12 House Plants That Are Toxic to Pets

There are countless plants you may bring into your home without realizing how dangerous they are to your pets.

Cats and dogs alike are susceptible to eating poisonous plants, which can cause a variety of reactions and even death in severe cases. Thus, you should never assume that a pet will avoid a poisonous plant instinctually.

Given how much pets love chewing on everything, including plants, it is your responsibility as a pet owner to know which plants are safe to bring into the house.

Some poisonous house plants are even toxic to humans. While you are far less likely to come into contact with a poisonous plant yourself, children can be susceptible to many of the same toxic house plants as pets.

Knowing exactly what plants to avoid in your home can make the environment safe for kids and pets alike. Learn about the top 12 poisonous and toxic plants to keep out of reach of pets below.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe is a great succulent to have in the house not only for its various medicinal uses, but because it works well at purifying your indoor air. However, aloe can be toxic to both cats and dogs.

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If you have an aloe plant in the house, keep it out of reach of your pets. Additionally, make sure to look out for symptoms of consumption such as vomiting, depression, tremors and diarrhea in your pets. Finally, keep in mind that aloe may be used as an ingredient in numerous household products. Make sure you check ingredients carefully to avoid accidentally poisoning your pets.

2. Ivy

Ivy plants are popular because of their long, leafy tendrils, but they also pose a severe threat to pets if the leaves are ingested. Signs of ivy poisoning include difficulty breathing and rashes. In serious cases, your pets may even experience paralysis or fall into a coma. Ivy plants are especially attractive for cats to play with or chew on when the vines dangle over the edges of shelves or tables. Make sure ivy is far out of reach if you have any pets in the house.

3. Amaryllis

Amaryllis plants are a popular holiday gift due to the beautiful blooms they produce in the winter. However, beware of where you place an amaryllis plant if you have pets. This plant contains lycorine, a toxic substance that can cause excess salivation as well as lethargy, tremors and gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea and a lack of appetite.

4. Jade Plants

Also known as rubber plants, these succulents are extremely popular house plants because they are nearly impossible to kill. Unfortunately, jade plants are also toxic to animals, causing symptoms such as vomiting, depression and a slow heart rate if ingested. While animals are drawn to plants for various reasons, the texture of the jade plant’s leaves make it even more appealing for pets who like to chew on things.

5. Caladium

Also known as elephant’s ears or the mother-in-law plant, caladiums are a common yet toxic houseplant you will want to keep out of reach from your pets. This plant causes oral irritation, excessive drooling and vomiting as well as difficulty swallowing or breathing.

6. Dumbcane

Cats and dogs alike are both susceptible to the toxic effects of dumbcane. While rarely a deadly plant, animals can still experience oral irritation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing and breathing if they eat any part of the dumbcane plant. Symptoms can become life-threatening if the swelling is so severe that your pet can no longer breathe.

7. Poinsettia

This iconic holiday plant may look beautiful, but it can be harmful to both pets and children. While not deadly, a poinsettia will cause oral irritation as well as nausea and vomiting if ingested. Because the sap of this plant is so irritating, it is unlikely that your cats or dogs will eat enough of the plant to become poisoned. However, poinsettias are oftentimes sprayed with pesticides as well as decorative, yet potentially toxic, substances that could harm your pet further if ingested.

8. Mistletoe

Some plants only come into the house around the holidays, and mistletoe is perhaps one of the most iconic examples. Holly and mistletoe plants, which are commonly used together in arrangements, are both highly toxic to pets as well as humans.

Substances including toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin found in the plants can cause symptoms such as a sudden drop in blood pressure as well as breathing difficulties. You may also notice abnormal behavior in your pet, which may be a sign of hallucinations. Finally, mistletoe and holly plants can cause seizures and death if your pet consumes enough of the plant.

9. Corn Plants

Cats and dogs can both have bad reactions to the corn plant, also known as dragon tree or ribbon plant, if ingested. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, a loss of appetite, increased salivation and depression. In cats, watch out for dilated pupils as well.

10. Lilies

Most members of the lily family are highly poisonous to pets, especially to cats. Many people are surprised to find that such a common house plant can have such toxic effects on animals. If you plan on bringing any of these varieties indoors, be sure the plant is kept out of your cat’s reach:

  • Easter lily.
  • Peace lily.
  • Lily of the valley.
  • Arum lily.
  • Calla lily.
  • Asian lily or tiger lily.

As a beautiful flower, you will oftentimes find lilies included in flower arrangements. Be wary of placing these arrangements in an area where your cat can reach them. If your cat or dog happens to ingest any part of a lily, watch out for oral irritation, drooling and vomiting. In severe cases, lilies can also cause convulsions as well as an irregular heartbeat (arrythmia).

11. Philodendrons

This low-maintenance plant is a popular house plant because of its long branches and tropical-looking leaves. Unfortunately, it can cause toxic effects in pets, including oral irritation and swelling, as well as seizures and spasms. All parts of the philodendron plant are considered mildly to moderately toxic to pets.

12. Arrowhead plant

The sap of these ornamental plants contains calcium oxalates, which makes all parts of the plant toxic to pets. If you have arrowhead plants in your home, watch out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, a lack of appetite, chills and a change in the color of your pet’s urine. Depression is another common, yet difficult-to-identify symptom you may notice if your pet has eaten the arrowhead plant.

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