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Help! My Dog Just Ate A Lily! Are All Types Toxic To Dogs?

Are you trying to figure out whether lilies are dog-safe in your garden or around the house? Should you be concerned if your dog ate one? Veterinarian Holly Anne Hills looks at the possible health risks, what to do if your dog eats one of these toxic flowers, and when it's time to contact your local vet.

Holly Anne Hills

Last Updated: March 16, 2022 | 6 min read

Cute funny Jack Russell Terrier pet dog puppy smelling an orange lily flower

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not serve as a substitute for a discussion with a trained professional. If your dog ate this flower and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

As pet parents, we all want to keep our dogs safe in their homes and out and about. There are lots of safe, pet-friendly plants that won’t cause any harm to your pup, but it’s essential to be aware of the ones that are dangerous and what to do if your furry friend gets his paws on them.

We often enjoy the strong and delightful smell of lilies, with their bold and beautiful flowers, but they may lead you to wonder, “are lilies poisonous to dogs?”

The simple answer to this is yes. Lilies are poisonous to dogs. Some species are more toxic than others, but as a general rule, all types of lilies could be harmful to pets. Let’s walk through the different types of lilies and their potential dangers.

Which Lily Plants Are Poisonous to Dogs?

Lilies contain alkaloids, which cause damage to red blood cells. In cats, ingestion of lilies can cause organ failure and even death, but in dogs, this is rare. However, lilies can cause a very upset tummy and other problems. But with such a range of lily plants out there, are all types of lilies toxic?

All types of lilies could make your pup very sick. Some species are highly toxic, while others are more harmless.

Non-Toxic Varieties

Non-toxic varieties of lilies include the Peruvian lily, tiger lily, day lily, and Easter lily. These lilies are not particularly dangerous to your pet and are unlikely to cause any problems. However, you should still keep a close eye on your dog as the lilies could irritate the gut lining, so you may notice some mild vomiting or diarrhea.

Toxic Varieties

Toxic lily species include the Prairie Lily (rain lily), Lily of the Valley, Peace Lily, Calla Lily, Glory Lily, Japanese Show Lily, Leopard Lily, and Stargazer Lily.

Calla and Peace Lilies are particularly toxic. They release calcium oxalate crystals when chewed, which can cause burning and irritation to the inside of the mouth, lips, and skin. While Lily of the Valley could trigger a change in your dog’s heartbeat called an arrhythmia, which can be fatal. Daylilies and Easter Lilies are unlikely to cause your dog any problems, but they may cause some mild tummy upsets, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Which Parts Of A Lily Plant Are Poisonous To Dogs?

Dog gazing a lily
All parts of the lily plant can be toxic to dogs—the flower, leaves, stems, roots, and bulbs.

The bulbs are especially poisonous, as this part of the plant contains toxic substances in higher concentrations. Pollen from lilies is not specifically harmful but can cause irritation and sneezing if inhaled.

Symptoms Of Lily Poisoning In Dogs

The symptoms of lily poisoning tend to start very quickly after ingestion, usually within the first two hours. However, symptoms can appear at any time within 24 hours, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog.

If your dog has only eaten a small amount of one of the non-toxic types of lilies, symptoms are usually mild, if there are any at all. An upset tummy—vomiting and diarrhea—is most common. Most dogs get better without the need for treatment, but if symptoms persist, then contact your veterinarian.

The main symptoms to look out for if your dog has eaten toxic lilies include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite (inappetence), abdominal pain, dehydration, change in the color of urine, seizures, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm), excessive drooling, and redness of the gums, mouth, and eyes. If your dog shows any of these symptoms after eating lilies, you should contact your veterinarian straight away.

Remember that not all dogs display every symptom, and the severity of the poisoning depends on what type of lilies your dog ate and how many, as well as the size and breed of your dog. Smaller dogs are more susceptible, whereas larger dogs need to eat more lilies to become very sick.

My Dog Ate A Lily – What Should I Do?

So, your pup has eaten lilies. What do you do now?

