Plants Toxic to Pets - What You Need to Know

Plant sales over the past three years have broken records and although indoor and outdoor plants do a great job at adding some character to your space, some do have adverse effects on your pets.


Here's a list of plants that can be toxic to cats with varying degrees of danger to their wellbeing. So, before you buy your next Pinterest-perfect plant, it’s worth taking a few minutes to Google whether it’s safe for your pawsome pet. For the full index of poisonous or harmful plants, see here.


ALOE VERA


Aloe Vera is a popular decorative plant, and the extract can be found in just about every miracle cream, juice and medicine under the sun. However, Aloe Vera can be mild to moderately toxic to both cats and dogs. Aloes contain anthraquinone glycosides which are purgatives and when ingested, they can result in vomiting and diarrhoea.


MOTHER-IN-LAW’S TONGUE (ALSO KNOWN AS SNAKE PLANT)


Snake plants are sought after in the plant kingdom for their air filtering properties.

But when ingested by pets, the plants can be quite hazardous and result in gastrointestinal signs like drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea.


DELICIOUS MONSTER (MONSTERA DELICIOSA)


A favorite of interior designers and modern restaurants, the delicious monster is one of the most beloved and kept indoor or outdoor plants.


This vine creeper can thrive in a tiny pot yet create enormous leaves creating a lush dense foliage. But, despite its stylish greenery, it contains high levels of insoluble calcium oxalates that are mildly poisonous to humans and highly toxic to cats and dogs.


The plant also welcomes ripe fruits that are safe for people (not pets) to eat. Pet symptoms include Irritation or burning of the mouth/tongue/lips, difficulty swallowing, and swelling of the mouth or throat.


HYDRANGEA


We know summer is in full force once the pastel coloured outdoor shrubs are in full bloom. Although cats are unlikely to nibble on this popular summer bloom, it pays to keep it out of the garden if you're worried.


Unfortunately, the leaves and flower buds can be harmful to dogs and cats if eaten, with the toxic principle being cyanogenic glycoside, commonly known as cyanide. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, and depression. Serious effects can include seizures, breathing issues, an increase in heart rate and body temperature, and death.


DEVIL’S IVY


If you want to keep this popular trailing plan in your home, hang it up high out of reach from your pets. Signs of ingestion can be noticeable immediately and include pawing at face, foaming, and vomiting. Moderate to severe swelling in the mouth may also occur, making it difficult for your furry friends to breathe or swallow.


CHRYSANTHEMUM


These reliable perennials originating from China are grown for their long-blooming flowers that come in a rainbow of colours and forms. All parts of the plant are poisonous to pets if ingested, with the toxic principle being pyrethrin, a natural insecticide used in dog flea and tick medications.


Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation, coughing, appetite loss, agitation, and lack of coordination. Particularly for cats, sensitivity can result in dermatitis through skin contact. Toxic levels range from generally mild to moderate.


PEACE LILY


Another air purifying plant that grows easily in any condition, this plant brings everything but peace to your pets. Although you might find that your cat is disinterested in eating them, there is always a risk that they may come into contact with the flower's pollen by rubbing up against it and absent-mindedly licking their fur. It will bring on vomiting, oral pain, drooling and a loss of appetite. Other dangerous types of lilies include Easter, day, Asiatic, Japanese show, and Tiger lilies.


CHINESE EVERGREEN


Chinese Evergreen may look harmless on the surface, but signs of ingestion of this toxic plant can be noticeable immediately and include pawing at the face, foaming, and vomiting. Moderate to severe swelling in the mouth may also occur, making it difficult to breathe or swallow.


ADDITIONAL TIPS:


  • Learn the botanical name as well as common names of plants, as some mostly go by the same common name.

  • Keep contact information for your regular veterinarian and local emergency vet clinic handy in case of emergency.

  • Where possible, take a picture or bring a sample of the suspected poisonous plant to your veterinarian for positive identification. This will help with the medical consultation and prescribing the correct treatment.