Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.
There is a lot of overlap between the community of people that love caring for animals and the community of people who love caring for plants. It may be the satisfaction of watching something thrive, or it might be the love of "mothering" things, but many people who love animals also love plants. When you have pets and plants, there is an added challenge of making sure that none of your plants can cause harm to your pets.
Below is a list of eight common houseplants that are toxic to dogs. The potential symptoms range from mild to lethal, depending on the plant. While you don't have to stop owning these plants entirely, extra care should be taken to keep these plants out of your dog's reach. Options like hanging plants, shelves, plant stands, and countertops can help keep your dog away from these plants.
1. Aloe Vera
If the aloe vera plant is ingested it can cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. Some other things to watch out for are changes in urine color and tremors (even though tremors are very rare). If your dog has eaten enough aloe, a toxin called saponin can even cause red blood cells to break down.
Pothos plants contain calcium oxalate crystals. If your dog chews on the plant, it will release these crystals and cause irritation to the mouth and the throat. Symptoms of pothos poisoning are apparent immediately after your dog chews on the plant. Pothos poisoning can cause irritation of the lips, tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, and vomiting. If these symptoms go on for too long, more serious symptoms can occur such as loss of consciousness or seizures.
3. Peace Lily
Like pothos, peace lilies contain calcium oxalate crystals and can irritate the mouths of dogs when they chew on the plant. This causes an inflamed muzzle and throat and it can also cause diarrhea and vomiting. The most dangerous symptom that can occur is difficulty breathing because of a swollen airway, which would definitely warrant a trip to the vet.
4. Snake Plant
Other common names for this plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) are Mother-in-Laws Tongue, Good Luck Plant, and Golden Bird's Nest. This plant causes gastrointestinal issues when consumed by dogs. The irritation that this plant causes is usually mild, and does not last too long. If your dog chews on this plant, you will likely notice vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and loss of appetite.
5. ZZ Plant
The symptoms that this plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) can cause in dogs are vomiting and diarrhea. All parts of this plant are considered toxic to both animals and humans if ingested, and it is suggested that you wash your hands after handling it. This is another plant that contains calcium oxalates, so broken leaves can irritate your dog's skin as well as irritate them internally.
6. Bird of Paradise
If you see your dog chewing on any part of this plant, it is important to take them to see a vet immediately. Bird of Paradise plants contain both hydrocyanic acid and tannins, and the symptoms they cause can lead to death. Symptoms include rapid pulse, labored breathing, muscle tremors, staggering, burning and itching in the mouth, and diarrhea.
Symptoms of jade plant poisoning can be anywhere from mild to severe. What causes this plant to be toxic to dogs is unknown, but some symptoms are aggression, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, hiding, convulsions, and slow heart rate.
8. English Ivy
English ivy has mild symptoms. All parts of this plant contain toxins, but the leaves have the highest concentration. If ingested, it can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and vomiting. The sap from the plant can cause dermal reactions such as blistering, redness, and swelling.
Top Poisoning Symptoms in Dogs
What to Do if Your Dog Eats One of These Plants
If you are unsure calling a vet is always the best option. Another option is to call the ASPCA Poison Control Center. They are available all day every day at (888) 426-4435; a consultation fee may apply. They will help you with the next steps whether you need to induce vomiting or give them more fluids. They also have information on their website about all of these toxic plants. It is always best to contact a professional about a situation as serious as this one.
- Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants
- Pet Poison Helpline
- Pothos Poisoning in Dogs
- Peace Lily and Dogs - Is Peace Lily Toxic to Dogs
- Are Bird Of Paradise Plants Dangerous to Dogs?
- The Poison Potential of Succulents
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Jess H (author) from Oregon on July 11, 2019:
I'm glad you found it useful! I have aloe vera too I just keep it out of my dogs reach.
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on July 11, 2019:
We have a lot of aloe vera. I'm glad that you made this article.