Lilies aren’t just dangerous to cats—they pose a risk to dogs, too.
While lethal lily poisonings are rare in dogs, lilies are still considered to be poisonous to our canine companions. You should be aware of lily toxicity in dogs so you can help keep your pets protected.
Here’s everything you need to know about lily poisoning in dogs, including the types of toxic lilies, signs of lily toxicity and treatment methods.
Which Types of Lilies Are Poisonous to Dogs?
Steer clear of lilies in general when choosing plants for your garden or indoor décor. While not all types of lilies are highly toxic to dogs, the majority of lilies can cause an upset tummy or other uncomfortable reactions.
Lilies That Are Toxic for Dogs
Prairie Lily (Rain Lily): These types of lilies can be poisonous to dogs. The bulbs of these lilies are the most poisonous part of the plant and can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal (GI) upset in dogs.
Lily of the Valley: This plant contains cardio glycosides, which are gastrointestinal irritants. If a dog eats the leaves, flower or root of this lily, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, slowed heart rate, severe heart arrhythmias, seizures and, in severe cases, even death.
Peace Lily: The peace lily plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are absorbed into the skin tissue and cause mouth and GI tract irritation. If a dog chews on any part of this plant, the crystals can cause intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips. It can also cause excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Calla Lily: Similar to the peace lily, the calla lily also contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. Even just a nibble of this plant can lead to exposure to the crystals and adverse symptoms. The crystals can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting and a decreased appetite.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested or chewed on any of these types of lilies, take them to your veterinarian.
Nontoxic Types of Lilies
The Peruvian lily, tiger lily, daylily and Easter lily are all classified as nontoxic to dogs.
While these types of lilies may be classified as nontoxic, they can still cause unpleasant reactions in a dog. The introduction of any new, novel foods into any pet’s diet can cause GI upset.
At the end of the day, it is best to keep any plants in your home out of reach of your pets.
General Symptoms of Lily Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of lily poisoning in dogs will vary depending on which type of lily they got ahold of. If you are not sure which lily your dog ingested, the most common symptoms to look for include:
Pawing at the face due to oral irritation (limited to calla lilies and peace lilies)
Heart problems are possible with ingestion of lily of the valley
Symptoms will often start within two hours of ingestion, so if you start to notice your pup displaying these signs, it is time to call your veterinarian.
Treatment will depend upon how long ago the ingestion occurred, what type of lily it was and your dog’s clinical signs.
If you are certain the ingestion occurred within an hour and you can’t get to the vet quickly, your veterinarian may recommend that you induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide to help remove the irritants. Call your veterinarian prior to inducing vomiting, and let them prescribe the correct and safe dose.
If you can get your dog to veterinarian quickly, the vet can safely administer hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine. Apomorphine works like an eye drop and induces vomiting in dogs.
If it has been over an hour since ingestion, a veterinarian may administer activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins and remove them from the body. Blood work will likely need to be evaluated to watch for any organ toxicity.
Additional medications to protect the GI tract and organs may be administered, along with IV fluids to dilute the poison that may have been absorbed.
Ingesting most lilies won’t necessitate hospitalization for dogs; however, lily of the valley is the most likely exception. In these cases, hospitalization for a day or two may be recommended.
By: Laci Schaible, DVM, CVJ
Featured Image: iStock.com/Bogdan Kurylo