Most pet owners will agree that their dogs and cats are beloved members of the family. As such, it is important to keep their safety and well-being in mind when considering what is brought into our homes. Unfortunately, dogs and cats tend to find strange (and often dangerous) things to chew on. Some of these things can be one of your houseplants, which might be poisonous.
Household plants often fall culprit to a bored pet’s wandering teeth, but there are many common plants that can be very dangerous to our furry companions. Though it can be difficult to control what plants our pets come into contact with outdoors, dangers within the home can easily be avoided.
Here is a list of some of the most common toxic houseplants and cut flowers that should be avoided in the home.
The Aloe Vera plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats. It contains a chemical compound known as Saponin which creates a soapy lather when disturbed.
If your pet has ingested this plant, symptoms may include: vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, depression, tremors, or change in urine color.
Castor Bean Plant
The Castor Bean Plant, also known as Ricinus Communis, is highly toxic to both dogs and cats, due to its content of Ricin, which inhibits protein synthesis. Ingestion of as little as one ounce of seeds can be lethal. Symptoms usually develop within 12 to 48 hours after ingestion.
Symptoms may include: excessive thirst, loss of appetite, weakness, colic, difficulty breathing, loss of coordination, trembling, sweating, fever, and central nervous system depression. Bloody diarrhea, convulsions and coma may precede death.
Caladium, also commonly known as Elephant Ear, is poisonous to both dogs and cats. It contains insoluble calcium oxalates that cause irritation.
Symptoms to watch for may include: intense irritation and burning of the mouth, tongue and lips, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and excessive drooling.
Poinsettias, maybe better known as Christmas flower or star, are poisonous to both dogs and cats. The leaves, stem, and flowers of this popular holiday plant contain an irritant sap.
Symptoms may include: Irritation to the mouth and stomach, vomiting.
Also commonly known as Exotica and Dieffenbachia. Dumbcane is poisonous to both dogs and cats. This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates, as well as proteolytic enzymes.
Symptoms may include: intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, and vomiting.
English Ivy, along with many members of the Ivy family, are poisonous to both dogs and cats due to the Triterpenoid Saponins it contains. The foliage of this plant is more toxic than its berries.
Symptoms may include: hyper salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The tomato plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats. It contains a chemical known as Solanine, which belongs to the saponin group, and can be found in any part of the plant.
Symptoms may include: inappetence, hyper salivation, diarrhea, severe gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression, drowsiness, confusion, dilated pupils, behavioral change, weakness, and slow heart rate.
Lantana is toxic to both dogs and cats. It is known by a variety of other names, including Yellow Sage, Red Sage, and Shrub Verbena. The toxic component of this plant is a chemical known as Pentacyclic Triterpenoid.
Symptoms experienced may include: weakness, labored breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. (This plant can also cause liver failure, however, this symptom is most often seen in livestock.)
The Sago Palm is an ornamental plant that is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Its toxicity is derived from a chemical known as Cycasin, which causes toxic and carcinogenic effects. The Cycasin is found throughout the entire plant, but especially in the seeds.
Symptoms may include: vomiting, increased thirst, melena, icterus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, coagulopathy, bruising, liver damage, liver failure, and death.
Though Mistletoe has gained romantic connotations around the holidays, it is poisonous to both dogs and cats, and should be kept well out of their reach. Its toxic properties are contained in its berries.
Symptoms may include: gastrointestinal disorders, dyspnea, bradycardia, cardiovascular collapse, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood pressure (though this is rare.)
Tulips can add a lovely splash of color to any centerpiece, but they are poisonous to both dogs and cats. The highest concentration of its toxins are contained in the bulb, making them particularly dangerous when kept as a potted plant.
Symptoms may include: hyper salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
Daffodils are another lovely flower that is toxic to both dogs and cats. Daffodils contain Lycorine, a toxic crystalline alkaloid. The highest concentration of toxins are found in the bulb.
Symptoms may include: diarrhea, salivation, and vomiting. Low blood pressure, convulsions, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias may also be experienced if ingested in large quantities.
Chrysanthemums, as well as daisies and other members of the mum family, are toxic to both dogs and cats. These flowers contain a variety of irritants, including Pyrethrins.
Symptoms may include: diarrhea, hyper salivation, vomiting, incoordination, and dermatitis.
Heartleaf Philodendrons, as well as other members of the Philodendron family, are toxic to both dogs and cats. This is due to their content of insoluble calcium oxalates.
Symptoms your pet may experience include: intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, and vomiting.
Bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. For a complete list of common toxic houseplants, you can visit the ASPCA website. As always, if your pet appears to be ill, it is likely a good idea to check with your veterinarian.