Plant Toxicity – What You Need to Know To Keep Your Pets Safe Indoors

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Having plants indoors provides many benefits such as air purification and mood-boosting capabilities. Also, they liven up a room, creating a lively environment and providing easy conversation starters. Unfortunately, an astonishing number of indoor plants, as great as they are, are toxic to our four-legged furry family members. Although some plants are more harmful to dogs and cats than others, it pays off to learn more about plant toxicity and be aware to keep your pets safe.

Here is a list of common indoor plants that you’ll want to keep out of reach of pets due to plant toxicity.

Plant Toxicity in Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

The Aloe plant is super easy to care for, great for sunburns, and considered a medicinal plant for humans. However, the Aloe plant is not so great for cats and dogs. Aloe plant toxicity level is deemed to be moderate due to potential GI upset.

Aloe Vera plants contain anthraquinone glycosides which are purgatives, and when ingested, they result in diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and sometimes tremors.

The Aloe plant is a common plant to have on hand around your home, and usually, the first taste of the aloe plant will discourage your pets from continuing to eat the bitter-tasting stems. Yet, there are always those stubborn animals that need us to be a little more cautious. It’s ideal to find a high location to keep it out of reach.

Tomato Plant

Tomatoes are a part of the Solanaceae family. Ripened tomatoes themselves are non-toxic as occasional treats for pets, but the stems and leaves are one plant toxicity to keep away from pets. The stems and leaves of tomatoes contain solanine, a glycoalkaloid.

While a significant amount has to be ingested for severe poisoning, the toxicity from the Tomato plant usually causes GI upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. 

Tomato Plant

Peace Lily

Peace Lily

The Peace Lily filters indoor air, increases humidity levels, absorbs airborne mold spores, and helps you breathe better. Peace Lilies are known to bring feelings of calmness and alleviates feelings of stress in the mind. What the Peace Lily is not good for is your pets.

Plant toxicity level for the Peace Lily is high. If ingested, Peace Lilies can cause mild reactions, but sometimes they can cause death.

Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased salivation, and seizures are expected results from Lily ingestion. However, if an animal ingests large quantities, especially cats, it can lead to severe kidney failure or death.

Plant Toxicity in Jade Plants

Plant toxicity of a Jade plant will result in vomiting, depression, heartbeat irregularities, and ataxia. The part of the Jade plant that is the cause for concern is unknown, so it is best to assume the entire plant is toxic.

Jade plants are commonly called rubber plants. If your pet ingests a Jade or Rubber plant, it is best to go to your vet immediately for treatment.

Jade Plant

Caladium or “Elephant Ear”

Caladium or “Elephant Ear” plant toxicity

Elephant ears are beautiful, luscious, green tropical plants and add character to any location. Even though beautiful and desired houseplants, are not suitable for dogs and cats.

Elephant ears contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. Oxalate crystals, if ingested, can scrape and penetrate organ tissues. A promising sign that your pet has chewed on these leaves is drooling, pawing at the mouth or face, foaming, and vomiting.

Signs of elephant ear poisoning include loss of appetite, airway swelling, vomiting, lethargy, mouth, lip, and tongue swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Devil’s Ivy

The Devil’s Ivy is another indoor plant that contains calcium oxalate crystals similar to the Elephant Ear.

Calcium oxalate crystals ingestion can cause your pet’s mouth to burn, foaming of the mouth, and vomiting. In severe cases, if the crystals get into your airways, it can cause irritation and difficulty breathing.

If you love this beautiful hanging ivy, keeping it indoors even with pets is still possible. Just be sure to hang it in a location high enough that it is out of reach.

Devil’s Ivy

Tulips

Tulips

Tulips are bright, beautiful, colorful flowers that can accent any space. While popular because of their bright and beautiful colors, these elegant flowers are highly toxic to dogs and cats.

Symptoms of tulip toxicity can occur within just a couple of hours. Bulbs are severely more potent compared to the flowers themselves.

If a Tulip is ingested, monitor for depression, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmias, abdominal pain, dizziness, and comas. At the first assumed sign of Tulip ingestion, seek veterinary care immediately.

