Houseplants that are Poisonous for Dogs
Discover which indoor houseplants that may harm your dog./
Houseplants make your home look beautiful and can be great for the mental health of everyone in your household -- furry pals included. But when you share your home with a dog, you need to pay extra attention when you’re choosing plants and setting up your indoor oasis. That’s because some popular types of houseplants can actually be toxic for your fluffy friend. Let’s take a look at some common houseplants that can be toxic for dogs, and strategies for keeping your dog (and your plants!) out of harm’s way.
Poisonous Houseplants for Dogs
If a plant is considered “toxic” for dogs, exposure to the leaves can cause some skin irritation for your pup. But the real thing to watch for is your dog getting curious and taking a bite from one of these plants’ leaves, stems, or flowers.
Not every plant that is considered poisonous poses an immediate threat to your dog. Some plants can cause mild, temporary side effects if your dog takes a nibble, while others are much more toxic.
Plants that are considered mildly toxic for your dog can cause what amounts to a temporary allergic reaction. Drooling, sneezing, and a runny nose are symptoms of mild toxicity. It’s also worth noting that these plants typically only cause side effects when they are consumed in large amounts-- meaning that snacking on a leaf or two of these plants probably won’t warrant a trip to the vet for your dog.
Common houseplants with low-to-mild toxicity include:
Plants that have a high toxicity can cause digestive upset (beyond just throwing up the plant leaves), loss of energy, and loss of appetite. These types of reactions can mean your dog needs a vet’s help. Houseplants that are considered to have a high toxicity for dogs include:
- Caladium (Elephant’s ear)
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Sago palm (note: Don’t wait for symptoms to call your vet if your dog has consumed any part of the Sago palm, especially the seeds)
If you’re not sure if a plant is toxic or not, you can look it up on the Humane Society’s list of poisonous plants for dogs.
Christmas Plants and Your Dog
You may love to decorate with sprigs of traditional holly and mistletoe during the holiday season. These plants add a beautiful pop of vivid red to your space and put everyone in a merry mood. But these decorations, especially the berries of these plants, have a high toxicity level for dogs and should only be placed somewhere Fido can’t reach.
Live poinsettias, on the other hand, are not highly poisonous. The white sap in poinsettias can cause skin irritation or digestive upset, but a large amount of the plant leaves would have to be consumed to see any side effects. Since poinsettias don’t taste very good, it’s unlikely your dog will eat enough to feel sick, but it’s still worth keeping in mind as you deck your halls.
Non-Toxic Houseplants for Dogs
You may want to consider swapping out toxic plants for non-toxic alternatives to completely keep your dog out of harm’s way. Here are some non-toxic houseplants that are pet-safe, homeowner-approved.
- African violet
- Aluminum plant
- Spider plant
- Boston fern
- Blushing bromeliad
- Cast-iron plant
- Baby rubber plant (Peperomia)
- Polka dot plant
- Zebra plant (Haworthia)
- Friendship plant
- Prayer plant (Maranta)
- Waffle plant
- Ponytail palm
- Parlor palm
Houseplant Safety For Dogs
Keeping your plants safely out of reach of your dog is the best strategy to protect your fluffy friend. If you have a puppy (or just a mature dog who happens to still think it’s a puppy), this is all the more important.
Dogs and plants can happily coexist as long as you follow best practices for dog safety. These include:
- Hanging toxic plants from your ceiling or keeping them on high shelves can protect your dog from sniffing around (and taking a taste) of your treasured houseplants.
- Lots of beginner plant enthusiasts just buy a plant because they like how it looks and aren’t quite sure what they have growing at home. Know what types of plants you have, and keep a list of which ones could be toxic to leave with any dog sitter.
- Providing enough food for your dog to eat can curb your dog’s appetite for vines and leaves.
- Making sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation will also keep the impulse to chow down on plant life at bay.
When to Call a Vet
Digesting a plant that is considered toxic can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and sneezing. If a large amount of the plant is consumed, or if your dog is triggered specifically by the plant it ate, symptoms can be serious.
Watch out for signs of toxicity, which can include:
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and other signs of an upset stomach
- Red eyes or a runny nose
Keep in mind that some symptoms of poisoning can take a few days to appear. Calling the vet or a pet poison control hotline to describe the situation will put your mind at ease and help you know if additional steps need to be taken.