By Gabrielle Feldman, checked by Dr. Heather Kovac
Edited by Nicole Abrego
Plants add a certain element to the feel of our homes; however, those with pets need to be selective about the greenery they choose to have around.
According to the ASPCA Poison Control, there are literally thousands of plants that could harm your pet if they ingest it. They all have varying degrees of affect on your dog or cat. Some mild, some severe, and some even potentially fatal.The Drake Center for Veterinary Care narrowed down the list to nine of some of the most common household plants:
#1 Corn Plant (Dracaena frangrans)
This easy to grow green is an extremely popular choice for people’s homes. If ingested, symptoms include vomiting and appetite loss for both dogs and cats. In cats specifically, it can cause difficulty breathing and an increased heart rate.
#2 Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
This common exotic plant adds a tropical feel to a home; however, it can be very troublesome if your pet gets its’ paws on this palm. Every part of this plant poses a threat. From the seeds, to the roots, to the leaves- if ingested can cause vomiting diarrhea, and in some cases- even liver failure and death.
#3 Aloe Plant (Aloe vera)
Aloe has so many incredible uses for pet parents, it’s no wonder it is such a popular plant pick. But when it comes to exposing it to your pets, you may want to think twice. There are no known reports of the aloe posing a threat when applied topically, but if they happen to chew on the plant it will likely irritate their digestive system. Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.
#4 Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
This rubber plant is known for being “hard to kill”. Which is great for those lacking a green thumb. Signs that your dog or cat has munched down on this plant includes vomiting and a slow heart rate.
#5 Lilies (Many varieties)
Although some lily varieties can pose a threat to your dog, cat owners should be avoiding these pretty petals entirely. This bloom is extremely toxic to your feline and can even cause kidney failure in some cases. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
#6 Caladium or “Elephant Ear”
This bold, tropical beauty would add pop to any garden. But beware- signs that your dog munched down on one of these leaves include swelling and burning of the tongue and mouth, excessive drooling, and vomiting.
#7 Dieffenbachia or “Dumb Cane”
Known for being a relatively low maintenance plant, ingestion of the leaves can cause severe swelling of the mouth and tongue. In turn, this can lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing.
#8 Asparagus Fern
This pretty plant is a popular house plant choice because it is fast growing and easy to care for. If your dog or cat is exposed to it repeatedly, it can cause skin irritation, and berry ingestion can cause vomiting/diarrhea if eaten.
#9 Pothos or “Devil’s Ivy” (Epipremnun aureum)
This tropical plant is easy to grow and harmful to pets. Symptoms of ingestion include oral irritation, burning of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
If you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. (Be aware a phone consultation fee may be applied.)
Which House Plants ARE Safe for Pets?
If you love having plants around your living space, don’t despair! There are plenty of great options that are perfectly safe to have around your dogs and cats. Here are some of our favorites:
#1 Areca Palm
#2 Money Plant
#3 Spider Plant
#4 Purple Waffle Plant
#5 Bamboo Palm
#6 Variegated Wax Plant
#8 Boston Fern
#9 Dwarf Date Palm
#10 Moth Orchid
The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.