Daffodil

Daffodil’s plant toxicity is so intense that it can cause an adverse reaction in pets if even the plant vase’s water is ingested.

Daffodils are a part of the Amaryllidaceae family. They are toxic to dogs and cats. Daffodils contain Lycorine and other alkaloids, which can be fatal if ingested in excessive quantities.

Clinical signs are vomiting, salivation, diarrhea, convulsions, tremors, cardiac arrhythmias, and low blood pressure. It is best to seem veterinary care at the sign of Daffodil ingestion.

Daffodil plant toxicity

Plant Toxicity in Asparagus Ferns

Asparagus Fern

The Asparagus Fern, also known as the emerald fern or emerald feather, is popular because of its luscious greenery and fast-growing capabilities to quickly spruce up your indoor aesthetic.

Unfortunately, these plants are toxic to our family pets. Asparagus Ferns depending on the plant area ingestion defines the type of reaction your pet will have.

Asparagus Fern leaves, stems, and greenery commonly causes allergic dermatitis. Allergic dermatitis will create excessive itching and make your pet very uncomfortable.

Additionally, the berries of the Asparagus Fern contain sapogenin, which will cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are sold in stores commonly sold in stores in the daisy and mum varieties. However, think twice before bringing these fun flowers indoors around cats or dogs.

Chrysanthemums are natural insecticides. In fact, these plants contain synthetic chemicals called permethrin. Permethrin is used in many ways to deter different types of pests.

Permethrin is found in the three familiar places, used to treat head lice, in dog and cat flea and tick medications, and used within buildings and structures as a pesticide.

Symptoms of Chrysanthemum poisoning are drooling, coughing, vomiting, lack of appetite, agitation, and shaking.

Chrysanthemum plant toxicity

Plant Toxicity – The Wrap-up

As you can now tell, many of our beloved indoor plants can be harmful to our furry family members. So, when considering adding a new plant to your home, it is always a good idea to do a little research on plant toxicity beforehand to ensure pet safety.

A little GI upset is never fun, but we never want to accidentally bring indoors a plant that could severely harm our dogs and cats.

FAQ

This list is 10 of the more common houseplants found around pets and capable of causing potential problems. This does not mean this list includes the only toxic plants to animals because that is not the case. Many more poisonous plants are not on this list, baby breath being one of them. Baby breath is toxic to cats and will cause mild GI upset. If you receive a bouquet containing baby breath, it is best to throw it away before putting it into a vase to share a home with a cat. However, if you forget, do not get too worried because, more than likely, your pet will be okay but still consult your veterinarian for further guidance.

Yes, and no. Tomatoes themselves are not toxic as an occasional small treat for your pet. Even though non-toxic the tomato should not be fed to your pet all the time because of its level of acidity.

If you grow tomatoes indoors, put the plant out of reach from dogs and cats but no need to be overly worried about the tomato itself.

If you’re a plant collective, have a green thumb, and want to have a pet, this can become tricky. The best way to work around this is to scatter your pet-friendly plants indoors but find a dedicated room just for your plants that contain toxic traits for pets. If there is one well-lit bedroom or laundry room that you can keep your cat or dog out of, that is best for trying to live seamlessly with beloved plants and animals.

Aloe plants are found in homes all the time because of their medicinal properties. Aloe plants are desirable houseplants, and most pet owners have no idea they are toxic to pets. Deciding whether or not to kick your aloe plant to the curb is a matter of weighing the risk individually.

If you have had an Aloe plant indoors for a while already and your pet has shown no interest in it, then more than likely, you are fine keeping it indoors. However, if considering adding the plant to your home, think about how curious your cat or dog is before you do.

An excellent option to keep an aloe plant indoors is to find a shelf up high out of reach from your pets.

This is tricky because, to be honest, you should always consult your veterinarian. However, three plants to never bring indoors around pets are Tulips, Chrysanthemums, and every Lily species.

Peace lilies, Tulips, and Chrysanthemums can and will cause more harm than some vomiting and diarrhea. They all pose the risk of potential organ failure and death.

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