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10 Common Household Plants That Can Be Harmful to Your Pet

10 Common Household Plants That Can Be Harmful to Your Pet

Whether you like plants or not, odds are that at one point in your life you will end up with a little green friend in your home. What you may not know is that many of the most common house plants can be very dangerous for your pets to be around and can even be fatal if they are ingested. We have put together a list of very common plants that can be poisonous for your pet so you know which to avoid and can have a safe and happy plant-filled home for you and your furry friends. 

1. Lilies 

Alternate names: Many, though common ones include Peace Lilies, African Lilies, Kafir Lilies and Lily of the Valley.

Peace lilies

There are many different types of lilies but the most common house plant is the Peace Lily. The Peace Lily is toxic to both dogs and cats. Common symptoms of ingestion are vomiting and irritation to the lips and tongue which causes problems swallowing. You also need to keep an eye out for Easter and Stargazer Lilies, which often come in bouquets and are toxic for cats. If untreated these lilies can be fatal as they affect cats’ appetites and kidneys. 

2. Aloe Vera 

Alternate names: True Aloe, Octopus Plant, Torch Plant, Candelabra Plant, Barbados Aloe.

Because of its skin-protecting properties and how easy it is to take care of, Aloe Vera is one of the most common plants kept in the home. Though the gel inside the plant has healing properties for humans, it also contains purgatives. Purgatives are medications that encourage bowel movements, which is what makes this plant moderately toxic to pets if ingested. The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea but other signs of aloe vera ingestion include depression, anorexia, changes in urine colour and in very rare cases tremors. 

3. Ivy 

Alternate names: Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, California Ivy.

Any plant of the Ivy (Hedera Helix) family can be very harmful to pets- not just Poison Ivy! These plants contain saponins, which have various beneficial properties for humans but are toxic to pets. If ingested, the most common symptoms are a rash, breathing problems, vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea. In extreme cases your pet may experience symptoms of a coma or paralysis. Please note that these plants are also very common outdoors around houses so always keep an eye on your dog when exploring new places. 

Related: How To Prepare Your Pet For Spring

4. Jade

Alternate names: Jade Tree, Dwarf Rubber Plant, Chinese or Japanese Rubber Plant, Friendship Tree and Baby Jade.

Jade plant

Jade plants are very common in homes because they require very little care. Unfortunately for pet owners they do pose a real threat to dogs and cats. Unfortunately, the specific toxins in this plant are still unknown but they can have multiple different effects on your pet which is what makes it so dangerous. Symptoms can be quite mild but some veterinary professionals claim that jade plant poisoning can cause more serious issues so

it is essential that if your pet ingests any part of a jade plant you seek immediate help. Reported symptoms are: vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, weakness, depression, aggression and hiding. In rare, serious cases symptoms may be a slow heart rate, impaired muscle movement and convulsions. 

Related: How Does COVID-19 Affect Your Pets?

5. Dumb Cane

Alternate names: Dieffenbachia, Exotica, Tropic Snow.

The dumbcane is commonly found indoors in homes or offices because it’s known as a very low-maintenance plant. What people don’t know is that it does have properties toxic to people as well as pets who ingest it. Every part of the plant is lethal but the intensity of the symptoms will depend on how much is consumed. There is a long list of symptoms that appear as soon as a bite is taken, but pain and inflammation will be immediately noticeable. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, foaming at the mouth, blindness and respiratory issues are all possible symptoms of dumbcane poisoning. In the worst cases death is a real possibility which is why it is so important to seek immediate professional veterinary help if this plant is ingested. 

6. Pothos

Alternate names: Devil’s Ivy, Ceylon Creeper, Money Plant, Hunter’s Robe, Epipremnum Aureum, Satin Pothos, Silk Pothos, Taro Vine, Ivy Arum.

Pothos is one of the most difficult plants to identify because it has so many different names. Luckily, its unique look makes it much easier to identify by looking up pictures rather than by name. The toxins in pothos plants act on your pet’s system almost immediately after they have ingested it. The symptoms can be mild, such as tongue and mouth irritation, or they can be more severe such as vomiting, foaming at the mouth and breathing difficulties. If you wait too long to provide veterinary care to your pet, crystal formation in the urine may develop which can lead to other medical issues. 

7.  Sago Palm

Alternate names: Cycas Revoluta.

Unlike some plants where only certain parts of it are toxic to pets, the Sago Palm’s trunk, roots, leaves and seeds are all poisonous. One seed is enough to kill your pet. Symptoms can develop within minutes and continue to worsen hours after ingestion. Initial symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, lethargy and loss of appetite. Later your pet may develop signs that accompany liver failure including seizures, fluid in the abdomen and bloody stool. The current mortality rate of pets that have ingested Sago Palm is 75%. We do not recommend having this plant in your home if you have pets or small children, and if ingested you need to call your veterinary emergency clinic or poison control centre immediately. 

8. ZZ Plant

Alternate names: Zamioculcas Zamiifolia.

ZZ Plant

The ZZ Plant is one of the most common houseplants because it can survive just about anywhere since it can tolerate extremely low light and drought conditions. It also happens to be a really beautiful plant to have in your home. Unlike many other plants on this list, the ZZ Plant is toxic to humans as well as animals but in all cases the symptoms are often quite mild and in no way deadly. The sap can irritate human skin which could end up causing a localized rash. If ingested by your pet (or kids) they will most likely experience digestive problems such as vomiting or diarrhea until it is out of their system. Find out how to treat ZZ plant exposure here

9. Asparagus Fern

Alternate names: Emerald Fern, Emerald Feather, Sprengeri Fern, Lace Fern, Plumosa Fern, Racemose Asparagus, Shatavari.

Asparagus Ferns are often used in floral arrangements but are also quite a common houseplant because of their feathery foliage. The most toxic part of this plant are the berries which, if ingested by your pet, can cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is also possible to develop a minor skin irritation following contact with the plant. 

10. Sowbread

Alternate names: Cyclamen, Persian Violet.

The sowbread is a beautiful flowering plant that brightens up any space, which is why it is quite a common houseplant. Unfortunately, it is also quite poisonous since it contains irritating saponins. The saponins are mainly found in the tubers and roots of the plant but household pets can be poisoned after ingesting any part of it. The symptoms range in severity from irritation of the mouth and face to heart abnormalities and seizures. Other symptoms include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and tremors. 

Thank you for reading! 


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