Are Cannas Poisonous to Dogs?

by Betty Lewis
You can enjoy those cannas even more knowing they're safe for Pal.

You can enjoy those cannas even more knowing they're safe for Pal.

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Cannas are often referred to as "canna lilies," though they aren't lilies. In the Cannaceae family, cannas grow from rhizomes. True lilies, of the Liliaceae family, grow from bulbs and rhizomes. Cannas resemble lilies and spread through your garden. Combined with some lilies, they can provide a colorful, safe landscape.

Canna Lily

Canna lilies (Canna generalis) are beautiful flowers, adding bright splashes of red, orange and yellow to your garden. Available in dwarf and regular varieties, they can provide interesting architectural elements to your garden, too, ranging from as small as 30 inches tall to as large as 8 feet tall. Regardless of the size or color you choose, you can rest easy if you go with this summer bloomer. The ASPCA lists canna lilies as nontoxic to dogs, so if Pal takes a bite, he'll be fine.

Other Safe Lilies

If you're partial to lilies, you have a few other options for your garden, in addition to the canna. Stargazer lilies (Lilium orientalis) are not only beautiful but they carry a delicious fragrance. Tiger lilies (Lilium tigrinum), red lilies (Lilium umbellatum), Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum), day lilies (Hemerocallis), and rubrum lilies (Lilium speciosum) are other dog-friendly choices for your yard. Though Pal won't suffer if he nibbles those lilies, they're toxic to cats, causing reactions ranging from lethargy and vomiting to kidney failure. If Pal has a feline friend outside, the sand lily (Leucocrinum montanum) is a beautiful choice that's nontoxic to cats and dogs.

Lilies to Avoid

The peace lily, or Spathiphyllum, isn't so peaceful for Pal. Its toxic effects can cause irritation in his mouth, intense burning, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling and vomiting. The pretty lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) isn't pretty for any pup, potentially leading to vomiting, disorientation, seizures and irregular heart beat. Like the canna, the beautiful calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), isn't really a lily. A member of the Araceae family, it has a similar effect as the peace lily. Use the bright orange color of the fire lily, or Hippeastrum, as caution to stay away: its effects include vomiting and diarrhea. If Pal eats large amounts of this, or gets to the bulb, it can be particularly poisonous, causing low blood pressure, tremors, convulsions and cardiac arrhythmia.

Eating Bad Lilies

If you catch Pal noshing on a lily, keep an eye on him even if it's on the nontoxic list. He may experience an upset tummy from ingesting the greenery, similar to the effect he may feel when he eats grass. If he gets hold of one of the toxic lilies, get him and the plant to the vet. The vet will determine appropriate treatment, such as whether to induce vomiting or administer activated charcoal to decontaminate your pup. Early treatment improves his prognosis.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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