If your precious doggie has a habit of putting anything and everything into her mouth, the mere idea of poisonous plants outdoors is enough to make you bristle with anxiety. It's no wonder. In the diverse lily world, certain varieties can indeed be very dangerous for canine consumption.
Plants of the lily (Liliaceae) family are not usually toxic to dogs, however, there are certain exceptions, such as the lily of the valley plant. If your mischievous doggie somehow consumed a small amount of a lily, relax -- the plants aren't generally poisonous to canines. However, refrain from ever allowing him to eat any plants, including lilies, especially in bigger amounts. The ASPCA reports that even nontoxic plants can lead to minor tummy distress in dogs. Simply not worth it.
Lily of the Valley
Although the lily of the valley plant is part of the Liliaceae family, unlike most others, it actually is poisonous to doggies. The toxic component of the plant is convallarin, a type of glycoside that can trigger a variety of unpleasant symptoms in pets, including abnormal heartbeat, throwing up, convulsions, confusion, decreased blood pressure and even coma. Make sure your dog never goes near this plant, much less puts it into his mouth. If you have any reason to suspect ingestion, get veterinary attention immediately. Some identifying characteristics of the lily of the valley include elegant white, softly fragrant flowers; medium-green foliage; and height of between 6 inches and 1 foot. The plant typically blooms toward the end of the spring.
Just because the majority of lily plants are safe for dogs in no way means the same thing for cats. In fact, the ASPCA indicates that all plants from this family are 100 percent toxic to felines, from the orange day lily to the Easter lily and beyond. Remember that cats and dogs are not exactly alike. Lily consumption can be extremely serious business in kitties, occasionally leading to renal failure and death. Never allow your cat near any lilies, no matter what.
Some plants that have the word "lily" in their name are not part of the Liliaceae family and may be toxic to dogs, so beware. A couple such examples are the arum lily and the calla lily, both of which are from the Araceae family. Both plants are poisonous to dogs and cats alike, and can yield symptoms such as problems swallowing, throwing up, mouth irritation and salivation. Keep these away from your sweet pets at all times. Although the canna lily is part of the Cannaceae family rather than the Liliaceae family, it is neither poisonous to dogs nor cats.
- ASPCA: Animal Poison Control FAQ
- Pet Poison Helpline: Lily of the Valley
- ASPCA: Lily of the Valley
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Lovely Lilies and Curious Cats - A Dangerous Combination
- ASPCA: Lily
- ASPCA: Easter Lily
- ASPCA: Day Lilies
- ASPCA: Canna Lily
- ASPCA: Calla Lily
- ASPCA Professional: Beautiful Lilies - a Potential Cat-Astrophe
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images