Are Daylilies poisonous to dogs and Cats?

macthayer(z9a NV)July 11, 2009

I was just reading a brochure put out by the ASPCA, and titled "101 Thing You Didn't Know Could Harm Your Pet". In this brochure, it states that both Cats and Dogs can be poisoned by chewing on daylily plants and roots. I have two puppies who LOVE to chew on things, and have presented me with the root tags of more than one of my daylilies, plus have dug up more than one plant, and chewed on the leaves of others. So far, they are still living. But now I'm terrified! I don't want to lose my puppies, but I don't want to give up my daylilies either! I'll bet I have over 100 daylilies, and as one lady put it the other day, as I was showing her through my garden: "I thought daylilies only came in yellow." ( I have almost NO yellow -- just a couple of Happy Returns). Does anyone know anything about this, or where I can get more information? My dogs are just puppies, so yes, it would be great to say: "train them to stay away from the daylilies", and I suspect that will happen, as it did with our last dog. But they're still puppies now, and I'm worried. Has anyone else run across this, and if so, what did you do? MacThayer

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My 3 doxies and 2 cats have been happily romping in my daylilies for years and I have had no problems with any of them getting ill.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 3:14PM
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mizellie(z7 Al)

I don't know the answer to that but if all parts of a daylily are edible for humans, why would they hurt your pets. Our dog is forever eating and chewing on they ones I take up. It hasn't hurt him either...Ellie

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 3:15PM
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Ooo, Ooo, I can help with this one!

I have two Labs. Anyone who has ever had a Lab will tell you, they think everything in the world is supposed to go in their mouths.

Angus, my yellow Lab, ate so many inappropriate items when he was young it wasn't even funny. He finally ate something that caused a blockage, which required surgery to the tune of $2,000. Yikes!

Because of Angus, I have become VERY cautious about what I plant in the backyard. I have done some very serious research on toxic plants, up to and including purchasing a $100 book that is exclusively about plant toxicity, trying to get to the bottom of what is toxic and what is not.

I will paraphrase what is in the book about lilies. I was just re-reading that part this morning:

Lilies - including daylilies - are toxic to cats. :( According to my $100 book (I still can't believe I paid this much for a paperback book!):

"As little as one flower can cause kidney failure, resulting in death if not aggressively treated in the first 24 hours. Cats are the only known species affected, but perhaps it is just a matter of dosage."

That was my thought about daylilies...if they are that toxic to kitties, is it just that no cases have ever been reported in dogs? I have decided not to risk it, so I am just planting them in the front yard, where the dogs never are unless we are right there with them and they're on a leash.

I know a lot of you have kitties and you sure have lots of daylilies, Perhaps it really is dependent on dosage, and they have never eaten enough to affect them. And cats are not really notorious nibblers as some dogs (mine) are.

I ordered from one daylily vendor this year and we had a little conversation about dogs via email. They have a Golden, similar to a Lab in terms of mouthiness. They were telling me how their Golden sneaks off and eats the daylily blooms. That made me think, well, maybe they're not toxic to dogs after all. Apparently their dog has been doing this for quite some time.

Really, I guess I don't have a definitive answer. I'm not a toxicologist, but I have done a lot of reading about this and all sources seem to agree that daylilies are toxic to cats, but not dogs.


I have also read that daylily blooms are wonderful when stir-fried and have more vitamins than broccoli.

The thing is, there are many foods that humans can ingest (chocolate, caffeine, raisins, etc.) that are flat-out deadly to dogs. Different species process them differently.

My bottom line with planting in the back is, if it is not considered 100% non-toxic and listed as so by at least three reliable sources, it does not go in. I have even gone as far to correspond with the ASPCA Poison Control Center (Dana Farbman, who is very nice and helpful) to choose plants if I couldn't find enough information on them. It has sort of become a quest of mine - to plant the backyard only with 100% safe plants.

But, this is only my little personal quest. :) ASPCA Poison Control Center lists daylilies as safe for dogs but not for cats. I just tend to err on the side of extreme caution.

I can list sources for all this if anyone's interested...

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:28PM
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I thought I'd post some of my favorite sources, in case you're interested. Warning: This can become very addictive. :) If you start looking closely at these lists, there are a lot of contradictions. Many of them were developed with humans in mind, not animals (which is why I bought the $100 is geared towards animal toxicity).

Anyway, for what it's worth, here they are. I just wanted to try to help, because I have been in your position with a mischievous puppy. :)

UC Davis Toxic Plants:

UC Davis Safe Plants:

ASPCA Toxic and Non Toxic Plants (search):

Humane Society of the United States Toxic Plants (I like this one because it lists what part(s) of the plant are toxic:

Finally, top three plants to be extremely cautious with:
1) Yew
2) Oleander
3) Foxglove

Doesn't take much of any of the above to be deadly. Yew can be fatal within minutes of ingestion. Seriously. :(

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:42PM
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This has been discussed previously in depth on this forum as well as others. Daylilies are not poisonous but the other lilies that are of the lilium family is. People that are not gardeners often get the 2 confused when the term lily is concerned. Lilium and Hemerocallis aren't related..If they were poisonous deer would not devour them. Deer do not eat poisonous plants. My cats have lived in and around my daylilies for almost 10 years..They have never been sick. My eldest dachshund is 6 with his wife behind him at 4. Neither have been sick either. My son's dog is part golden and part chow..He is 11 years old and has walked in and around them all his life. He has never been sick from them.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 9:14PM
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