  • Remove the plant material from your pet and put it out of their reach or in the trash
  • Check what type of lilies your dog has eaten and how much may have been ingested. It can be helpful to take a photo of the plant to show the veterinarian, allowing them to assess the poison risk better.
  • If your dog has eaten a non-toxic lily, then monitor him closely and contact your vet for advice
  • If your pet has eaten one of the poisonous types of lily plants, contact your veterinarian right away and get your dog checked out at the clinic. This is particularly important if they are already showing symptoms of lily poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence, abdominal pain, dehydration, change in the color of urine, seizures, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm), excessive drooling, or redness of the gums, mouth, and eyes.

Will My Dog Be Okay If He Ate A Lily?

Identify The Type Of Lily

If your pup has got his paws on some lilies, it’s important to determine what type of lily he has eaten. Identifying the plant, or taking a photo of it, can help your veterinarian assess the risk of poisoning and what treatment is necessary. Vets often contact specialist poison services who have extensive knowledge of different poisons in pets and can advise on the most suitable treatment.

If it has been less than two hours since your dog ate lilies, your vet may want to make him vomit so that he brings up all the plant material before it is digested. Your pup might also be prescribed some activated charcoal to prevent toxins from being absorbed from the gut.

Monitor For Symptoms

Mild tummy upsets are common after eating lilies and tend to clear up on their own without treatment. But if symptoms persist, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to make your pup feel better. If your pet is showing any symptoms of lily poisoning, then treatment is recommended and usually includes blood tests, IV fluid therapy to maintain hydration and support the liver and kidneys, as well as medication to prevent symptoms such as vomiting or seizures.

Prognosis

The prognosis for dogs that have eaten lilies depends on how severely they are affected. For mild tummy upsets or dogs who vomited quickly after eating lilies, it’s rare to experience further issues. However, in severe cases of lily poisoning, the prognosis may be more guarded depending on whether there is any organ damage. Deaths from lily poisoning in dogs are very rare.

How Do I Prevent My Dog From Eating Lilies?

Cute little beagle puppy with lilies
How do you stop your pup from getting his paws on your plants?

Although many plants in our homes and gardens are safe for our pets, others, like lilies, can be harmful. So, it’s best not to encourage our furry friends to eat plant material as they cannot differentiate between the safe and poisonous ones.

You’re probably wondering why it is that your pup likes to eat your plants? Usually, this is a behavioral issue caused by boredom or lack of exercise. It can also be a great way of getting your attention. If your pup has a habit of tearing up your flower beds, it’s worth looking at his diet and exercise regime, and if you aren’t sure, then your veterinarian can help you here.

Calling your dog away from plants and rewarding him with a high-quality reward should help to reinforce the positive behavior. Fencing off parts of the garden, especially when pups are young and exploring the world with their mouths, can be helpful too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which flowers are poisonous to dogs?

Plants poisonous to dogs include azalea, bluebells, daffodil bulbs, daylilies, foxgloves, hyacinth, hydrangea, ivy, nightshade, rhododendron, sweet pea, tulip bulbs, wisteria, and yew. You can find a full list of poisonous plants here.

Are all lilies poisonous to dogs?

Yes, lilies are poisonous to dogs. Some species can be more toxic than others, but all lilies could cause your pet to become unwell.

Which lilies are poisonous to dogs?

The types of lilies that are poisonous to dogs include prairie lilies, lily of the valley, peace lilies, and calla lilies. There are many species of lily plants, and others can be toxic too. If your pet has eaten lilies, try to identify them or take a photo to help your veterinarian assess the risk of poisoning.

Can lilies kill dogs?

Lilies are poisonous to dogs. Some of the more toxic types of lily could make your dog very ill, and if not treated quickly, it can be life-threatening, although death from lily poisoning in dogs is very rare.

Final Thoughts

All types of lilies can be dangerous for dogs, but some species are more poisonous than others. So it’s best to keep all of these plants out of your pup’s reach. If your dog has eaten lilies, check what type he has eaten to help your veterinarian assess your pet’s risk of poisoning.

Your dog should be checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible after eating lilies, as prompt treatment can prevent serious complications. Most dogs are fine after eating lilies and only suffer a minor upset tummy, but severe illness can occur, so it’s always best to be safe and check with your vet.

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