9 Common Houseplants Poisonous to Your Pet

Plants add a certain element to the feel of our homes; however, those of us with pets need to be selective about the greenery we choose to have around. According to the ASPCA Poison Control, there are literally thousands of plants that could harm our pets if they ingest them. They all have varying degrees of effect on your dog or cat, some mild, some severe, and some potentially fatal. We've narrowed down the list to nine of some of the most common household plants.

1. Corn Plant (Dracaena frangrans)

This easy to grow green is an extremely popular choice for people’s homes. If ingested, symptoms include vomiting, appetite loss, depression, and hypersalivation for both dogs and cats. In cats specifically, it can cause difficulty breathing and an increased heart rate.

2. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

This common exotic plant (image on right) adds a tropical feel to a home (and is even more common as a landscaping piece); however, it can be very troublesome if your pet gets its’ paws on this palm. Every part of this plant poses a threat. From the seeds to the roots, to the leaves - if ingested can cause vomiting diarrhea, and, in some cases, liver failure and death.

3. Aloe Plant (Aloe vera)

Aloe has so many incredible uses for pet parents (especially for soothing burns), it’s no wonder it's such a popular plant pick. But when it comes to exposing it to your pets, you may want to think twice. There are no known reports of the aloe posing a threat when applied topically, but if they happen to chew on the plant it will likely irritate their digestive system. Common symptoms of aloe toxicity are vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and tremors.

4. Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)

This rubber plant is known for being “hard to kill," which is great for those lacking a green thumb. Unfortunately, this isn't the kind of plant you want your dog or cat learning to garden with! Signs that your dog or cat has munched down on this plant includes vomiting, depression and a slow heart rate, and incoordination.

5. Lilies (Many varieties)

Although some lily varieties can pose a threat to your dog, cat owners should be avoiding these pretty petals entirely. This bloom is extremely toxic to your feline and can cause kidney failure and death in some cases. Like the Sago Palm, all parts of lilies are toxic to cats, from the leaves and stems, to the pollen, roots and water in the vase. While these gorgeous blooms are commonly found in floral arrangements, it's best to skip them entirely if you have cats. Symptoms of lily toxicity include drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite. If you suspect your cat has come in contact with lilies, you should bring him/her to the veterinarian immediately.

6. Caladium or “Elephant Ear”

This bold, tropical beauty adds pop to any garden, indoor or out. But beware - signs that your dog or cat munched down on one of these leaves include swelling and burning of the tongue and mouth, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.

7. Dieffenbachia or “Dumb Cane”

Known for being a relatively low-maintenance plant, ingestion of these leaves can cause severe swelling of the mouth and tongue. In turn, this can lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing.

8. Asparagus Fern

This pretty plant (image on right), also known as the "emerald feather," "emerald fern" or "lace fern," is a popular houseplant choice because it is fast growing and is easy to care for. If your dog or cat is exposed to it repeatedly, it can cause skin irritation, and berry ingestion can cause vomiting/diarrhea and abdominal pain.

9. Pothos or “Devil’s Ivy” (Epipremnun aureum)

This tropical plant is easy to grow and harmful to pets. Symptoms of ingestion include oral irritation, burning of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.


If you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian immediately (remember, we're here 24/7 for emergencies!) or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. (Be aware a phone consultation fee may be applied.)




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