Updated: Oct 11
This topic was THE most requested podcast/blog I received. It is a struggle to sometimes integrate
houseplants with your furry friends because lots of houseplant are toxic if consumed! In this podcast and blog I talk about what "toxic" means, toxic houseplants, non-toxic houseplants, ways to prevent your furry friends from nibbling on your plants and I address all questions I received from followers on Instagram.
THIS PODCAST AND BLOG DOES NOT INCLUDE EVERYTHING. NO MATTER WHAT, PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH WHEN BRINGING A NEW PLANT INTO YOUR HOME.
What does "toxic" mean?
This really depends on the plant you are choosing and your pet! Some plants are considered toxic because they can cause irritation and others are toxic because they can cause death. This could also depend on how it affects your pet which you won't know until it is too late. A plant may cause irritation to one pet but could be much worse for another!
Irritation could be defined as discomfort in their mouth or throat, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. I will go into my detail about this below.
This topic should NOT be taken lightly and you should definitely be doing your research before bringing plants into your home with your furry friends.
Some people (like me) have pets that could not care less about houseplants. Lucky us, right?! But others can't stop their pets from nibbling! If you have pets that like to eat your houseplants, I would avoid ANY toxic plant just to be safe. It isn't worth the potential harm to your pet. If you HAVE to have some toxic houseplants, consider the tips I will list below to help prevent your pet from interacting with your houseplants. Use those methods on your non-toxic houseplants first.
All the details I listed below are provided from ASPCA and/or the Pet Poison Helpline. I also included links to either the ASPCA or Pet Poison Helpline website for each plant if you wanted more information.
Aglaonema: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing.
Aloe Vera: Vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea.
Amaryllis: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors.
Anthurium: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
Asparagus Fern: Allergic dermatitis with repeated dermal exposure. Berry ingestion could result in gastric upset (vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea).
Begonia: Kidney failure (in grazing animals), vomiting, salivation in dogs/cats. Most toxic part is underground.
Bird of Paradise: Mild nausea, vomiting, drowsiness; caused mainly by fruit and seeds.
Calla Lily: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
Cordyline: Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils (cats).
Crown of Thornes: Irritation to the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and eyes following exposure.
Cyclamen: Salivation, vomiting, diarrhea. Following large ingestions of tubers: heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures, death.
Desert Rose: Vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, depression, irregular heart beat, death.
Duranta: I couldn't find a link to ASPCA or Pet Poison Helpline, but North Carolina State Extension says "If eaten, this plant has been known to kill children, pets, and animals."
Easter Lily: Vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, kidney failure, and death is possible. Cats are only species known to be affected.
English Ivy: Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea. Foliage is more toxic than berries.
Ficus: Ingestion, irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract may occur. Dermal irritation is also possible if the sap gets on the pet’s skin.
Gardenia: Mild vomiting and/or diarrhea, hives.
Jade: Vomiting, depression, incoordination.
Kaffir Lily: Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias. Bulbs are the most poisonous part.
Kalanchoe: Vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm (rare).
Lantana: Vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, weakness. Liver failure - more common in livestock.
Oleander: Clinical signs include cardiovascular signs (e.g., abnormal heart rhythm and rate), electrolyte abnormalities (e.g., a life-threatening high potassium level), gastrointestinal signs (e.g., nausea, drooling, vomiting, etc.), or central nervous system signs (e.g., tremors, seizures). In severe cases, an expensive antidote, digoxin-specific Fab fragments, can be used for severe, life-threatening cases
Peace Lily: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
Pencil Cactus: Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing vomiting, but generally over-rated in toxicity.
Philodendron: Chewing or biting into this plant will release these crystals causing tissue penetration and irritation the mouth and GI tract. VERY rarely, swelling of the upper airway occurs making it difficult to breathe- Podcast.
Sago Palm: Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.
Schefflera: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing.
String of Pearls: I couldn't find a link to ASPCA or Pet Poison Helpline, but University of Wisconsin- Madison Extension says "The leaves are slightly toxic; ingestion may cause vomiting or diarrhea the plant’s sap and may cause skin irritation or rash in sensitive individuals." (Watch out for upcoming podcast for more info!).
Wandering Jewel: Dermatitis
I also included links to the either the ASPCA or Pet Poison Helpline website for some plants if you wanted more information. Some plants were not on either website because they are non-toxic!