Your Guide to Toxic Plants for Pets

Posted by Joey DiFrancesco on

white pot with fern plant knocked over soil is everywhere and small brown puppy is playing in the mess

There’s nothing like waking up on a cloudy day and glancing over at your beautifully arranged, brightly colored bouquet of sunflowers. It screams, “Have a sunny day!” even when it’s doom-and-gloom outside. 

That’s the thing about indoor house plants and flowers… they help liven up your home or room by stimulating your senses, adding a touch of color, and cheering your place up a bit. But what happens when your cat gets hold of fallen lily pedals? Or when your dog is found chewing on the stems of your golden pothos? 

Back in 2019, the ASPCA reported that both outdoor and indoor house plants fell in 8th place on their top 10 list of pet toxins. 

Certain gardening products like insecticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and soil enhancements came in 9th and 10th place in 2019. This means that if you’re using any of these products on your indoor house plants, you’re creating a double whammy of household toxins for your pet. Yikes! 

So, as much as we love and sometimes need indoor house plants, as a pet parent it's time you ask these some important questions… 

Plants Toxic for Pets: Dogs and Cats

We know, it’s not a question you’d normally ask. Besides, most indoor house plants look harmless. Seriously, unless you have a corner designated for thorn bushes and cactus plants, then what’s the big deal? 

Well, here’s the thing… Our canine and feline friends have quite the sniffers on them. They have far more scent receptors than we humans do. This means that certain plant scents can be pretty toxic to them. 

But what’s worse is if they happen to ingest those particular plants. The symptoms that follow can be debilitating, sometimes fatal. 

Before we tackle our list of the most common plants toxic to pets, we highly encourage you to contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) if you suspect your pet has ingested any of the following poisonous indoor plants. 

brown lab sitting looking up through leaves of a green houseplant

That said, let’s dive into… 

Top 6 Poisonous Plants

1. Lilies and Pets 

Believe it or not, lilies are one of the most common indoor houseplants among pet owners. They exude a sweet aroma, brighten up dark rooms, and are super cute. 

But the issue with lilies is that they are pretty toxic to pets. In fact, lilies are perhaps the most poisonous plants for cats. 

According to research, lilies can wreak havoc on your cat's kidneys and digestion. Unwanted symptoms can take effect within 12-72 hours of ingestion.

These toxic symptoms include: 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling, vomiting 
  • Lethargy or fatigue 
  • Gastrointestinal upset 

As for our canine friends, certain lilies can be equally toxic to them as well. For example, the peace lily has been known to cause dog depression, breathing problems, tremors, and irritation or a burning sensation in the mouth.

The issue with lilies is that there are over 80 species. You have to be really careful that you don’t accidentally bring home a plant that you think is a part of the lily family. 

2. Golden Pothos and Pets 

Golden pothos come in all shapes and sizes. Usually, you’ll find them hanging high so that their long vines can cascade down the walls, doors, or windows. They’re incredibly decorative and very easy to maintain. This makes them another popular indoor houseplant among pet owners. 

There’s just one problem… pothos are poisonous plants for dogs, cats, and even horses. 

They can cause the following unwanted symptoms: 

  • Pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Irritation in the mouth (tongue and lip swelling) 
  • Problems swallowing 
  • Excessive drooling 

These symptoms can take place rather quickly once a pothos is ingested. And the problem is that pothos have other popular names, such as devil’s ivy and silk pothos.  

3. Aloe Vera and Pets 

Aloe vera is praised for its skin-enhancing benefits. It’s known for soothing sunburns, relieving skin irritations, and increasing your skin’s moisture. But that’s all geared toward humans. 

If you’ve ever wondered, “Are aloe plants poisonous to cats? Or could dogs benefit from aloe on their paws?” You’re in for a big surprise… 

The leaves of aloe vera contain anthraquinone glycoside, which is an ingredient used in some laxatives. According to the ASPCA, the following symptoms can arise if your pet ingests aloe vera: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Lethargy 

Some owners have also reported an odd urine color, loss of appetite, and depression in their pets.  

aloe gel in a jar and aloe plant chopped up in a brown bowl

4. Ficus and Pets 

Ah, the ficus… the plant that almost looks fake. It’s a fun plant to own and a great conversation starter… “See that ficus over there, don’t let its rubber-like leaves fool you. It’s actually a real plant!”

