plants poisonous to dogs
September 24, 2020 By Taylor Froiland, PharmD 0

Common Plants that Are Poisonous for Cats and Dogs

Plants and floral arrangements are the often at the center of many of our home’s decorations. The problem is that many of these pieces of nature that serve to brighten our homes can actually be dangerous or even poisonous to our dogs and cats. For that reason, it is important to understand which plants are potentially harmful or poisonous to our dogs and cats, so you can avoid having them on display in your house or in your yard.

Poisonous Plants and Dogs and Cats

As every dog or cat owner probably already knows, our pets are naturally curious creatures. They like to check out anything that is within their reach, especially if it something new that they haven’t seen before. And it’s not just a problem if your dog or cats eats a poisonous plant, even rubbing against certain ones or pawing at ones and then touching their faces can be enough to lead to unwanted or potentially dangerous consequences.

According to the ASPCA Poison Control, there are literally thousands of plants that could harm your dog or cat if they ingest it. They all have varying degrees of effect on your pet, some mild, some severe, and some even potentially fatal. Here is a list of some potentially dangerous or harmful plants that you should keep away from your animal.

Plants Poisonous to Dogs and Cats

Christmas Trees – Christmas trees are intriguing to many dogs and cats. It’s something that is new during the holidays, brings feelings of outside, offers great hiding or climbing spots, and is definitely something most dogs and cats think is worth exploring. But when pets eat the pine needles from spruces, firs, or pines, it can cause mild to severe mouth and stomach irritation. They can also possibly cause GI tract obstructions or perforations. Preservatives added to the tree can also seep into the Christmas tree water and cause sickness if your pet drinks it.

Aloe – Although commonly kept in both kitchens and bathrooms, certain types of aloe can be toxic to cats and dogs. Similar to a Christmas tree, the most common form of aloe, aloe barbadensis, can cause GI problems. These problems can range from vomiting, severe diarrhea, and low blood sugar. In some cases, aloe can cause such severe toxicity in cats and dogs that it leads to the rapid breakdown of their red blood cells, which can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Corn Plant (Dracaena frangrans) – Easy to grow and one of the most popular plants that people like to keep in their homes, this corn-looking shrub can be very dangerous to your dog or cat. If ingested by your furry friend, the most common symptoms include vomiting and appetite loss. In cats specifically, it can cause difficulty breathing and an increased heart rate.

Mistletoe – Another holiday favorite for many people, several types of mistletoe are toxic to pets. Phoradendron serotinum (American variety) is less poisonous than the Viscum album (European variety).  Most mistletoe sold in stores have the berries replaced by plastic ones. Only a small amount of mistletoe can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. When pets eat the plant, it can cause abnormal heart rate, hypotension (low blood pressure), ataxia, seizures, cardiovascular problems, and even death. The plastic berries can cause intestinal obstruction.

Asparagus Fern – Many people love to add a nice lush, green asparagus fern to their house. It brightens up any room and gives is a nice peaceful, natural feel to it. The thing is, however, that this plant is bad news for your dog or cat. If ingested by your pet, it can possibly cause allergic dermatitis, vomiting, and/or abdominal pains. The good thing is that most dogs and cats don’t pay much mind to this simple, not too exciting plant.

Lilies – Lilies can potentially be safe or dangerous depending on which variety you have. There are several lilies including Calla, Peruvian, and Peace lilies that contain oxalate crystals. These cause minor issues like irritation to the tongue, mouth, and esophagus when ingested by your dog or cat. Breeds like Asiatic, Day, Easter, Japanese Show, and Tiger lilies, however, are highly toxic to cats. Even consuming a tiny amount of these varieties can cause kidney failure in felines. If you see your cat eating these plants, bring them to bring them to a pet medical emergency facility as soon as possible.

Dieffenbachia – Also known as “Dumb Cane”, this plant is popular among many homeowners because it is considered a relatively low maintenance plant. Ingestion of Dumb Cane by your dog or cat can cause severe swelling of their mouth or tongue. If not brought to the vet or emergency care center quickly, these symptoms can quickly worsen and lead to difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Poisonous Plants: Dogs and Cats

This list of plants poisonous to cats and dogs is not exhaustive. There are many more common and uncommon plants that people may choose keep in their homes that can be dangerous if touched or ingested by your pet. It’s important to always research any plant before bringing it into your home, especially if your animal is sensitive or allergic to any other plants.

Also, be sure to keep a close eye on your plant and your pet whenever you bring a new plant into your home. Discipline them or move the plant if you cannot keep them away from it and bring them to the vet immediately if you notice them have any sort of adverse reaction to it.