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Easter Lilies and Dogs: Things You Should Know
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Easter Lilies and Dogs: Things You Should Know

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Apr 29, 2022

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Easter lilies are a vibrant symbol of spring and renewed life. A seasonal staple, they're a common display in many homes. But can this popular flower pose a threat to your pooch?

There's a certain amount of uncertainty when it comes to the toxicity of Easter lilies. So it's important to learn exactly what they are and how they can affect your dog.

1

What are Easter lilies?

Easter lily TakakoWatanabe / Getty Images

Easter lilies were originally native to Asia before being introduced to the North American west coast. Standing up to a few feet tall, they're stem-rooting and grow from bulbs. They have prominent horn-shaped white flowers that face outward and give off a soft, sweet fragrance. Typically, Easter lilies bloom from April through June.

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2

Dogs versus cats

dog and a small cat are sitting on a soft white pillow TatyanaGl / Getty Images

There's a common belief that lilies are poisonous to dogs. This isn't entirely accurate. Easter lilies are not specifically toxic to canines, but a number of other factors can come into play that may lead to a negative outcome.

As long as you're cautious, keeping healthy Easter lilies in a home with a pup is fine. But if you're also a cat owner, stay away from this plant. Easter lilies are extremely toxic to felines. It's unclear what the exact toxin is that affects cats only, but even ingesting a tiny amount of any portion of the Easter lily may cause kidney failure, leading to death.

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3

Dangers of dogs and Easter lilies

Dog lying on soft carpet alex_ugalek / Getty Images

Just because Easter lilies aren't poisonous to dogs doesn't mean they don't pose a threat. Like anything else, overindulgence will lead to problems. Depending on the size of your dog and the amount ingested, some nibbling may cause a mild to moderate bellyache. This is because a dog's digestive system isn't geared toward raw plant matter.

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4

Symptoms of eating Easter lilies

woman using her phone while her dog sleeps beside her recep-bg / Getty Images

Consuming a low amount isn't cause for alarm, and generally, no symptoms will manifest. But upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and tiredness are the classic signs of eating too much Easter lily. These symptoms may appear once your dog's system has had its fill.

There's no need to seek treatment if you're confident that an Easter lily was the culprit of these ailments. Usually, this sickness will run its course in a day or two. Just monitor your furry friend while they're ill and give them lots of love without being overbearing.

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5

Botrytis fungi

White Easter Lily Flowers Crystal Bolin Photography / Getty Images

Aside from the actual plant matter, Easter lilies can indirectly cause harm. This is because of the botrytis fungi, which is a gray mold. With over 40 varieties, botrytis fungi plagues many plants and foods. Across the board, it's harmful to animals and humans. Causing food poisoning, botrytis fungi can make your dog pretty sick. If you notice an abnormal gray substance on your Easter lily, don't leave anything to chance. Get rid of it immediately as the plant could be infected.

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6

Known chemicals and toxins

A finger presses the nozzle on an aerosol can causing a spray brazzo / Getty Images

Trying to contain an infection, disease, or infestation on an Easter lily isn't a good idea if you have pets. Most often, you'll have to use pesticides, fungicides, or insecticides. These chemicals can greatly harm your pooch, causing anything from mild symptoms to death.

As with the botrytis fungi, get rid of your Easter lily if there's anything out of the ordinary affecting the plant. It's simply not worth trying to save if doing so could potentially be fatal to an animal.

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7

When to call the vet

veterinarian carrying dog AJ_Watt / Getty Images

Get your pup to the hospital or vet's office quickly if you suspect any sort of chemical or food poisoning. If your dog is only showing mild bellyache symptoms, there's no need to consult the vet. But if you'd feel safer doing so, they'll likely give you some guidelines for care and monitoring. Follow these orders and contact them again if symptoms worsen.

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8

What about other lilies?

dog around lily of the valley field

As opposed to cats, most lilies aren't toxic to dogs. But there are a few types that pose a potential danger, and this is because they aren't true lilies. Sharing only the lily name and not the family, the most common in-home offenders are peace lilies and calla lilies, which contain calcium oxalate. These are microscopic crystals coating the plant, causing inflammation, pain, and tenderness from the lips to the stomach. In severe cases, calcium oxalate can close breathing passages.

Another false lily is the lily of the valley. This is by far the most deadly plant to carry the lily name. It contains life-threatening glycosides, which result in organ failure. Get your pet to the vet or hospital immediately if they consume lily of the valley. Treatment is available if caught early, though it may require a clinical stay.

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9

Not so friendly friends

Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana) garden Steve Satushek / Getty Images

When you think of springtime flowers, Easter lilies are just one of the plants that come to mind. Seasonal counterparts include daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. All three are poisonous to dogs, so stay away from them. They contain toxins throughout, though the highest concentration is in the bulbs. If you're shopping for a plant to display in your home, look into other flowers instead. Even outdoors, especially if your pup is a digger, it's a good idea to seek alternatives.

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10

Easter lily alternatives

Beautiful puppy Spitz sitting happy among the flowers of Petunia. PopoudinaSvetlana / Getty Images

If you know you have a curious pup who will get into your Easter lily no matter where you try to hide it, it's best not to keep the flower around the house. And if you're a cat owner, too, you should definitely find a springtime floral alternative. Roses and orchids are attractive options. Marigolds, petunias, and zinnias also work well.

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