Poisonous Plants to Keep Away from Cats and Dogs – 40 Species to Avoid

Poisonous Plants to Keep Away from Cats and Dogs – 40 Species to Avoid
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Poisonous plants are something all cat and dog owners want to avoid. But how do you know which plants are toxic to pets? Here, we’ve created a list of 40 culprits to keep away from your fur babies.

First, a few stats:

  • In 2019, the total number of households in the U.S. reached a little over 128 million.
  • Take a look at the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). It shows that about 85 million families, or about 67% of U.S. households, own a pet.
  • Out of these 128 million households, over 33 million, or a little over 25%, have plants.

Based on these numbers, you can presume that millions of American households have both plants and pets. And some of them don’t realize there are many plants poisonous for pets.

Before you purchase your next indoor plants, find out which ones can be harmful or even deadly to your beloved pets. Here is our list of 40 poisonous plants for cats and dogs:

Part 1: Poisonous Plants Highly Toxic to Cats and Dogs

These highly toxic plants may cause illness or even death to your pets. For prevention, you’ll want to keep them in areas that are not at all accessible to your furry friends. If your pets happen to ingest these plants, see a veterinarian immediately, or call…

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435

Poisonous Plants - Azalea

1. Azalea

Azalea leads this list of poisonous plants for pets. While it effortlessly beautifies any area, it contains toxins that can immediately poison your pets. Ingesting this plant can lead to drooling, vomiting, and even death.

Brugmansia - Poisonous Plants

2. Brugmansia

Brugmansia, also known as angel’s trumpet, is a beautiful flowering plant. Unfortunately, it is highly toxic to both cats and dogs. All its parts are deadly, especially the leaves and the seeds. Be careful with your pets if they are around this plant. It can cause migraines, fevers, and in extreme cases, death.

Caladium - Poisonous Plants

3. Caladium

Caladium, also known as elephant ear, is a popular house plant because of its fantastic color. It may be beautiful to look at, but it is not suitable for pets. Their calcium crystals will cause oral irritation that might induce symptoms that range from vomiting to difficulty breathing.

Castor Bean Plant

4. Castor Bean

Castor bean, also called castor oil plant, contains the toxins ricin and ricinine. This plant’s seeds and leaves contain these poisons. It instantly causes vomiting, diarrhea, and hypotension. The beans are particularly deadly to dogs and cats — the tiniest serving can lead to extreme poisoning.

Cyclamen Flowers

5. Cyclamen

The cyclamen, also known as Persian violet or sowbread, is a beautiful, colorful houseplant readily available to buy. However, it contains substances that can disrupt your pet’s cardiac functions. Some of the early poisoning symptoms include mild vomiting and diarrhea. Although, if left untreated, it can cause cardiac arrest in your pet.

Flowering Tobacco - Poisonous Plant

6. Flowering Tobacco

The flowering tobacco is a beautiful, aromatic decorative plant. Most tobacco plants are toxic to pets, and flowering tobacco is the most poisonous among these. It contains alkaloids, including nicotine, and it can cause respiration and cardiac complications, and paralysis in cats and dogs.

Foxglove Plant

7. Foxglove

Foxglove is another seemingly innocent decorative plant but is, in fact, quite toxic for your pets — and you. Don’t be fooled by its attractive, trumpet-like flowers. Foxglove can cause instant allergic reactions in minutes after touching it. And it’s even more toxic to pets, dogs in particular. This plant attacks a dog’s heart, causing cardiovascular complications.

Foxtail Fern

8. Foxtail Fern

People consider the foxtail fern to be an ornamental houseplant in certain places. But it’s also known as a type of invasive weed that is deadly to dogs. The worst thing about the foxtail fern is that dogs don’t have to ingest it for it to be fatal. A small amount of this plant on your dog’s skin can enter the body or the brain, which can cause death.

Lantana Camara

9. Lantana Camara

The Lantana Camara is a colorful, flowering plant. Its toxicity in humans is debatable, but it is a poisonous plant that’s deadly to cats and dogs. Lantana Camara can cause weakness, diarrhea, and stomach pains in your pets. If left untreated, it can cause liver failure and death.

Poisonous Larkspur Plant

10. Larkspur

Larkspur, also known as delphinium, is one of the most dangerous in this list of poisonous plants for pets. And it’s also deadly for humans. The plant’s beautiful flowers look harmless, but they contain alkaloids that can kill pets and even humans when consumed.  

