Peace lilies are a favorite household plant. In some climate zones, these plants are a beautiful addition to a garden. What many pet owners may not know is that these plants can be toxic to pets.
If you already have a peace lily, or are thinking about getting one and have pets, then this article is for you. The information here could protect your beloved pet from serious health problems.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic to Dogs?
Peace lilies are not listed as being poisonous. However, they do contain a certain compound that is considered a severe irritant. This compound can be found throughout the plant, even in the pollen. If the pollen is rubbed off on a dog’s paws, it often causes an irritating or even severe allergic reaction.
Another problem with allowing dogs near peace lilies is the plant, in a sense, is able to protect itself. Any broken or damaged part of the plant releases something referred to as raphides, which are calcium oxalate crystals.
They are sharp and thin, similar to needles on a cactus. Once contact with skin or fur is made there will be a type of inflammatory reaction. This can range from mild skin irritation to more severe symptoms.
Knowing what these symptoms are is important for your dog’s health if you have one or more peace lilies in your yard or home.
Symptoms of Peace Lily Toxicity in Dogs
Since it is common for dogs to sniff, chew, or even brush up against plants, there is a chance that yours will eventually. It can happen even if you have the plant on a high shelf or protected by a fence in the yard. If you don’t want to get rid of the plant, it is important that you know the symptoms of toxicity in dogs.
The most common symptom is inflammation. It can occur on a dog’s muzzle when they sniff the plant. The mouth and throat can also become inflamed. This is common if a dog bites a leaf off. Even sniffing the plant can cause irritation. A dog’s paw pads can become sore.
Some of the signs that your dog is experiencing inflammation in one or more of those areas are limping, trouble swallowing, loss of appetite and constantly rubbing their muzzle. Your dog might also whimper or whine more frequently.
Some symptoms are considered minor, while others can be more severe. Vomiting, diarrhea, and even excessive drooling are a few of these, along with difficulty breathing. Drooling usually goes away once the inflammation has subsided.
Generally, in a few days. Diarrhea and vomiting can be more worrisome, since your dog is running the risk of dehydration. Breathing problems are usually caused by throat irritation and might warrant a call to your vet.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you’ll want to know how to best treat them.
Treating Peace Lily Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog’s symptoms seem to be mild, mainly not having trouble breathing, the first step is to check its’ mouth for any remaining leaves, stems, or flowers. Try to get your dog to drink water, to help rinse out its mouth.
If your dog won’t drink or allow you to rinse out its’ mouth, try feeding it ice chips. Ice cream is also another option, just make sure that it is not chocolate. Very few dogs will say no to ice cream. It will help cool the inflammation and rinse any parts of the plant out.
There is not much you can do for inflamed paw pads, other than clean and rinse them with water.
In most cases, if a dog is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea it usually clears up in 24 to 48 hours. If these symptoms do persist longer, you should contact your vet.
Breathing problems are serious. If the throat is severely inflamed, you need to go to the vet. Anti-inflammatory medications and steroids are the most common treatment and generally begin working almost immediately. Rarely will you need to leave the animal overnight but you will probably have to continue the prescribed medication for a few days at home.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic to Cats?
Cats are notoriously curious animals. It often seems like nothing is off-limits to them. Whether it is sniffing and rubbing against something or taking a bite out of a plant. Often this behavior is amusing and mildly annoying. However, their curiosity can get cats into serious trouble.
Our feline friends often like to nibble on greenery. They aren’t picky, often any plant will do. Unfortunately, if you have a peace lily this could be dangerous to the cat.
Peace lilies are beautiful plants that are also easy to grow. This makes them extremely popular in homes and gardens. They can even survive neglect and still thrive in their environment. Peace lilies also contain calcium oxalate crystals. They are released by the plant through pollen or when a cat bites the leaf or stem. These crystals are sharp and will cause inflammation.
Anyone that owns both a cat and a peace lily should know what symptoms to watch out for.
Symptoms of Peace Lily Toxicity in Cats
For most cats, their symptoms from peace lily toxicity won’t be too severe. Their lips, tongue and mouth will usually show signs of irritation. Look for redness and swelling in these areas. Your cat might also start drooling excessively, in an attempt to get rid of the irritant.
Other symptoms that might be considered more severe are vomiting, diarrhea, and problems swallowing. One sign of severe toxicity in cats is trouble breathing. If you suspect or know that your cat has been in your peace lily, this is a symptom you definitely want to watch out for.
