Lilies are iconic flowers that brighten up gardens, homes, and roadsides. But while some are safe for a dog to eat, others can wreak havoc.
There's a lot of confusion when it comes to what's toxic to your pup and what's not. As a responsible pet owner, it's important to know the difference and how to react if your pooch decides to nibble on lilies.
True lilies are perennial bulb flowers found all over the world. Originating from temperate and tropical climates, they've adapted well to colder zones. Growing up to six feet tall, they're a prominent plant usually displaying horn- or bell-shaped flowers. There are other flowers with the common name "lily," but if they don't fit this physical classification, they aren't true lilies.
It's well known that lilies have the stigma of being toxic. Though this is true for cats, dogs don't have the same reaction. Many lilies are safe for your puppy as well as other animals. But don't get comfortable with the idea of letting your dog snack on a lily because a few varieties can still cause harm.
There are many varieties of true lilies that aren't poisonous to dogs. Common types include Easter, tiger, Japanese show, stargazer, and spider lilies. Daylilies aren't considered true lilies, but they're also deemed non-toxic to pups. Happy returns, country melody, red volunteer, and bright sunset are among the more popular daylilies.
Peace and calla lilies, in particular, pose a problem to dogs because of their calcium oxalate crystals. Calcium oxalate is a microscopic crystalline that can't dissolve in water. If consumed, it will cause inflammation, irritation, and pain from the lips to the stomach.
Prairie and gloriosa lilies are the most common poisonous lilies. They both contain an excessive amount of toxins in the portions of the plants that are below the soil. This can be especially dangerous for curious dog breeds that like to dig.
Most instances of lily poisoning aren't a cause for alarm. They resemble many other mild symptoms of illness, including nausea, vomiting, weakness, hiding, diarrhea, and drooling. Usually, these ailments will pop up about two hours after ingestion and run their course in a day or two. Extreme symptoms such as breathing difficulty, liver damage, and kidney failure will rarely occur.
Lily of the valley is an entirely different monster. It's a smaller plant that isn't related to the lily at all, and it can be deadly.
Containing cardiac glycosides, the lily of the valley causes heart problems in addition to the typical toxicity symptoms. Cardiac arrhythmia and seizures aren't uncommon outcomes. Out of anything that carries the lily title, the lily of the valley has the highest potential to be fatal.
Your first line of defense against lily poisoning is knowledge. Knowing if your plant is toxic or not will help you make the right decisions. If your pal ate a non-toxic variety, monitor the situation. But even if they ate a poisonous type, it isn't the end of the world.
Call your vet if your dog is showing symptoms of poisoning. If they ate lily of the valley, pick up the phone immediately and don't wait for signs of illness. Most importantly, don't panic, as this will put both you and your pet in an agitated state. Keep in mind that successful treatment options are available.
It's not uncommon for a vet to advise you over the phone without requiring a visit. Depending on the nature of the poisoning, the vet may want to see your dog. Take the eaten plant with you if possible since this helps gauge toxicity levels. Getting rid of the toxins by inducing vomiting or using activated charcoal is a standard remedy. IV fluids may also be used to rehydrate your pup. If they ingested lily of the valley, don't be surprised if the vet wants to keep your dog on-site for a few days for additional treatment and observation.
Since some lilies are fine for dogs, getting rid of them isn't a necessity. But it's best to be cautious with them if you own a dog. Indoors, your pup may be attracted to them, so donating these flowers to a pet-less friend or family member is a great option. If you want to keep your lilies, place them in an area your pooch can't reach.
Using a barrier on your outdoor lilies will ensure your dog's safety. Any type of sturdy dog-proof fencing or netting will work well. Plus, outside supervision is a must, especially if you have lily of the valley. These plants are small compared to true lilies, so a quick bite or two can happen instantly and go unnoticed if you aren't watching.
If you decide that keeping lilies isn't the route you want to take, this doesn't mean you'll lose out on having flower gardens and in-house floral arrangements. Many fantastic dog-friendly alternatives are available to beautify your space without jeopardizing your pup's health. African violets, zebra plants, orchids, Swedish ivy, and spider plants are all wonderful options to display in your home. You can go with roses, snapdragons, petunias, or pansies outside. Just remember that too much of anything isn't good for your dog. Make sure that your furry friend doesn't decide to treat your flowers as a buffet, or else they'll have a bellyache.
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