Symptoms of Marigold poisoning in cats and dogs:

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If you fear that your cat or dog has had any sort of exposure to marigold sap or has ingested the plant (they’ll probably have traced around their mouths), watch out for the following symptoms. If the symptoms persist seek medical help without delay.

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin will appear red
  • The area around the eyes, nose, and mouth will seem irritated
  • Irritation of mucous membrane
  • Skin rash

In comparison to other more toxic plants, marigolds, their tagetes type in particular only cause mild irritation to your furry friend’s gastrointestinal tract if ingested. Marigold toxicity is relatively mild, however, that doesn’t mean consumption hand exposure shouldn’t be of concern to pet owners.

Depending on how much has been consumed or how much exposure there has been along with your pet’s overall health, age, and how their immune system is functioning, marigold toxicity can cause a severe health risk.

If your pet has been exposed to marigolds, don’t take it lightly and seek out medical help as soon as possible.

Other toxic plants:

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Similar to marigolds there are a few other common garden and house plants that we like to keep around but don’t realize pose a health risk to our fur babies. Here is a list of such plants:

  • Lilies – there are toxic lilies and benign lilies and you should know the difference. Toxic lilies that can be potentially fatal include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show lilies. These are especially toxic to cats. If your cat has come into contact with any part of a lily seek immediate medical care
  • Daffodils – contain lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties that trigger vomiting in your pet. If the bulb, plant, or flower has been ingested it can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac
  • Tulips – these plants contain allergenic lactones and the toxic element is mostly concentrated in the bulb of the plant and if ingested, it can cause tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus which can be spotted by signs of drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea which in the long run can also cause dehydration in your pet.

Safe Plants:

Are Marigolds Poisonous?

If you enjoy gardening, the good news is that there a whole bunch of plants that are completely safe for your pets and are also gorgeous to look at.

These include:

  • Christmas cactus
  • Prayer plant
  • Barberton Daisy
  • Roses
  • Sunflowers
  • Petunias
  • Zinnia


Keeping pets is a lot of responsibility and requires pet owners to stay on their toes at all times. Knowing what is a threat to your pet’s health is an absolute necessity so that you can ensure that your pets are not exposed to these items. Ensuring this will result in a long and healthy life for your pet to spend beside you and who doesn’t want that?

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