The age of your cat can also determine symptom severity. Kittens and senior cats might be at a greater risk for the more troubling symptoms.
Knowing the symptoms of peace lily toxicity is the first step. The next is being able to properly treat your cat.
Treating Peace Lily Poisoning in Cats
Treating poisoning from peace lilies in your cat is usually simple. You might get bitten or scratched but it is better than letting the cat suffer through the irritation.
You will want to cleanse the cat’s mouth. Pull out any plant debris that might be in there. You also want to try and rinse out their mouth with water. Most cats aren’t thrilled to have this done so you might have to get a helping hand from a friend or family member. They can help hold the cat during the process. It is also a good idea to rinse off their paws.
One thing you do not want to do is induce vomiting. This can make the symptoms worse. If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea for more than a couple of days, you should contact your vet. This also applies to problems breathing. In this case, you will want to go to the vet for a check-up and possible medication.
Tips and Tricks to Protect Cats From Toxicity
Any cat owner knows that simply putting something in a high place will not keep a determined feline from getting to it. This also applies to any poisonous plants you might have in the yard. A simple garden fence will not keep a cat out.
There are a few things you can do to keep your cat away from your peace lily. You will still have to keep an eye on both the plant and the cat but it can lessen their risk of being exposed to it.
Cayenne pepper has long been a friend to any gardener that wants to keep animals away from their plants. You do need to keep reapplying it every few days but it does work well as a natural deterrent. Citrus peels are another deterrent. Cats do not like the smell of citrus and will stay away.
If you don’t mind the look, cover your indoor plant with some type of screening. Mesh and chicken wire works great. Another trick is to place double-sided sticky tape around the pot. After the cat gets the tape on its’ paws a few times, most likely it will give up on trying to get to the plant.
Finally, you can spray the cat with water every time it goes for the plant. You will have to pay attention and this type of training does work best with younger cats.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic to Birds?
You might think that your pet bird is safe in your home. It has a perch, food, water and is safe from predators. All of this is true but if you have a peace lily, this gorgeous plant could be putting your feathered friend at risk.
Peace lilies aren’t only toxic to animals but birds as well. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, also known as raphides. They are small, sharp and cause inflammation when contact with skin is made. Anyone that has a peace lily and a house bird should know what symptoms to watch out for.
Symptoms of Peace Lily Toxicity in Birds
There are several symptoms related to peace lily toxicity in birds. Most will require you to contact a vet. Some common symptoms include redness around the eyes, beak, and inside the mouth. These often aren’t severe if caught early enough.
Other symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, falling off of their perch, lack of appetite, and even convulsions.
These symptoms may sound scary and they can be. The size of the bird and the amount of plant that was eaten usually determine which symptoms and the severity of them your bird will exhibit.
If you have a peace lily in your home with your bird, you should know what to do if the bird comes into contact with the plant.
Treating Peace Lily Poisoning in Birds
Unfortunately, due to the smaller size of most house birds and their sensitive digestive systems, most peace lily poisonings will require attention from a vet. There are a few things that you can do if the symptoms are only redness from irritation.
You will want to rinse your bird’s eyes out with water. Try to get the bird to open its’ beak to check for any bits of plant matter. It will also help if you are able to get your bird to drink. Finally, give the bird a bath to remove any lingering irritants that might be in its’ feathers.
Keep a close eye on your bird for the next several hours. If minors symptoms do not disappear or severe ones are present, you will want to contact your vet immediately.
Tips and Tricks to Protect Birds From Toxicity
There are a few ways you can protect your bird and keep your plant, other than keeping your bird constantly in its’ cage. If the peace lilies are outside, you don’t have to worry. Indoors, you will need to take steps.
One of the easiest ways is to keep the plant and bird separate. Put the plant in a closed-door room when the bird is out of its’ cage. You can also limit the area of your home where the bird is allowed to go.
Covering the plant with mesh can also work. You still have to be careful, since the bird can still perch on the mesh. Some birds can even be trained to avoid certain things in the home but this takes time and you can still never be sure that it won’t get to the plant.
Final Thoughts on Peace Lilies and Pets
It is possible to have this toxic plant and keep your furry and feathered friends safe. It will take some vigilance on your part and using some deterrent methods. You also now know what to look for if your pet was exposed.
As always, if in doubt, don’t hesitate to get in contact with your local vet if your pet’s symptoms worsen after eating a peace lily.
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