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?
- Signs of a Reaction
- 10 Flowers You May Not Know Are Toxic to Pets
- Are Easter Lilies Poisonous to Dogs?
- What To Do If Your Dog Eats An Easter Lily
- Other Popular Spring Flowers that are Toxic to Dogs
- The Safest Spring Plants for Your Dog
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.
10 Flowers You May Not Know Are Toxic to Pets
Toxic to: cats, dogs
Toxin: Lycorine (strong properties that induce vomiting); crystals on bulbs that cause severe tissue irritation as well.
Symptoms: Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, drooling, abdominal pain. In severe cases can cause low blood pressure, abnormal breathing, convulsions and cardiac arrhythmias.
Toxic to: cats, dogs, humans
Toxin: Cardiac glycosides (affect the heart). All parts of the plant are considered toxic, including the water in the vase.
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, abnormal heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, weakness, collapse, tremors or seizures, cardiac failure, death.
Toxic to: cats, dogs, horses, cows
Toxin: Protoanemonin (irritates the mouth and GI tract). The flower part contains the most of this toxin.
Symptoms: Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, blisters in the mouth, weakness, depression, bloody urine, walking like they are drunk. Serious side effects are not very common because the bitter taste and oral blisters usually stop animals from eating them.
Toxic to: cats
Toxin: Exact toxin is unknown.
Safe lilies: Not all species of lily are toxic. Safe lilies include peace lilies, Peruvian lilies and calla lilies (however calla lilies can cause irritation to the mouth and esophagus if ingested).
Dangerous lilies: Tiger lilies, day lilies, Asiatic hybrid, Easter lilies, Japanese show lilies, rubrum lilies, stargazer lilies, red lilies, western lilies and wood lilies. These are all highly toxic and even ingesting a few petals/leaves or pollen/vase water can cause rapid kidney failure in cats.
**Important note: Lily of the valley (not a true lily) does not cause kidney failure but can still cause cardiac arrhythmias and death if ingested.
Toxic to: cats, dogs
Toxin: Tulipalin A & B, very concentrated in the bulbs.
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, depression, increased heart and respiratory rate, difficulty breathing.
Toxic to: cats, dogs, horses, cows, birds
Toxin: Diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents in the milky white sap.
Symptoms: Usually only mild vomiting or drooling. Rarely diarrhea. Sometimes exposure to the sap can irritate the skin as well. Eye exposure may also cause mild inflammation.
Toxic to: cats, dogs, horses
Toxin: Cyanogenic glycosides, higher concentration in the leaves and flowers.
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy/depression.
Toxic to: cats, dogs, horses
Toxin: Sesquiterpene, lactones, pyrethrins and other potential irritants
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, not eating, incoordination, irritated skin.
- Baby’s Breath
Toxic to: cats, dogs
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, not eating
Toxic to: cats, dogs, horses
Toxin: Paeonol, concentrated in the bark
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy.
If you suspect your pet has ingested one of these flowers or any other plants for that matter, it is important you call us at 388-8880 as soon as possible. Depending on time and amount that has been eaten, as well as the size of your pet, our vets will be able to give you a better idea of potential toxicity and if your pet should be seen right away.
Written by Stephanie, RVT
We all know that we need to keep our dogs away from the chocolate in our Easter baskets this week, but what about the Easter lilies in our holiday centerpieces? These popular flowers will make their appearance in many homes this season, so it’s important to ask—are Easter lilies poisonous to dogs?
Continue reading to discover if your spring flowers could pose a danger to your beloved pet.
Are Easter Lilies Poisonous to Dogs?
As you shop for holiday flowers this week, you may find yourself asking the question: “Are Easter lily plants poisonous to dogs?”
The short answer is NO. According to the ASPCA, Easter lilies are not poisonous to dogs.
Although they’re not lethal to dogs, Easter lilies can still cause intestinal discomfort if consumed in large quantities (like most things). Since a dog’s digestive system isn’t accustomed to processing large amounts of raw plant matter, your curious canine could experience an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you have cats, however, steer clear: the Easter lily plant is highly toxic to felines. If ingested, even in small amounts, Easter lilies can cause kidney failure in cats, and ultimately death.
Even though Easter lilies are not poisonous to dogs, there are several important things to keep in mind.
- Your dog can still get sick from any chemicals you spray on your plants, such as insecticides, fungicides, or pesticides.
- According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, Easter lilies are susceptible to Botrytis fungi. This fungus causes food poisoning in humans and can make your dog very sick.
- If your dog really goes to town while munching on this plant, he could suffer from intestinal obstruction as plant matter builds up.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats An Easter Lily
If your dog consumes a few Easter lily petals this holiday, you don’t need to be concerned. If he was extra greedy, though, look out for some of these symptoms:
- Vocalization of pain
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, bring him to the vet for further examination. He may have inadvertently ingested harmful chemicals or a plant infected with the Botrytis fungi.
Other Popular Spring Flowers that are Toxic to Dogs
So we have an answer to the question “are Easter lily plants poisonous to dogs?”
But what about other popular Easter flowers? Are there other spring flowers you should avoid to keep your dog safe this Easter?
First, it’s important not to confuse the Easter lily with other similar members of the lily family. While Easter lilies are not toxic to canines, both the Peace lily and the Calla lily pose a danger to dogs. If ingested, your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, or mouth pain.
Other popular spring flowers that could be toxic to your dog include:
1. Daffodils—the bulbs of these plants contain alkaloids, which are toxic to both cats and dogs.
2. Tulips—tulip bulbs are highly toxic, which poses a problem if your dog is a digger.
3. Sago Palms—One of the most poisonous plants, the Sago palm can cause liver failure and death in cats and dogs.
4. Lily of the Valley—these popular flowers contain glycosides, which can slow down—and even stop—your dog’s heartbeat.
5. Begonias—the stems of these plants can cause mouth irritation, drooling, and vomiting.
6. Foxglove—although it’s typically found outdoors, this popular spring flower can cause heart failure.
7. Rhododendrons—these flowers contain grayanotoxins, which can cause seizures and cardiac arrest in cats and dogs.
8. Oleander—all parts of this delicate flower are poisonous to cats, dogs, and even humans.
9. Buttercups—the dainty petals of this spring flower contain ranunculin, which produces the toxin protoanemonin.
10. Hyacinths—these flowers contain alkaloids, which are concentrated in the plant’s bulb.
Our database of poisonous plants is great resource for information about the toxicity level of different plants. Pet Poison Helpline runs a 24/7 pet poison control center, so it’s not a bad idea to put their number in your phone.
The Safest Spring Plants for Your Dog
Don’t worry—your home and garden don’t need to go undecorated with flowers this spring. There are plenty of safer floral alternatives that can brighten up your space without putting your dog at risk.
Consider one of these non-offending beauties to brighten up your space:
- Gerbera Daisies
At this time of year, there’s nothing more cheery than a lush spring floral arrangement. And while it’s imperative to be mindful of the potential risks posed by many popular plants, you and your pooch can definitely still enjoy the simple pleasure that spring flowers bring. Just select your flowers carefully, and enjoy the season!