There are some misconceptions about whether peace lilies are toxic.
The truth is that peace lilies are generally more toxic to pets than humans. However, children and adults can also experience irritation from ingesting this plant or its pollen.
Below, we will explain the toxicity of peace lilies to cats, dogs, and humans. We’ll also dive into the symptoms that can appear for both people and animals when ingesting or coming into contact with the plant.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic for Dogs?
Peace lilies – as a member of the Araceae plant family – contain toxins (calcium oxalate crystals) in their stems, blooms, leaves, and pollen. This toxin is particularly irritating for dogs if they ingest it, whether by licking the plant or actually eating some of it. In fact, the ASPCA actually classifies this plant as toxic to dogs and cats.
Some of the side effects a dog may experience from this toxin include:
- Swelling in the mouth or throat
- Mild to severe inflammation
- Mild to excessive drooling
- Stomach upset (diarrhea or vomiting)
- Trouble breathing
This is why it’s recommended that dog owners keep these plants out of reach from their pets.
It’s important to note that this toxin isn’t a deadly poison to canines and can usually be treated from home. However, you should always contact a veterinarian if symptoms become severe or persist.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic For Cats?
Peace lilies have practically the same level of toxicity for felines as they have for canines. Again, the calcium oxalates can easily get caught in a cat’s airway if they lick the peace lily pollen off their fur or paws.
Symptoms will likely worsen if your cat fully chews on or swallows parts of the plant. But you can ease the irritation by making sure your cat’s mouth is clean and that it’s getting enough hydration.
Luckily, the symptoms usually only entail a mild irritation for cats, and it isn’t likely to become fatal. On the other hand, real lilies are far more poisonous to cats and can lead to kidney failure or even death. But to be safe, you should keep both types out of reach for your furry friend and contact a vet if symptoms persist.
Peace Lily Toxicity For Humans
While peace lilies pose a mild to severe threat to cats and dogs, humans don’t have to worry so much. Humans (at least adult humans) are usually rational enough not to eat, lick, or consume their house plants. So the probability of getting poisoned from ingesting this plant is low.
Another factor that makes poisoning a low probability for humans is that we are generally larger than pets. This means that it would take a lot more of the plant for the toxicity to affect us.
However, if you do happen to ingest this plant or inhale pollen when tending to it, you could experience mild irritation. Symptoms may include burning or swelling in your mouth, tongue, lips, or throat. You might also experience some difficulty breathing as an allergic reaction.
But most of the time, this sensation only occurs or becomes severe when you’ve ingested a large quantity of the plant.
Toxicity For Children
Furthermore, while adults are usually aware enough not to ingest peace lilies, a child, toddler, or baby won’t have the same inhibitions. And since children are so much smaller than adults, their sensitivity to the calcium oxalates in peace lilies is much higher.
Your child could experience an allergic reaction on the skin, such as itching or breaking out. Or, they might experience stomach upsets, such as bouts of diarrhea or vomiting as their body rejects the toxins.
This is why parents should keep their peace lilies out of their children’s reach. Why not minimize the risk of any possible poisoning if a curious toddler stuck a peace lily leaf in their mouth.
Treating Peace Lily Poisoning
If you, your child, or your pet does ingest part of a peace lily for some reason, there are ways to alleviate the problem at home.
If your dog or cat has ingested or licked the plant, you should first attempt to remove any residue or plant matter from their mouth. You can also clean out their mouth and paws with water so they don’t ingest any more toxins.
The toxins may cause symptoms of burning or irritation. If so, you can provide your pet or child with something cold to suck on or drink. Some parents even like to give their children ice cream to eat to bring down swelling naturally.
But when it comes to swelling and inflammation, a dog, cat, or child may need to go to the vet/doctor for anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids. Take action if you notice that the swelling isn’t going away or that a skin rash gets worse following ingestion.
Minimizing The Risk
While peace lilies are toxic in certain ingested amounts, you can minimize the poisoning risk for pets and children in your home. Make sure to keep peace lilies and their pots far out of reach of small children and pets that might be tempted to eat them. High shelves, tall planters, or even separate rooms for house plants are all viable options.
Are peace lilies toxic? These plants aren’t as toxic as actual lilies. However, they can cause allergic reactions and irritations in dogs, cats, and children if ingested.
Symptoms such as inflammation, upset stomach, and skin rash may occur. Contact a veterinarian or doctor for additional advice and treatment if these symptoms persist and worsen.