Is Your Houseplant Poisonous for Your Cat or Dog?

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If you are now wondering how to detect that a plant is poisonous and what are the risks of keeping such poisonous houseplants, then read on. 

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Hi! Today we’re talking about something that a lot of people don’t know – which plants are poisonous for cats and dogs. It sounds like an easy question but there’s actually a lot more than you might think. So in this video, we’re going to go through all the different types of plants and see what could be harmful to our furry friends.

If you have a puppy or a curious cat it is important to keep some houseplants out of reach and/or train your pets to ignore houseplants altogether.

Houseplants are a great way to bring the outdoors into your home. Not only do they look great, but they also provide a host of benefits including fresh air and improved indoor air quality. However, it is important to be aware that not all houseplants are safe. In fact, some plants can be poisonous if ingested.

In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to tell if your houseplant is poisonous for your cat or dog. If you have a puppy or a curious cat it is important to keep some houseplants out of reach and/or train your pets to ignore houseplants altogether.

graphic for Pinterest poisonous houseplants

Is Your Houseplant Poisonous?

If you are concerned that one of your houseplants may be poisonous, there are a few things you can do to determine if it is poisonous or not. One easy way to tell is to look for any warning labels that may be on the pot or plant itself. You can also do an online search of the specific plant to see if there are any reports of poisoning associated with it.

If you’re not careful about which common houseplants you choose there is a risk that poisonous houseplants may be brought indoors! Read on to learn more about poisonous houseplants and how to identify them so that you can know what’s safe for your family, dogs, and cats.

This blog post features poisonous plants and poisonous houseplants and what precautions to take around them.

  • Poisonous houseplants list
  • 3 precautions with poisonous plants
  • Precautions for pets if they ingest poisonous plants

Toxicity of House Plants

Poisonous houseplants are risky particularly for dogs and cats. Different poisonous houseplants have different levels of toxicity. Some plants may cause skin irritation while others can be poisonous when ingested.

The effects of poisonous houseplants on humans depend on the amount of plant material consumed, the age and health condition of the person, and how quickly help is sought.

Infants and young children are particularly at risk because they tend to put things in their mouths. Pets are also at risk since they may ingest poisonous houseplants or lick plant sap off their fur.

girl with German shepherd dog

Mentioned below are some toxicity levels arising out of poisonous houseplants:

  • Highly Toxic: If poisonous plants are ingested, they can cause serious sickness or even death.
  • Low Toxic: If poisonous plants are ingested, they can cause some minor sicknesses like vomiting or problems related to the gastro intestine.
  • Calcium Oxalic Acid/ Calcium Oxalate Crystals Toxic: If the juice or sap of some poisonous plants touches the skin, it can cause irritation to the mouth, throat, and tongue. These plants contain oxalate crystals, which can cause burning pain, stomach discomfort and even breathing problems.
  • Low Skin Irritation: The sap of many poisonous plants can cause severe skin irritation and rashes.

Identifying Poisonous House Plants

Identifying poisonous houseplants is not so easy, but you need not worry. You can easily!

1) Use Google Lens

Google Lens is a feature of the Google Assistant on Pixel phones, which lets you identify objects in your photos. It can also recognize text and phone numbers so that you can use them later.

You don’t even need to leave what you’re doing – just point your camera at a poisonous houseplant and watch as it becomes easier to identify!

2) Ask A Nursery

Take the help of a nearby plant nursery. Simply take a leaf or the whole plant to a nursery and get to know the safety level of keeping that plant indoors.

3) Cooperative Extension Office

Contacting your local Cooperative Extension Office is another way of getting more information about poisonous houseplants.

Precautions from Poisonous Houseplants

If you have existing poisonous houseplants that you don’t want to toss or keep outside, follow a few simple guidelines to be on the safer side.

