Your Pets Health

Household Plants and your Pets

The inspiration for this post began this morning. Pippa is one of the current residents at the clinic, and she thought she’d help us out by “pruning” some of the lovely potted plants our clients have gifted us. Today is the first day of spring, and we know that garden centers will soon be buzzing with eager green thumbs. We also know that a lot of owners may not take their pets into consideration when buying some flora for their homes or their yards. While it would be near impossible to list the hundreds of plants that pose mild to severe risk to your pet’s health, we’ve composed a list of the most common household plants to steer clear of.

1. Asparagus Fern (emerald featheremerald fernsprengeri fernplumosa fern, or lace fern)

This plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats. Ingesting this plant can cause allergic skin reactions (dermatitis), vomiting  diarrhea and abdominal pain due to the steroid sapogenin found in the plant.

2. Corn Plant (cornstalk plantdracaenadragon tree, or ribbon plant)

Dogs and cats can both be affected through ingesting this plant. The active chemical is called saponin, and can cause bloody or non-bloody diarrhea, depression, excessive salivation, appetite loss, and pupil dilation in cats.

3. Dieffenbachia (dumb canetropic snow, or exotica)


If this plant is ingested, both dogs and cats will experience oral irritation on the tongue and lips. This irritation can extend the symptoms to include increased salivation, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

4. Elephant Ear (caladiumtaropaiapecapeviavia sori, or malanga)

The mechanism of action (and thus, the symptoms) or elephant ear poisoning is similar to Dieffenbachia poisoning; be on alert for increased salivation, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

5. Lilies

Most people are familiar with cats being particularly vulnerable to lily poisoning. There are many different types of lilies, the Easter lily and the Stargazer lily being the most poisonous to cats. When ingested, cats will exhibit signs including lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and in severe cases left untreated, death due to kidney failure. The Peace lily and Calla lily is toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause irritation of the tongue and lips, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing and vomiting. Easter is just around the corner, which means lilies are as well.  If you heed any warnings from this post, let it be this one!.

6. Cyclamen (or sowbread)

This plant is a popular pick for home and garden for it’s pretty pink flowers. But what most pet owners and gift givers don’t know is that it is very toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. Symptoms includes vomiting, increased salivation and diarrhea. Worse still is if your canine or feline friend gets into the tuber of the plant, which are the roots that run within the soil. Ingestion of the tubers can lead to heart arrhythmias, seizures and death.

7. Heartleaf Philodendrum (horsehead philodendroncordatumfiddle-leafpanda plantsplit-leaf philodendronfruit salad plantred emeraldred princess, or saddle leaf)

This plant often resides within people homes, and is toxic to dogs and cats. This plant contains a chemical that acts as an oral irritant and can agitate the tongue and lips, as well as cause increase salivation, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

8. Jade plant (baby jadedwarf rubber plantjade treeChinese rubber plant,Japanese rubber plant, or friendship tree)


This flowering plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. The toxin in the Jade plant remains yet to be identified but the symptoms following ingestion include vomiting, depression, ataxia (incoordination or lack of control of movement) and bradycardia (slowed heart rate).

9. Aloe plant (medicine plant or Barbados aloe)

The Aloe plant is toxic to cats and dogs. Aloin is the toxic agent in the Aloe plants and caused vomiting and for the urine to take on a reddish hue.

10. Satin Pothos (or silk pothos)

Satin Pothos is toxic to both dogs and cats. The toxic agent in this plant can cause irritation to the mouth, lips and tongue as well as increased salivation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

While this is a list of some of the most common household plants that pose threats to your pet’s health, always be sure to check with your veterinarian if your pet ingests a plant material that you are worried may be toxic to them. If your animal exhibits any of the above symptoms following ingestion or being in contact with these or any other plants, call your veterinarian immediately.


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