Unexpected Pet Poisons: Lily Poisoning in Cats

lily poisoning in cats

Lily poisoning in cats.

Many people are surprised to learn that lilies, some of the most beautiful and common household flowers used in celebrations of life and love, are very toxic for cats. It’s estimated that there are 10 to 11 million plants produced annually in the United States.  Eating any plant in the lily family is dangerous for cats, but ingesting Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies is can lead to death; simply eating a few petals can cause renal failure or heart problems in cats. People tend to give lilies as gifts during Spring and Easter. It’s important to educate yourself and fellow animal lovers about the dangers that these elegant, popular flowers present to our feline and canine friends.

What Kind of Lilies are Toxic to Cats?

All lilies are poisonous to cats in varying degrees. However, the Lilium (lily) and Hemerocallis (day lily) genera are the most dangerous to cats, causing nephrotoxicity (the toxic substances affect the kidneys, which can lead to severe, acute kidney failure). Flowers of the genus Convallaria, which are the pretty Lily of the Valley, are also extremely poisonous and affect the hearts of both dogs and cats, causing heart-threatening arrythmias and possibly death in both species.
Please note the whole plant is dangerous: the stem, leaves, flowers, and pollen. Even drinking water with pollen in it has been found to be toxic.

Symptoms of Lily Poisoning:

  • salivation
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • anorexia (lack of appetite)
  • deyhydration
  • depression
If you have lilies in your home or your neighborhood and your cat displays these symptoms, please take him/her to your veterinarian immediately.

Treating Lily Poisoning in Cats:

Knowing that your cat has ingested any part of the lily is extremely important in helping your veterinarian diagnose and treat lily poisoning. If you notice symptoms, your first step is to take your pet to your veterinarian right away with a sample of the plant or any other suspected poison.
Your veterinarian may induce vomiting and give binders like activated charcoal, flush the stomach, use intravenous fluid therapy to prevent renal failure, run tests, and might even need to use dialysis if there has already been organ damage. As with all cases of poisoning, your pet’s chances of survival are highest when given care immediately. The cost of not identifying these symptoms and taking your cat to the vet in a timely manner is, sadly, death.
Actions for Survival with Lily Poisoning in Cats:
  1. Own a cat or dog? Keep lilies out of your home. Cats climb all over and can reach even out-of-the way vases with a little determination.
  2. Keep an eye out for lilies while on walks or if you have outdoor cats
  3. Keep the Pet Poison Helpline on hand for emergencies: 855.764.7661 (there is a cost, but they are available 24/7)
  4. Make sure your pet care professional is trained in Pet CPR & First Aid (part of the Equipaws training for our employees!)
  5. Share this post!

Photo of a Lily of the Valley. Other lilies are pictured in the photo above.

lily of the valley


Pet sitting vs. boarding in Miami

Pet sitting vs. boarding in Miami

Should You Choose Pet Sitting or Boarding for Pets in Miami? 

Pet sitting vs. boarding in Miami

The excitement of Spring break and a well-deserved vacation is around the corner! Your tickets are printed, bathing suits are packed, and sunscreen already applied, but what are you forgetting? Looking down you see your furry friend smiling and wagging their tail at you, leash in mouth, begging to join the adventure.  Unfortunately, your pooch pal can’t always join and your happy cat would never leave the house anyway, which leads to the question: what are the options for pet care in Miami?

Miami’s Pet Care Choices

Pet owners used to immediately think of asking a friend or family member to care for a pet when going away. However, excellent alternative pet care options have cropped up as the pet industry expands. Pet hotels with luxurious and cozy spaces for your pet have become available. In addition, in-home pet services are becoming a popular choice of pet owners, but how do you choose between services? Of course, it’s important to research the company, facility, or pet sitter.  All will have different training, staff, and environments for play and comfort. We’ve compiled some things to think about when deciding on the best care for your pet.

Miami Kennel and Pet Hotels Pros and Cons:

It can be a time-consuming process to research facilities or a find a kennel location close to you. Keep in mind references from friends, as well as features for each facilities. We’ve found the following to be true about kennels in general:


  • Kennels provide efficient care for your pet typically with supervised staff
  • Many kennels have a daily playtime with others where you can choose from individual or group play sessions, which helps if your dog is not socialized or can be unpredictable around others.
  • Your pup might make lasting friendships there
  • Kennels typically run on a schedule so your dog will have consistency

Possible Cons:

  • It can be an uninviting atmosphere with cold cement floors and not much time spent out of crates.
  • Taking your dog or cat to a new space can cause the body stress which can materialize as loss of appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting, not to mention depression
  • Emphasis on quantity means cleanliness is a must; being around more dogs unfortunately can expose your dog to disease
  • You have to pack for your dog’s stay and drive him over in Miami traffic

More upscale pet hotels and day cares that double as boarding facilities have popped up around Miami recently, which can offer a better alternative to kennels. These facilities sometimes offer individual rooms and more comfortable beds, as well as ample playtime. However, there are often upwards of 25 dogs in one space, which can be very stressful for your pets, especially in an unfamiliar, temporary space. More dogs means a greater potential for fights, transmission of illnesses, and potentially forming bad habits without proper supervision during play.