The ficus is another popular plant among pet owners because it’s such an easy plant to care for, and it seems to maintain an evergreen appearance all the time. However, ficus, also known as the rubber tree, weeping fig, or fiddle leaf fig, are incredibly poisonous plants for cats, dogs, and horses. 

Ficus are known to ooze out a highly toxic sap. And if your dog, cat, or even horse gets a hold of a ficus and licks the sap or eats any part of the plant, you may notice the following symptoms: 

  • Gastrointestinal upset 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Drooling 
  • Increased heart rate
  • Skin and eye irritations 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 

As much as we love a good Ficus, it’s best to avoid them altogether if you’re a pet parent. 

5. Eucalyptus and Pets 

There’s nothing like the scent of eucalyptus. It’s soothing and can be very therapeutic for anxious and stressful situations. 

However, according to the ASPCA, eucalyptus plant are toxic to cats and dogs, as it’s been shown to cause symptoms like: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Weakness 
  • Depression 
  • Excessive salivation 

The issue with eucalyptus plants is that the scent alone causes these symptoms, not just ingesting, especially in our feline friends. Asparagus fern has a similar effect on humans, but it’s another one that can be toxic to pets. 

6. Jade and Pets 

Last on our list is another popular plant that might have people wondering if the plant is real or fake. We’re referring to the jade plant, also known as the Japanese rubber plant. 

Since these plants are so easy to maintain, a lot of pet owners have them displayed around their houses. But have you ever wondered: “Are jade plants poisonous to cats and dogs?”

The answer: Yes! 

The ASPCA says that jade plants can cause the following symptoms: 

  • Depression 
  • Vomiting 
  • Incoordination 

Now, the issue with jade plants is that their waxy leaves are incredibly tempting for cats and dogs to chew. So, it’s best to keep these rubber-like plants out of your pet friendly home. 

Pet-Safe House Plants 

If one of your favorite plants or flowers were listed above, you’re probably feeling a bit down. Maybe you’ve already cleared your whole house of the toxic plants listed above. Kudos to you. You’re one awesome pet parent!

But don’t feel like you can’t own indoor house plants. There are several non-toxic house plants for cats and dogs that you can bring into your home right now. Here are a few:

  • Moth orchid 
  • Ponytail palm 
  • Bamboo 
  • Spider plant 
  • Money tree 
  • Echeveria 
  • Bromeliads
  • Catnip  

However, we have to warn you that while these plants are considered non-toxic for pets, it’s always important that you watch your pets very closely. 

One pet might not have any issues with certain indoor plants, while another pet might. This is because no two pets are biologically built the same. So, just monitor your pets when they’re around your indoor plants.

orange cat sniffing catnip

Plants Toxic to Pets: The Bottom Line 

As pet owners, we rarely look at our dogs and cats as just pets. They’re our furry family members that we love and deeply care for. That’s why you clicked on this article in the first place. And we’re absolutely ecstatic that you love your pet (and best friend) so much that you want to ensure they have a safe and healthy environment to live in. 

Just because there are few plants that are toxic to dogs and cats doesn’t mean there aren’t pet-safe plants out there. Be sure to do your research before you bring any ol’ plant home. Both you and your pet will benefit from that decision in the end. 

As always, feel free to reach out to our Lola Hemp team for questions and concerns. We’re always happy to help! 

 

References:

https://www.aspca.org/news/announcing-top-10-pet-toxins

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7427442/

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/houseplants-that-could-harm-pets/

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/peace-lily

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/devils-ivy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/aloe

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/aloe-vera/

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/ficus/

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/eucalyptus

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/jade-plant

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/pet-friendly-houseplants-that-wont-hurt-your-dog/

https://lolahemp.com/pages/contact-us

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