Just because a flower is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s safe for our furry friends. In fact, some of the prettiest spring flowers can be life-threatening to your pet if consumed.
“If your pet is having an allergic reaction to a poisonous plant, she’ll exhibit drooling, vomiting and tremors,” says Dr. Laurie Coger, DVM, CVCP, and owner of HealthyDogWorkshop.com. “She’ll get agitated and stressed as her body tries to cope with the toxin.”
Are Lilies Poisonous to Dogs?
One of the most-commonly planted spring flowers—lilies—are extremely toxic to cats; a compound in this beautiful flower triggers acute kidney failure in felines. And while scientific studies don’t show such a clear link between the lily flower and toxicity in dogs, consumption of the plant by canines certainly isn’t a good thing.
A toxin in lilies can trigger gastrointestinal upset in the first few hours after ingestion. Varieties such as Peace, Calla and Peruvian lilies aren’t as toxic as other varieties; however, you still want to keep your pet away. These lilies can irritate your pet’s mouth and esophagus. This irritation can trigger symptoms such as foaming and pawing at the mouth; in more severe cases, these lilies can cause digestive upset, including vomiting.
Other lily varieties are significantly more dangerous. True lilies, including those of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species, are more likely to trigger acute kidney failure in cats and potentially similar problems for dogs. Common names for these beautiful but deadly plants poisonous to dogs include Tiger, Day, Asiatic Hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, Rubrum, Stargazer, Red, Western and Wood lilies. Lily of the Valley are also toxic plants for dogs; if your pet ingests this type of lily, she will experience potentially fatal heart arrhythmias.
So, to answer the question, “Are lilies poisonous to dogs?” Potentially—but while dogs may be at risk, even one or two leaves of a lily is enough to cause kidney failure in cats. The plant is so toxic to cats that just drinking the water from a vase of lilies can trigger kidney failure.
Signs of a Reaction
Lilies aren’t the only plant poisonous to dogs. Many commonly used outdoor landscaping plants and indoor decorative plants can be toxic to pets if consumed. It’s best to exercise caution and not let your pet consume any plants.
If your cat or dog is experiencing symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, gagging, a swollen and painful belly, lack of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, or constipation and general unrest, he may have eaten something poisonous. Do not wait—go to the veterinarian immediately. If it’s late at night or on the weekend, you will need to go to a 24-hour emergency vet.
“When you go to the vet, bring the plant or at least take a picture of it with your phone,” says Dr. Coger. “If you have the exact scientific name, that’s even better. Your vet may need to contact animal poison control or other references for treatment advice.”
Dr. Coger says that treatment depends on the plant consumed. “If your pet comes in with an allergic reaction, we may need to induce vomiting,” she explains. “But other times, we’ll have to begin supportive care, such as increasing fluids, giving anti-nausea medications or prescribing activated charcoal or other medications to block toxin absorption.”
Other Toxic Plants for Dogs
Especially when outdoors, it’s impossible to keep an eye on super-curious pets prone to munching, digging and tasting. It’s wise to regularly survey your yard for potentially toxic plants for dogs.
Here is a list of some plants poisonous to dogs:
- Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
- Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron sp.)
- Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
- Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum sp.)
- Chrysanthemum (Compositae spp.)
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen sp.)
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Flower bulbs of any type
- Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
- Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.)
- Lilies (Lilium sp.)
- Mistletoe (Viscum album)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
- Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
- Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)
- Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
- Schefflera (Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla)
- Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)
- Spanish thyme (Coleus ampoinicus)
- Tulip and Narcissus bulbs (Tulipa and Narcissus sp.)
- Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
- Yew (Taxus sp.)
Caitlin Boyle is a writer from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her hobbies include trail running and planning fantasy vacations. She has two dogs, Maggie and James, and a cat that believes he’s a dog, Ferguson.