In-Home Pet Sitting Pros and Cons:

Pet Sitting consists of a pet sitter caring for your pet in the comfort of your home, abiding by your pet’s specific feeding schedule, giving potty breaks, and one-one exercise, playtime, and TLC. They can stop in throughout the day or stay the night. Other questions might arise such as, who is going to feed the fish? Who will take out the trash? How secure will the house be while I’m away? Your worries are answered! Here are the benefits of a professional pet sitter:

  • Security! Someone in your home discourages curious intruders.
  • Less stress on the animal. Your pet stays in a familiar and safe environment causing lower signs of discomfort.
  • Convenience: No need to pack for another. Leaving food, leash, toys at home.  
  • Doubles as a house sitter: household chores such as watering plants, collection of newspaper, etc. will be tended too.
  • Care for multiple pets: Dogs, cats, fish and birds.
  • Cost can vary depending on services requested. Typically lower than boarding.
  • Trusted Resource.  Many sitters are bonded and insured (may have special pet training or certifications as well).

Possible Cons:

  • You may be concerned about letting a new sitter into your home
  • You have to vet your pet sitter very carefully, making sure they have the proper licensing, insurance, experience, and great references 
  • Does your pet sitting company use employees or independent contractors?
  • Solo pet sitters may not have a back-up if they fall ill.

It’s important to know what kind of services each pet sitting company or individual pet sitter provides and how committed they are to their profession. With Equipaws Pet Services, you can choose from a variety of in-home care options: we have in home pet care where you can choose, mix and match a 30-minute pet sitting session with overnight stays in your home, or you can opt for simple pet sits.

Our company is bonded and insured and has chosen to have employees instead of independent contractors to ensure our staff is trained to our high standards. We also work as a pet sitting team in each area, so if one pet sitter can’t make it there is always someone to back them up. All staff has received Pet Tech CPR training and have been through thorough background checks. Wherever you are, sipping a tasty mojito on the beach or hitting the snowy slopes, Equipaws professional pet sitters can be trusted to take care of your fur friends while you are away!

If you’re traveling on vacation, going away for work, or have a long trip away, your pooch or kitten may need special attention for food needs, potty breaks and companionship. So do you choose a pet sitter or kennel? You decide!


K9 Veterans Day: Celebrate Miami’s Hometown Heroes

K9 Veterans Day

K9 Veterans Day: Celebrating Miami’s Hometown Heroes

Everywhere we turn we see working K9 unit helping Miami stay safe, which is why we are celebrating K9 Veterans Day on March 13th! This special day honors the 30,000 canine police officers who have served our country in various military missions locally or around the world. Joseph Wright, a retired military working dog trainer, dedicated March 13th to honor these special pups as the date chosen is the birthday of the US Army K9 Corps.

K9 Veterans in Miami

Many of us have seen police officers with a German Shepherd close by their sides patrolling the airport, or a picture on the news of a military officer with their trusting dog protecting the front lines of war. These working dogs, referred to as the K9 unit, are considered police officers and a crucial part of everyday Law Enforcement. Their senses have been trained to protect, unveil lethal objects or find missing persons, but what affect does this dog defense system have on you and the citizens of Miami?

K9-trained dogs and handlers are located in places such as Miami International Airport, the Port of Miami and police departments, detecting illegal substances or potential threats. Hospitals and Senior homes in the greater South Florida area use the K9 for protection or retired service dogs for companions to patients. Even the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department established a K9 unit in 1995. The K9 unit is called to action upon request in the field, but also used in educational and interactive presentations for the students.  In addition, Miami is home to some of the best K9 training centers in the United States that provide services to law enforcement agencies, private corporations, schools, families and business professionals. Although this program may be under the radar and looked over, these wonderful dogs are used in major everyday operations.

History of the K9 Program

How did the K9 program even begin? In 1941,  as men and women were being drafted shortly after Pearl Harbor drew the United States into the second World War, dogs were also trained as sentries or message carriers to help in our line of defense.  The idea was influenced by the Europeans who had been using dogs as stand-in soldiers for years. By 1942 a Dogs for Defense division was born by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to train dogs for military use, which eventually began the K9 unit. Then, working dogs could sniff out landmines, bombs, corpses and survivors that a human soldier could not detect. Now, the K9 units can detect a variety of narcotics, explosives, criminal evidence and missing persons. These dogs are not only utilized by the police force and military, but also used in schools, airports and hospitals.

German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois: Your K9 Companions

The two main breeds used for K9 police officers, which are the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois, both originating from Europe. These loyal breeds make wonderful working and family dog, while having the agile and large body to investigate and protect. The career lifespan of these canine officers are typically 7 – 10 years depending on overall health and performance. Most teams of human handler and dog retire together, while others are put up for adoption.

Interested in owning a working dog of your own? Check out a few facts on the breeds:

German Shepherd:

  • 2nd most popular dog breed
  • Personality – Confident, courageous, smart and obedient
  • Hair Care – This breed has a double layer of hair, one short and one long.  The thick coat needs constant grooming.
  • Energy Level – High energy.  They were born to work and demand mental & physical exercise.

Belgian Malinois:

  • Personality – Confident, hard working, smart & steadfastly loyal
  • Hair Care – This breed has a short, thick coat that needs regular grooming
  • Energy Level – High energy & demands plenty of physical attention

We’re happy to recognize the four-legged friends on K9 Veterans Day who have saved many lives and will continue to do so as long as this program stays alive!

If you are interested in K9 training programs or purchasing a K9 breed, see the following websites for further information on local Miami centers providing high quality services. Also, if you would like to make a donation to a K9 academy or department contact the Miami Dade Police Department.

  1. http://www.usk9academy.com/
  2. http://www.metrodadek9.com/

Celebrate K9 Veterans Day every day: the next time you see a K9 unit on duty pay your gratitude because you never know where you will need them next. 

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