Here are 3 precautions to take around poisonous houseplants:

  1. Don’t allow pets to lick the poisonous plants.
  2. Don’t allow babies or young children to play with poisonous plants.
  3. Place the poisonous plants out of reach, so that no one gets in touch with them. I have these West Elm wall planters in our house to keep toxic plants out of reach.

wall planter pothos

List of Poisonous Houseplants

More than 700 indoor and outdoor plant chemicals in the world are dangerous to your dogs and cats.

A list of poisonous houseplants along with the toxic parts they contain:

  • Alocasia: Leaves and stems are toxic and will irritation the mouth and GI tract if ingested.
  • Amaryllis: Bulbs are toxic and will cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, and tremors
  • Aralias: Plants saps are toxic when ingested by animals, including dogs and cats. This plant contains saponins, which are a type of toxin that can lead to skin irritation within the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.
  • Caladium: Leaves and bulbs are toxic to both dogs and cats. If they chew on the Caladium leaves it can cause extreme irritation and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat because calcium crystals cause soft tissue damage.
  • Clivia (Bush Lily): All parts are toxic to both cats and dogs. Signs to look for include vomiting, salivation, diarrhea; large ingestions that cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias. The bulbs are the most poisonous part of this plant.
  • Chinese Evergreens: The sap is toxic and can cause oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Daffodils: Leaves, flowers, and bulbs are toxic because they contain lycorine and other alkaloids. Clinical signs include vomiting, salivation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias. The bulbs are the most poisonous part.
  • Ficus: Plant sap is toxic and can cause gastrointestinal and skin irritation.
  • Peace Lily: Plant sap is toxic because it contains the toxic component of insoluble calcium oxalates which cause oral irritation, intense burning, irritation of mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
  • Snake Plant aka Mother in Law’s Tongue: Leaves and plant sap are toxic and cause nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
  • Philadondrons: The leaves are toxic to cats and dogs. Eating it can be painful on lips, tongue, throat, and throat and causes vomiting.

beautiful peace lily houseplant white flowers

TIP: If you are looking for safe houseplants for your home that are not toxic to cats and dogs? I have a blog post perfect for you: 10 Pet Safe Houseplants for Improving Air Quality

a dog with tongue out

Common FAQS

What houseplants are not poisonous to dogs?

There are many types of non-toxic houseplants that are safe for dogs to ingest. Here is a partial list:

Aloe Vera, Bamboo Palm, Boston Fern, Bromeliad, and Cast Iron Plant.

What do I do if my dog eats a poisonous plant?

If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested a houseplant, get help immediately. Immediate treatment can save your dog’s life.

Call your veterinarian for advice ASAP. They may recommend that you induce vomiting, give your dog water or milk to drink, take a wait-and-see approach, or bring your puppy to them immediately for treatment.

Never induce vomiting or give your pet any kind of treatment unless advised to do so by your veterinarian. Making the pet vomit the incorrect poisonous plant or providing the wrong “antidote” might make an already bad scenario worse.

What should I do if my child eats a poisonous plant?

If you suspect your child has ingested a poisonous houseplant, get help immediately.

Call Poison Control or go to the Emergency Room right away for advice and treatment of poisonous plants ingestion in children.

Be prepared with this information when calling:

  • Your child’s age
  • The amount eaten (if known)
  • What he/she was doing at the time of ingestion
  • The current symptoms your child is showing

What happens if a dog eats a toxic plant?

Dogs who have ingested a hazardous plant may show symptoms such as nervousness, muscular tremors, profuse sweating, seizures, disability, breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and coma.

Does my pet insurance cover poisonous plants ingestion for my cat or dog?

Some pet insurance plans do cover poisonous plants ingestion, while others don’t. Check with your specific pet insurer to see if they offer this type of coverage.

If not, you may be able to purchase a supplemental policy specifically for this purpose.

Final Thoughts

Poisonous houseplants can be dangerous to both humans and pets, so it is important to be aware of which plants are poisonous and take precautions.

If you have any poisonous plants in your home, make sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets. Remember that if your pet or child does ingest a poisonous plant, seek medical attention immediately.

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