Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.) may be beautiful but also can be extremely scary for any nearby animals. Plants within this genus are commonly placed indoors, however, they should always be kept far out of your pets' reach -- including your guinea pig.
Peace Lily Basics
Peace lilies, also referred to as Mauna Loa peace lilies, can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 and 12. As a group, they typically reach heights between 1 and 6 feet. Their showy white flowers look vibrant in comparison to their rich, deep green leaves.
Toxic to Guinea Pigs
Peace lilies are indeed toxic to guinea pigs and can bring upon kidney failure. The plants' calcium oxalates, which are in the leaves and stems, are the poisonous components. Guinea pigs that consume parts of peace lilies can experience detrimental health consequences such as lack of appetite and severe weight loss. One case study in "The Canadian Veterinarian Journal" in 2006 reported that a guinea pig that ingested peace lily was put to sleep because the related health issues worsened, despite veterinary care. Don't let your guinea pig anywhere near peace lilies; warning signs of ingestion in guinea pigs include exhaustion, eliminating less frequently, listlessness and eating very little.
Dogs and Cats, too
Peace lilies aren't only perilous to guinea pigs but also to other pets. The plants' calcium oxalates are poisonous to cats and dogs alike. Symptoms of chewing or ingesting the plant include irritation and burning of the oral area, problems swallowing food, diarrhea, inordinate salivation, labored breathing, throwing up, loss of appetite and conspicuous pawing by their mouths.
Urgent Veterinary Care
If you catch your guinea pig in the act of chewing any segment of a peace lily, take him to see a veterinarian immediately. This also goes for dogs and cats. Even if you didn't see your pet go near the plant but you notice signs that indicate poisoning, take your furry friend to the vet at once. Do not wait.
- ASPCA: Peace Lily
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Spathiphyllum (group)
- Seminole County Government Extension Services: Spathiphyllum - The Peace Lily
- Pet Poison Helpline: Peace Lily
- U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Renal Failure in a Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus) Following Ingestion of Oxalate Containing Plants
- ASPCA: Peace Lily
- Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images