Houseplants are all the rage right now – and it’s not hard to see why! Not only are they a great way to spruce up your indoor space, but they are also a source of stress relief and they bring joy to many people! But before you jump in the car and run to your local gardening center, it’s important to think of our pets. Unfortunately, many dogs and cats find our plant companions to be very interesting (and sometimes tasty!). This can lead to big trouble! There are a variety of houseplants that are highly toxic to our pets and can even cause fatal symptoms. To avoid a trip to the animal ER, pet owners should know exactly which houseplants are toxic to their pets and avoid bringing these plants home. Here is a list of four more common toxic houseplants and what happens if a pet gets into them.
1. Cycad Palm (Sago Palm, Fern Palm)
This plant is very popular in homes, but it’s extremely dangerous to dogs! Exposure in cats is not common, but is presumed to be just as serious as in dogs. Every part of this plant is toxic, including the seeds, and even in small amounts, it can be fatal. Symptoms include liver failure, neurologic signs, and in less severe cases, vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect your pet got into this palm plant, seek immediate veterinary care – even before clinical signs start!
2. Monstera Deliciosa
Despite the name ‘deliciosa’, this plant is anything but delicious! When chewed on, the plant releases a compound called calcium oxalate which causes severe oral irritation, swelling, and gastrointestinal upset. While exposure to this plant is often not severe or fatal, it does usually still require emergency veterinary care for several days. If the swelling of the mouth is significant enough, a pet may need help maintaining their airway.
3. Alocasia (Elephant’s Ear) and Caladium (Elephant’s Ear)
These two plants may share a nickname, but they are different in appearance and genus. However; they do share the same toxic principle in calcium oxalate – just like the toxin found in Monstera Deliciosa. See above for more information.
4. Easter Lilies, Tiger Lilies, and Various Day Lilies
While they are beautiful, many types of lilies are extremely dangerous to cats. Every part of these lily varieties are toxic to our feline friends – including their pollen and even the water they are soaking in. Exposure can cause acute kidney failure in cats and can be very fatal, even if caught early. If your cat gets into a lily, seek immediate veterinary care!
Note that Peace Lilies and Calla Lilies do not cause kidney failure; however, they do contain calcium oxalate, just like Monstera Deliciosa, Alocasia, and Caladium. See above for more information.
These four common houseplants aren’t the only plants to beware of! For a complete list, view APCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Guide. We also recommend using PlantSnap and ASPCA’s guide as you shop for plants to learn if it is hazardous to your pets before bringing it home. After all, when it comes to houseplants, the best prevention is to keep toxic houseplants out of your home or in a secure area that your pet does not have access to such as a sunroom or a greenhouse. Remember, many pets know how to make their way on top of tables, counters, and refrigerators – so don’t think that higher-up places will keep your pet out of your houseplants. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
If you suspect or witnessed your pet eat any part of a toxic houseplant, contact ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435, your family veterinarian, or your local animal emergency hospital for next steps.