Many common indoor houseplants are toxic to cats and dogs, and you wouldn’t believe that these are some common everyday names. Varieties such as lilies and aloe vera can be mildly poisonous, while strelitzia has levels of toxicity that can be severe to fatal. It is vital to familiarise yourself with these toxic plants for the safety of cats and dogs.
These plants can also be toxic to cats and display signs and symptoms such as vomiting and difficulty breathing, indigestion, diarrhea, burning, and other toxicity problems. Young pups have the tendency to nibble on things around them. It is also essential to be prepared to take measures in case of ingestion by your dogs and cats.
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Top 10 Houseplants That Are Toxic To Dogs
You might lose your prize plant with such a preventable mistake while also causing severe harm to your dogs and cats. Prevent an unnecessary stop to the vet and know before you grow. This list will help you maintain the utmost safety of your cats and dogs plus your plant.
1. Sago Palm
Sago palm or cycas revoluta is a popular plant among landscapers and is also used as ornamental Bonsai plants. These plants naturally thrive in tropical/subtropical environments. Dogs tend not to show interest in this plant, but if your cats and dogs are in the chewing phase, this plant could be potentially dangerous. Try growing a parlor plant that is safe for a similar aesthetic.
This indoor plant contains a toxin called cyasin, which causes liver damage. The entire plant, right from the roots to the tip, is toxic to cats and dogs. The seeds (nuts) of this plant are considered the most toxic. The plant also has a bad reputation for being a poisonous plant, although the leaves add a certain beauty and charm to your home.
Cyasin can cause increased thirst, excessive drooling, vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and jaundice. In severe cases, it leads to seizures, lethargy, diarrhea, liver damage, and liver failure. It can also cause hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, clotting disorder, and eventually death.
All these signs and symptoms are initiated within 15 minutes of ingestion or several hours after indigestion. Other signs and symptoms like seizures and tremors can be seen around 3-4 days after ingestion. Sago palm is also toxic to cats, so if you notice your pet consumed this plant, call your vet immediately to initiate life-saving treatments.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is an exceptional indoor houseplant for humans and is beneficial for the skin, hair, and other soothing properties. It is a kind of leaf succulent native in Western Asia and popular all around the world. This plant is relatively low maintenance, and many varieties have medicinal properties.
The leaves produce a gel-like substance that has multipurpose use. The pulp and juice from these leaves can be used to soothe burns, but these parts are particularly malicious to cats and dogs. Ingestion of this plant’s toxic gel is harmful to dogs. There are around 500 species in various forms like woody shrubs and vines.
The juice and gel found inside the leaves are found in many products used in skin treatments, plus dogs can safely drink aloe juice. Chewing on this plant can expose cats and dogs to toxins called saponins toxins. Once ingested by it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, and change in urine color.
Aloe vera is considered mild to moderately toxic to dogs. Aloe plants can be replaced for your dog or cat with safer succulents such as haworthia, which is deeper green succulent with white stripes and a similar spiny look. It is also known as the Zebra plant.
3. Peace Lily
The plants in the Lily family are numerous, but many are toxic to cats and dogs. The Peace Lily, also known as the Mauna Loa, is toxic to both cats and dogs. Humans love to decorate their house with lilies for that minimalistic look which is also low maintenance. For pet owners, this indoor plant is harmful after ingestion.
Cat owners should beware of the toxic Easter Lillies and the Stargazer varieties as they are toxic to cats. These varieties are not only toxic to cats but can also be fatal if untreated. It affects their appetite and kidneys. Peace lilies contain the toxin called insoluble calcium oxalates, which makes them a toxic plant. Chewing these calcium oxalates could cause mild symptoms in cats and dogs.
The peace lily is harmful to cats and dogs as they could start vomiting, have a problem swallowing due to irritated lips, and burning tongue once ingested. Peace lily also causes intense oral irritation, drooling, and mucous membrane irritation.
These potentially toxic plants are not worth it for pets and owners. There are safer alternatives for cats and dogs, which will give you a similar, minimalistic look. Try growing non-toxic houseplants like the moth orchid. They need limited care and thrive in warm conditions with minimal sunlight.
4. Jade plant
Crassula ovata, commonly known as the Jade plant, is considered toxic to cats and dogs. This is a very low maintenance indoor plant but can cause signs of depression in cats and dogs. You might see common houseplant varieties such as Jade tree, Dwarf plant, Chinese rubber plant, Japanese rubber plant, or Baby Jade.
The specific toxicity present in these house plants is relatively unknown, making them all the more toxic. If cats or dogs ingest these poisonous plant leaves, it causes vomiting, incoordination, and a slow heart rate. The high toxicity also causes a very difficult-to-diagnose symptom depression.
This tropical tree from Africa is one of the toxic house plants to beware of. These house plants can live for about 100 years and are mild to moderate for dogs and cats. The one thing you need to be careful about is depression caused by ingestion.
A safe alternative to this plant is the Christmas cactus which has some similarities with plump leaves and a minor shine. This indoor plant blooms just in time for the holidays and makes an excellent houseplant. They are easy to care for and can add a pop of color with the red or bright pink flowers.
