Lily poisoning in dogs

Lily poisoning in dogs usually causes mouth irritation and tummy upsets. Unlike cats, lily poisoning does not cause life-threatening kidney failure in dogs. There are plants with ‘lily’ in the name that are not true lilies but are more dangerous to dogs. Call a vet immediately if you think your dog has eaten any part of a lily.

Lilies are beautiful flowers. They’re extremely popular in bouquets and gardens across the country. But toxins contained in all parts of the plant can cause tummy upsets in dogs. Most dogs make a full recovery with prompt supportive treatment. However, some plants with ‘lily’ in the name are more poisonous. These can cause severe gastrointestinal upsets or life-threatening heart abnormalities in dogs. Call a vet without delay if you think your dog has eaten any lily and take the plant or a photo to help identify it.



What is lily poisoning in dogs?

Different families of lilies vary in the severity of poisoning they cause.

Plants with lily in the name, but not strictly part of the lily family:

  • More harmful to dogs than true lilies.
  • Lily of the Valley causes abnormalities in your dog’s heart rate or rhythm. This can be life-threatening irregular heart rhythms in dogs.
  • Roots or tubers of the Gloriosa or Flame lily contain enough toxins to cause multiple organ failure and death. These plants are uncommon in the UK.

Lily families:

  • Peace lilies and Calla lilies: the leaves, flower and roots cause irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips and throat. All parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals don’t dissolve and cause intense irritation if your dog licks or chews the plant.
  • The ‘True lily’ and ‘Daylily’ family, such as Easter lilies, Stargazer lilies, Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, and Tiger lilies: cause tummy upsets.


All lilies can cause illness in your dog. The outlook depends on how much they have eaten. Speak to a vet right away if your dog eats lilies.


What are the symptoms of lily poisoning in dogs?

Symptoms of lily poisoning in dogs usually begin within 1-2 hours of ingestion. Specific symptoms will depend on the type of lily your dog has eaten.

Lily of the Valley

Peace-lily and Calla-lily

  • Symptoms of burning sensation and severe irritation of mouth, tongue and throat.
  • Drooling and lip smacking
  • Pawing at the face
  • Retching and gagging
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

True lilies and Daylilies

  • Mild tummy upset
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting



Which dogs are most at risk of lily poisoning?

Any dog who ingests part of a lily is at risk of poisoning. There’s no breed, age or sex predisposition.

Lifestyle, personality and home factors present the greatest risks:

  • Dogs who like to chew things, such as toys, sticks or plants.
  • Dogs who range freely off-lead or in gardens.
  • Living with owners unaware of the risks:  lilies in the house or grown in the garden.



How do vets diagnose lily poisoning in dogs?

Where there has been known exposure to lilies, vets can diagnose toxicity based on the history and symptoms.

Further tests to check the severity of poisoning may include:


Vet treatment

How do vets treat lily poisoning in dogs?

There is no antidote to lily poisoning. Call a vet as soon as you suspect your dog has ingested any amount of lily plant or pollen. Take the lily or a photo to your vet to help them identify how poisonous it is.

Vet treatment within 0-2 hours of ingestion:

  • An injection to empty your dog’s tummy (emesis)
  • Activated charcoal to prevent absorption of any more toxins from the gut

Dogs showing symptoms of lily poisoning or too late for emesis:

  • Lots of fluids by mouth or into your dog’s vein
  • Anti-sickness medication
  • Medication to protect the stomach and intestine
  • Hospitalisation for observation and treatment of sicker patients, in case of Lily of the Valley poisoning


Home treatment

Caring for a dog with lily poisoning at home

There are no home remedies for dogs with severe poisoning symptoms. Urgent veterinary care is the only option.

Do not try to make your dog sick at home. The internet may be full of suggestions. But these are dangerous to dogs and risk life-threatening caustic burns, choking, asphyxia and aspiration pneumonia.

If your dog has eaten any type of lily:

  • Remove them from danger immediately
  • Call a vet
  • Rinse their mouth with cool, clean water if they show signs of mouth irritation


Lily poisoning cannot pass from one dog to another or from dogs to humans. However, all pets exposed to lilies are equally at-risk. Lilies are extremely dangerous to cats.



How to prevent lily poisoning in dogs

The safest way to protect all dogs is to understand the risks and keep lilies out of their environment.

  • Received a floral bouquet with lilies? Remove the lilies completely. Dispose of any water they arrived in. And rinse the stems of the remaining flowers before filling a vase with fresh water.
  • Lilies in the garden? If your dog roams outdoors or spends time in the garden, remove any existing lily plants.
  • Avoid exercising your dog off-lead where they eat plants or dig under soil to expose (and chew!) plant roots.


When to worry

When to worry about lily poisoning in dogs

Find your nearest vet if your dog is:

  • Collapsed and not responding to you
  • Having seizures after a sudden illness
  • Suddenly very weak or unsteady, with pale gums


Call a vet immediately if your dog is:

  • Known or suspected to have ingested any part of a lily.
  • Drooling or vomiting, especially with blood.
  • Looking paler than usual and more tired.


Joii can help with:

  • Recognising dangers and poisons for dogs
  • Recognising and treating common causes of vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Support for unexpected pet bereavement
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