Critter Culture
Protect Your Pooch: Poisonous Houseplants to Avoid

Protect Your Pooch: Poisonous Houseplants to Avoid

Critter Culture Staff



Houseplants are a great way to keep a home happy and healthy. But if you have a dog, this isn't necessarily the case. Many common plants are toxic to canines, causing symptoms ranging from minor to fatal.

Responsible dog owners should be aware of what plants are poisonous to their furry friends. Learning the most popular offenders will reduce the chances of your pal needlessly suffering the consequences of eating something harmful.


Assorted ivy

Ivy comes in many strains, and its toxicity varies. For example, Swedish ivy is non-toxic to dogs. However, English ivy is quite harmful. To be on the safe side and avoid confusion, it's best not to keep ivy in your home at all. If you have your heart set on it, research safe options that don't include polyacetylene compounds and triterpenoid saponins. Otherwise, ingestion will result in stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling.

Plectranthus verticillatus seven75 / Getty Images


Snake plant (sansevieria)

The snake plant is also known as mother-in-law's tongue, a beloved part of many homes. Essentially, it can tolerate just about any situation, making care effortless for owners. It's large enough to prominently display as home decor and thrives on neglect. Plus, it's a great air purifier.

Snake plants have many benefits, which is why they're such a draw to many enthusiasts. Unfortunately, they're poisonous to dogs. And a big issue is that they're too large to keep out of a pet's way. So it's in your best interest to avoid this plant and eliminate the threat of gastrointestinal issues due to ingestion.

Sansevieria (snake plant) in ceramic pots on a white table Inna Luzan / Getty Images


Aloe vera

A simple medicinal plant, aloe vera, is quite widespread in residential environments. Though its gel is actually good for dogs, the leaves containing the gel are not. They have aloin in them, which is a type of anthraquinone glycoside. These glycosides tend to act as a laxative and cause temporary stomach ailments. Diarrhea and vomiting aren't uncommon, either.

Aloe Vera plant in bathroom Peter Carruthers / Getty Images


Bird of paradise (strelitzia reginae)

Few plants are as dramatic as the bird of paradise. When grown outdoors, it blooms in a colorful and attention-grabbing way. Though indoor plants typically don't flower, they're still a highlighting centerpiece to any area due to their impressively large leaves.

Similar to the snake plant, size-wise, the bird of paradise isn't easy to keep out of harm's way. If your dog nibbles on the foliage, you're guaranteed to see a rapid adverse reaction. Drowsiness and vomiting usually occur within a half-hour of ingestion.

Bird of paradise flower fluxfoto / Getty Images


Various lilies

Many varieties of lilies are notorious for being poisonous to dogs. The first that comes to mind is the peace lily, as it's a tremendous houseplant that cleans the air plus does well when under-watered and in shade. Though this minimalist plant is easy to keep alive, it's anything but easy on your pup. Peace lilies contain the same calcium oxalate crystals as philodendron, dieffenbachia, and caladium.

Easter lilies are another popular plant that causes calcium oxalate toxicity. Other prevalent types include Japanese show lilies and Asiatic lilies.

Spathiphyllum are commonly known as spath or peace lilies growing in pot in home Helin Loik-Tomson / Getty Images


Dragon tree (dracaena)

Dracaena is a well-received option for those who want a houseplant that doesn't require much work. Its corn plant variety is a beloved choice for many residences thanks to its captivating leaves, but where the type really shines is in the dragon tree. This plant is an attention-getting focal point of any room.

Despite its grand presentation, dracaena in any form contains steroidal saponin. This is highly toxic to pets, promoting a number of serious conditions. Signs of poisoning include drooling, weakness, and even vomiting blood.

Close up view of the house plant dracaena marginata, or dragon tree plant Meredith Heil / Getty Images


Rubber tree (ficus elastica)

Ficus trees are a fundamental houseplant for many growers. The rubber tree is arguably the most popular variety. Another is the weeping fig tree or ficus benjamina. But no matter the type, ficus trees contain ficusen, also known as psoralen. This compound is severely dangerous to pets.

Ficusen is in the plants' sap. However, don't let an animal consume any part of the tree, as every bit of it is harmful. Psoralen can and will attack the DNA in cells. Therefore, it's a smart decision not to include a ficus tree in any home with a dog. It's simply not worth the risk.

Ficus elastic in white ceramic flower pots Elena Grishina / Getty Images


Jade (crassula ovata)

A foundation of many houseplant collections, jades seem to be a principal fixture in many homes. Know for having a lifespan of 100 years or more, these succulents are often handed from one generation to the next, increasing their prevalence.

The jade plant is toxic to dogs. The problem is that there isn't a specific understanding of what compounds cause poisoning. Overall, pups who ingest it have the same symptoms: depression, slowed heart rate, and vomiting.

Succulent houseplant Crassula on the windowsill Andrey Nikitin / Getty Images


Philodendron and dieffenbachia

These are two different plants, yet they have much in common. Coming in many varieties, both are easy to grow and rank among the most favored houseplants.

Since philodendron and dieffenbachia are tropical, they share the same type of toxicity to dogs. Their leaves contain calcium oxalate in the form of tiny, sharp crystals. These crystals will irritate your pup's mouth, inducing excessive drooling. Plus, they cause swelling and burning. Though rare, symptoms may include breathing difficulty and even death.

Dieffenbachia plant potted with new soil into new modern pot on wooden floor Bogdan Kurylo / Getty Images


Elephant ears (caladium)

Elephant ears of the caladium variety differ from other plants that share the same common name. Caladium is a popular houseplant requiring very little light or care. Additionally, its attractive foliage enlivens any living space.

Caladium's toxicity to dogs works the same way as philodendron and dieffenbachia. If you're a fan of this gorgeous leaf display, make sure your plant is entirely inaccessible to your furry friend at all times.

Red Caladium Elephant Ear Plant Supersmario / Getty Images


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