Easter Lilies and 10 Other Household Items That Are Toxic to Your Pet

March is Pet Poison Prevention & Awareness Month. While it’s always important to pet-proof your home, spring is a good time to remind everyone of the dangers of toxic plants and other household items that could be harmful to pets.

Between spring cleaning, spring holiday celebrations, and increased use of floral or chemical garden items, it’s essential to remember that many of these products, foods, and plants, while harmless to humans, can be toxic, even lethal, to your furry family members.

Easter Lilies

One item we see in abundance during the spring holiday season is the use of Easter lilies for decor, gardening, or floral gifting. Known also as Lilium longiflorum, part of the Liliaceae family, Easter lilies are extremely toxic to cats. If ingested, even a small amount of the flowers, leaves or pollen can result in kidney failure and death in cats.

Signs and symptoms your cat may have ingested Easter lilies can include vomiting, diarrhea, hiding or depression, dehydration or decreased drinking habits, lack of eating and changed urination habits (increased OR decreased).

While Easter lilies may not be as toxic to dogs, they can cause digestive discomfort. Older dogs, or dogs already suffering from a medical issue, may be more susceptible to toxin-induced symptoms including diarrhea, dehydration or lack of drinking, diarrhea, and vomiting. Ingestion of Easter lilies in large amounts may also result in digestive obstruction, requiring surgical removal of the blockage.

With any pet, there is also the hidden risk that pesticides or other gardening chemicals may have been used on commercially sold plants, increasing the chance of pet illness if ingested.

Diagnostics and treatment for Easter lily ingestion-related symptoms and illness may include blood count work, fecal examination, urinalysis, intravenous hydration, and prescription medications.

If you suspect your pet has ingested Easter lilies or other toxic substances, they will require immediate treatment. Boundary Bay is open 24/7 for emergencies; we are  VECCS Level 1 certified, and are capable of handling even the most critical, life-threatening emergencies and trauma, with specialists on staff and on-call to handle any medical or surgical issue. 

Please come directly to our hospital, no appointment required. If you have time, please call us to let us know you’re on the way at (604) 514-8383.


In addition to Easter lilies, here is our list of the top 10 household items that are poisonous to your pets:
1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

The most common cause of pet illness and death by poisoning, OTC toxicity in cats and dogs is most frequently caused by cold medications, pain relievers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen), vitamins and minerals. With the legalization of cannabis in many areas, there has also been a sharp rise in pets suffering from marijuana toxicosis. In addition, many cannabis products are mixed with baked goods or candy which contain other toxic ingredients such as xylitol or chocolate.

2. Prescription Medications

The second most common pet toxin, prescription medications are known to cause digestive issues and kidney failure in pets. These prescriptions can include, but are not limited to medications for ADHD, depression, and cardiac issues.

3. Chocolate

Like Easter lilies, chocolate has a traditional presence in the home during the Easter holiday, but this treat is also toxic to your pets. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), there is more than 1 case every 15 minutes of chocolate-induced pet illness, or over 103 cases per day.

The higher the cocoa content within the chocolate, the worse it is for your furry friend. No bites or licks allowed!

4. Human Food

While there is a wide range of human foods veterinarians advise against sampling or feeding to your pet, top-of-list examples would be garlic, grapes, onions, protein bars, protein shakes, raisins and xylitol (a sweetener often found in gum and candy).

5. Plants

Aside from Easter lilies, other plants you should keep away from pets include Aloe Vera, Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane Plants), Caladium (Elephant Ear), Ivy, Jade, Lilies (in general), and Zamoculcas plants.

6. Household Chemicals

Keep your pets away from common cleaning ingredients and products such as ammonia, bleach, chlorine, formaldehyde, glycol ethers, paints and spackles.

7. Veterinary Products

Misuse or accidental over-ingestion of calming treats, incontinence medications and pain medications can cause issues in pets. Refer to your veterinarian’s instructions for proper use and storage.

8. Rodenticides

Ingestion of common chemical baits meant for killing mice and rodents are known to cause bleeding, kidney failure and seizures in household pets.

9. Insecticides

Like rodenticides, chemical insecticides are harmful to pets when directly or indirectly ingested.

10. Garden Products

While nourishing for plants, fertilizer ingredients such as bone meal, blood meal or feather meal could attract pets, especially canines but ingestion would be toxic.

Additionally, you should refrain from the presence or usage of slug bait as ingestion can be life threatening to any animal, not just cats and dogs.

What to Do If You Suspect Pet Toxicity or Poisoning

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, or your pet is exhibiting any unusual signs or symptoms – such as drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures, or loss of consciousness – bring them to an emergency veterinarian right away.

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Critical Hospital is open 24/7/365 for pet emergencies. Visit our emergencies page for more information.


Additional Pet Poisoning Resources

24-hour emergency poison hotlines:

24/7 Animal Poison Control Center at 1-855-764-7661 or

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 1-888-426-4435 (fees may apply)


Other helpful articles and websites:

BC SPCA – Pet Poison Prevention

Ontario SPCA – Poisoning Prevention for your Pet

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Animal Toxicology and Poison Control

AMA – How to Keep Your Pets Safe From Poisons



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