5. ZZ Plant
Zamioculcas zamiifolia, commonly known as the ZZ plant, belongs to the Araceae family. They are popular with their ability to thrive in low-light environments. They also survive with infrequent watering, making it a low-care houseplant.
The ZZ plant contains calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves, which cause severe reactions like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in cats and dogs. It causes mild to moderate problems and is also toxic to cats. All the parts of this plant have mild toxicity, so beware of your pet ingesting it.
Once ingested, you will notice signs and symptoms such as burning, oral irritation, excessive drooling, and mucous membrane irritation. It also causes difficulty in breathing. A popular non-toxic alternative is the cast iron plant that thrives in low light and has a similar physical look with a deep green shade. It is an extremely hardy plant and can survive in the most adverse conditions.
6. Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia, which is also called bird of paradise, is an aesthetic ornamental plant and commonly found in many households. This is a tropical plant and is native to South Africa. The large, spilling foliage and pretty orange, red, or blue flowers caused its popularity, resembling birds in flight.
This plant’s poisonous flower, the most infamous and popular part of this paradise plant, is also the most toxic. This indoor plant contains Hydrogen Cyanide (prussic acid) and tannins which causes high levels of toxicity in pets. The entire plant is toxic and induces severe cases of sickness.
Once ingested, your dog can feel nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and drowsiness in a period of 20 minutes. The signs and symptoms caused by the bird of paradise plant include excessive drooling, labored breathing through the mouth, muscle tremors, rapid pulse, and can be fatal in extreme cases.
Pets can also experience a loss of appetite if they ingest the bird of paradise. It is essential to seek veterinary care on time and initiate life-saving treatments. The Phalaenopsis orchid is a safe alternative to this plant. This exotic flower is just as powerful and prefers tropical conditions.
7. Pothos/Devil’s Ivy
Devil’s Ivy, also known as Satin or Silk Pothos belonging to the Araceae family, is toxic to cats and dogs. This Ivy plant is related to Philodendron and has similarities like limited care and survival in extreme conditions. This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which are harmful when ingested by pets.
There are other names for Pothos like Ivy Arum and Taro Vine. This plant’s toxic leaves can irritate your pet’s mouth and cause severe burning, swelling, and oral irritation. Your pet could also suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, increased salivation, and difficulty in swallowing.
This irritation can also lead to labored breathing, which in severe cases, may cause death. A safe alternative to Pothos is the spider plant which can also be prettily hung around the house. This plant needs moderate light and minimal watering. They are easy to grow and can survive harsh conditions.
8. Asparagus Fern
Asparagus fern is toxic to cats as well as dogs. Another popular name for this plant is the Emerald Fern, Emerald Feather, Lace Fern, Sprengeri Fern, and Plumosa Fern. This plant is typically not a fern, even with a feathery appearance. Although the appearance may differ, this plant is related to the lily family.
This plant contains a toxin called Sapogenin, which is toxic to pets. If the berries of this plant are ingested by your pet, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, burning, and skin irritation if contacted regularly. The part of the plant consumed can also cause mouth burning and gastrointestinal problems.
This plants poisonous foliage and berries may look pretty but can cause mild to moderate cases of sickness in pets once ingested. A safe alternative to this plant with a similar appearance is the Boston fern. They are very easy to care for, and they love cool temperatures, indirect light, and high humidity.
9. Dumb Cane
Dieffenbachia, known as Tropic Snow Exotica or Dumb Cane, is one of the easiest houseplants to grow at home. This plant is toxic to cats as well as dogs. This plant has a type of toxicity commonly seen in other tropical plants like Philodendron.
This plant causes moderate levels of sickness in pets. The entire plant is dangerous is chewed by dogs. This plant’s harmful toxins; Insoluble calcium oxalates, and proteolytic enzymes can result in mouth burning, mild swelling of the mouth and tongue, as well as difficulty in swallowing.
Once ingested, this plant can also cause mucous membrane irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and even death. A safer alternative to this fern is the prayer plant. This plant thrives with indirect sunlight, infrequent watering and is relatively low maintenance.
Philodendron is a type of plant that is very easy to grow and pretty easy to maintain. It is toxic to cats as well as dogs. They are mildly toxic because of the calcium oxalate crystals present. This plant’s sharp crystals cause oral irritation in your dog’s mouth.
The other signs and symptoms if philodendron is ingested are mucous membrane irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth and lips, burning tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing. Oral irritation can lead to difficulty breathing and, in very severe cases, death.
All parts of philodendron are toxic if ingested, so owners should stay away from these type of plants. A safe alternative to this is the area plant. This tropical species can grow up to seven feet and live for a decade.
Your cats and dogs are part of your family, and their safety should also be of the utmost importance. It is vital that you are aware of harmful toxins in common houseplants. Most toxic plants cause vomiting and abdominal pain. You might think they are low maintenance or look charming and pretty, but they can be fatal.
Pet owners should consider an artificial houseplant or other non-poisonous plants. Try non toxic popular houseplants like the spider fern, parlor plant, orchid, or ponytail plant. The moment you notice excessive drooling, lack of energy, vomiting, or mouth irritation, initiate treatments to save your pet. Humans may not be affected by these poisonous toxins, but your cats and dogs certainly will.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.