Houseplants are a wholesome addition to the ambiance of any room. They can provide several health benefits, including keeping carbon dioxide levels down, removing pollutants, and improving moisture levels in your home. However, there are some common houseplants that can be toxic to your furry friends. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), the following houseplants could be potentially dangerous to the wellbeing of your pets.
Mildly Toxic Plants:
Fiddle Leaf Fig (left) and Spider Plant (right) can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Small ingestions of either plant can cause mild gastrointestinal irritation, skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Left: Pothos (aka Devil's Ivy), Right: Dumbcane
Left: Philodendron, Right: Chinese Evergreen
These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates. The stem, leaf stalk, and leaves contain crystals that can cause irritation to the mouth and GI tract when chewed or ingested. Additional symptoms include nausea, drooling, gagging, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Left: Calla Lily, Right: Peace Lily
In addition to Calla Liles and Peace Lilies, there are several other Lilies that are extremely toxic to cats. According to Pet Poison Helpline, Lilies classified as “True Lilies” and “Day Lilies”, including Easter Lilies, Tiger Lilies, Stargazer Lilies, Japanese Show Lilies, and Asiatic Lilies, can trigger sudden kidney failure in cats. Pet owners should avoid having these types of Lilies in their homes or yards to avoid harm to their animals.
Exposure to these plants are not considered life threatening, but pets that show more severe symptoms may require a visit to your local vet.
Moderately Toxic Plants:
Left: Dragon Tree, Right: Ribbon Plant
Left: Corn Plant, Right: Jade Plant
Small exposure to these plants can cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs and cats. Larger exposure can lead to depression, weakness, and lack of coordination. Additional symptoms for cats may include enlarged pupils, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate, drooling, and abdominal discomfort. Exposure to Jade plants in both cats and dogs may also cause lethargy, ataxia, and muscle tremors.
Severely Toxic Plants:
Left: Sago Palm, Right: Easter Lily
All parts of the Sago Palm plant are extremely toxic to both cats and dogs. However, the seeds contain the highest concentration of toxins. If exposed, pets can experience immediate vomiting, diarrhea with blood, lethargy, anorexia, and seizures. The most extreme symptom is liver failure, which can develop within three days of consumption.
Easter Lilies are very toxic to cats. Even the smallest amount of exposure to this plant can result in kidney injury and death, which can develop within 48-72 hours. Other symptoms include vomiting, depression, lethargy, and anorexia. Dogs often experience less severe symptoms than cats.
It is important to have an emergency plan in place if/when your animal is exposed to a toxic plant. Have emergency vet numbers easily accessible, including your own vet and a poison control hotline. The APC can be contacted at 888-426-4435. If symptoms are severe and you need to take your pet in for veterinary assistance, it may be helpful to bring a picture of the plant so your vet knows exactly what was consumed. In most cases, it is best to contact your vet if your pet is exposed to a large amount of these plants.
If you currently own any of these indoor plants, be sure they are placed on a high shelf or counter and are out of reach of your animal. If your pet likes to roam your fenced yard, you should consider avoiding these types of toxic plants in your landscaping. Pet owners should context their vet immediately if your pet has been exposed to either of these plants. You can also contact APCC at 888-426-4435.