Lilies Poisonous for Pets

11. Lilies

Lilies are famously beautiful flowering plants. However, not many people know that they’re also dangerous to pets, especially cats. They can bring about some digestion problems in dogs. However, they can cause kidney failure in cats, which can lead to death if left untreated.

Morning Glory Flowers

12. Morning Glory

The morning glory is a flowering plant that’s relatively easy to grow indoors. While it might be enjoyable to care for one, it’s not a good idea if you have a pet. Its seeds contain chemicals that are lethal to pets, particularly to dogs.

Oleander Flowers

13. Oleander

Oleander is a flowering plant that’s easy to grow indoors but is highly toxic. In fact, all parts of these poisonous plants are potentially lethal to pets. Depending on the ingested amount, this seemingly harmful plant can cause heart problems, high fevers, and seizures.

Sago Palm Plant Poisonous for Pets

14. Sago Palm

The sago palm is a common accent plant. However, its parts — especially its seeds or nuts — are toxic to cats and dogs. The cycasin in the sago palm works quickly and attacks a pet’s liver. This poison causes gastrointestinal irritation, and in extreme cases, multiple organ failure. This plant is particularly deadly to dogs.

Tulips Poisonous

15. Tulips

Tulips are a lovely addition to any room in your house. But think twice before getting them if you have pets. All species of tulips contain a chemical that makes them poisonous plants for pets, especially dogs. The flowers contain most of the toxic substance, but it’s spread in smaller doses throughout the plant. This chemical can cause your pet’s internal organs to crash and can lead to death.

Part 2: Poisonous Plants with Mild to Moderate Toxicity

Let’s continue with our list of plants poisonous to pets, with some that have mild to moderate levels of toxicity. They’re not as lethal as the first 15 but can still be dangerous. It’s best to visit the vet if your pet consumes any of the plants below.

Poisonous Plants - African Boxwood

16. African Boxwood

African boxwood, also called cape myrtle, is known for its glossy foliage and resilience against drought.  When ingested, it can cause dehydration in pets, especially to our canine companions.

Aloe Poisonous to Cats and Dogs

17. Aloe

Aloe is known for its many uses, from skincare to soothing burns. However, what many people don’t know is that aloe is harmful to pets. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.

Asparagus Fern

18. Asparagus Fern

Many consider the asparagus fern to be an ornamental plant, but it’s, in fact, an invasive weed. It can cause an allergic skin reaction if your pets touch it. Also, if a pet eats its leaves or berries, it can induce vomiting.

Poisonous Plants - Baby's Breath

19. Baby’s Breath

Baby’s breath is a lovely flowering plant that can add pleasant floral accents to any home. When ingested, however, it can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in your pets. Signs a cat or dog has eaten part of this poisonous plant include vomiting, diarrhea, apparent laziness, and depression.

Broom Plant

20. Broom Plant

The broom plant is technically a type of weed. But some people like growing it indoors because of its beautiful, vivid colors. It may look good, but it can cause your pets problems in the heart and nervous system when eaten.

Chinese Evergreen Plant - Poisonous

21. Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese evergreen is another popular houseplant that is not such a hit with pets. It can cause allergic reaction-like symptoms when ingested. These symptoms can include tightening of the throat and difficulty breathing that can last up to two weeks.

Daffodil

22. Daffodil

The daffodil is a beautiful plant that almost everyone appreciates in the spring. This plant looks impressive indoors and can add vibrancy to any room. However, if you have one, keep it away from your cats. Ingesting its leaves or flowers can cause cats to have an upset stomach that can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Dieffenbachia - Poisonous Plants

23. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia, also known as dumb cane, is a relatively common house plant. Its toxicity to pets progresses similarly to that of other tropical plants. It can irritate the mouth when ingested, leaving the tongue swollen. And, although it rarely happens, its complications can lead to breathing difficulties that may result in death.

Eucalyptus Plant

24. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus may have medical benefits for humans, but it’s not the same case for your pets. Small amounts of eucalyptus can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. It can even cause seizures when taken in large doses.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Poisonous Plants

25. Fiddle Leaf Fig

The fiddle leaf fig is a popular ornamental plant. It can be tricky to grow indoors, but many plant lovers grow it. One reason is that the plant can instantly add a sense of luxury to any area. Unknown to many, however, its leaves are quite toxic to pets and can induce excessive drooling and vomiting.

Poisonous Plants - Holly Berries

26. Holly

The holly is a resilient plant that can withstand the harsh winter cold and is quite popular during the Christmas season. It may look festive, but its berries can induce mild vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs. Additionally, its stiff, spiked leaves can cause physical damage.

Lucky Bamboo Poisonous for Pets

27. Lucky Bamboo 

Lucky bamboo is considered an auspicious plant in Feng Shui. In fact, some say it can bring good fortune to your home. However, it’s not pet-friendly. Ingesting lucky bamboo will lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pains for your pets.

Marijuana Plants Poisonous for Pets

28. Marijuana

Marijuana or cannabis is known for its recreational and medical uses. While it’s not deadly to pets, cannabis poisoning is common. It causes drooling, incoordination, and sometimes even respiratory problems.

Mountain Laurel Poisonous

29. Mountain Laurel

The mountain laurel is a flowering plant with colorful, uniquely-shaped flowers. It is quite toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause extreme drooling, dizziness, and lethargy.

Onions Poisonous to Dogs

30. Onion

Do you love onions? If so, and you decided to grow your own at home, make sure not to feed them to your pets. While onions pack some nutrients essential for humans, they’re among the more dangerous foods for pets. In fact, consistently eating onions can cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells.

Oregano Plant Poisonous to Cats

31. Oregano

Oregano complements pizza perfectly, but it’s not for our pawed friends. This plant can cause your pets stomach distress and, in extreme cases, even liver diseases.

Poisonous Poinsettia Plant

32. Poinsettia

The poinsettia is one of the most famous plants associated with Christmas. While it may look festive in your home, think again before getting one if you have a cat. The sap in poinsettia can cause cats to have an upset stomach that can lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

Pokeweed Poisonous to Dogs

33. Pokeweed

Some people choose to grow pokeweed, even though it is essentially a weed. It has beautiful magenta stems and purple berries, which many animals enjoy, but not dogs. It’s one of many poisonous plants for dogs, and its berries cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a drop in blood pressure.

Pothos Plant Poisonous

34. Pothos

Pothos, also called devil’s ivy, is a popular hanging houseplant. That is lucky because this plant does not agree with pets, and we should keep it out of their reach. Eating any part of the plant will cause pets to vomit and, if left untreated, can lead to liver failure.

Philodendron Poisonous for Pets

35. Philodendron

This flowering plant is mildly toxic to pets because it contains calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals in philodendrons may irritate your pets’ skin, particularly in the mouth area.

Rhubarb Plant

36. Rhubarb

Rhubarb has many benefits for you. For example, it contains high fiber, calcium, and vitamins C and K. However, it is not beneficial to pets. Its leaves can cause extreme salivation and weakness, and even kidney complications with repeated consumption.

Rubber Tree Plant - Poisonous to Pets

37. Rubber Tree

Despite the difficulty ants have moving them, the rubber tree is a preferred indoor plant because it’s low maintenance. However, take care not to put it in reach of your pets. It has a wide range of effects when ingested, such as decreased appetite and skin irritation.

Poisonous Plants - Snake Plant

38. Snake Plant

The snake plant is one of the most common indoor plants. It’s said to have medicinal properties for people, but it’s not great for pets. Snake plants have a numbing effect and can cause a dog or cat’s throat to swell.

Tomatoes Poisonous for Dogs

39. Tomato

The tomato is a useful plant to have if you enjoy cooking, but it’s not friendly to dogs. When a dog ingests a tomato (especially an unripe one), it can cause weakness, gastrointestinal complications, and slow heart rate.

ZZ Plant

40. Zamioculcas Zamiifolia

Zamioculcas Zamiilfolia, or ZZ plant, is a popular, resilient, low-maintenance plant. However, it contains calcium oxalate crystals, just like the philodendron. When ingested, it can cause a cat or dog’s mouth to swell and might lead to breathing difficulties.

Poisonous Plants to Keep Away from Cats and Dogs – The Wrap-up

If you have cats or dogs and plants in your home, it’s essential to know which poisonous plants to keep from pets. Be especially careful to watch out for the first 15 in this list of plants poisonous for pets. Some of their effects are quite fast. If you have pets at home, plants can be a great addition. However, find out first just how pet-friendly a plant is before you make the purchase.

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