Plants are a lovely addition to any home, both inside and out, adding beauty, cleaning the air, or merely giving off a pleasant aroma. However, plants can be anything but cheery when they pose a threat to your precious pets. While there are quite a few flowers and plants that are perfectly safe for dogs and cats, many are toxic. Therefore, if you have pets, before you bring any plant home, or plant certain ones in your garden, ensure you know which ones are safe and which ones to avoid.
Poisonous Plants to Both Cats and Dogs
When it comes to plants’ toxicity levels, it all depends. Some plants only cause mild issues like skin irritations or an upset stomach, while others can send your pet into cardiac arrest, renal failure, and other severe conditions. Of course, in extreme cases, ingesting a toxic plant could lead to death. Your pet’s reaction also depends on their size, as a small amount could be deadly for a small pet, while larger breeds might not experience a problem. This is why it’s best to play it safe and keep poisonous plants out of the picture, no matter if the consequences are only mild.
Here’s a list of popular plants that you should keep out of your home and garden and some of the issues they can cause:
- Aloe (vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea)
- Amaryllis (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, excessive drooling, depression, loss of appetite, tremors)
- Asparagus Fern (dermatitis, berries can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting)
- Autumn Crocus (vomiting with blood, diarrhea, shock, organ damage)
- Azaleas (vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac failure, weakness)
- Begonia (vomiting, excessive drooling)
- Bird of Paradise (vomiting, diarrhea, oral irritation, excessive drooling, coordination trouble, swallowing issues)
- Boxwood (vomiting, diarrhea)
- Caladium (oral irritation and swelling, excessive drooling, issues swallowing, vomiting)
- Carnation (mild skin irritation and stomach upset)
- Chrysanthemum (Vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, excessive drooling, coordination issues)
- Cyclamen (vomiting, diarrhea, drooling. Large amounts of the tubers can lead to heart issues, seizures, and death)
- Daffodil (vomiting, diarrhea, drooling. The bulbs are the most toxic part. Large amounts can cause cardiac arrhythmia, low blood pressure, and tremors)
- Dahlia (mild dermatitis and stomach upset)
- Daisy (vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, dermatitis, coordination issues)
- Elephant Ears (oral irritation and swelling, vomiting, excessive drooling, issues swallowing)
- English Ivy (vomiting, stomach pain, excessive drooling, diarrhea)
- Gardenia (mild vomiting and diarrhea, hives)
- Geranium (vomiting, not eating, depression, dermatitis)
- Holly (vomiting, diarrhea, depression)
- Hydrangea (vomiting, diarrhea, depression)
- Lavender (nausea, appetite loss, vomiting)
- Lemon Grass (upset stomach)
- Lily of the Valley (irregular heartbeat, vomiting, seizures, low blood pressure, coma, acting disoriented)
- Lilies (Certain kinds - not including the ones that are only poisonous to cats as shown in next section) (vomiting, excessive drooling, oral swelling and irritation, cardiac arrhythmias)
- Marijuana (depression, vomiting, low blood pressure, seizures, coma, coordination issues, excessive drooling, dilated pupils, increased sleepiness or excitement, death)
- Oleander (diarrhea, stomach pain, drooling, depression, death)
- Oregano (mild vomiting and diarrhea)
- Parsley (in large amounts can cause dermatitis and sunburn)
- Peony (vomiting, diarrhea, depression)
- Periwinkle (vomiting, diarrhea, depression, low blood pressure, tremors, coma, death)
- Philodendron (oral irritation and swelling, excessive drooling, vomiting, swallowing issues)
- Poinsettia (stomach irritation and oral irritation, sometimes vomiting)
- Rhododendron (vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, weakness, coma, cardiac failure, death. It just takes a little to cause severe issues)
- Sago Palm (vomiting, increased thirst, bruising, liver damage, blood issues, death)
- Schefflera (oral irritation, swallowing issues, excessive drooling)
- Tomato Plant (severe stomach upset, excessive drooling, depression, weakness, dilated pupils, appetite loss, and slow heart rate. Ripe tomatoes are not toxic, but you should only feed them in moderation, if at all)
- Tulips (vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, depression)
- Wandering Jew (dermatitis)
- Wisteria (diarrhea, depression, vomiting, sometimes vomiting with blood)
- Yew (tremors, seizures in dogs, acute cardiac failure resulting in sudden death)
Although this is a long list, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other potential poisonous plants for pets. Therefore, you should always first check the toxicity level of any plant you plan to bring into your home. Most toxic plants for cats are also poisonous for dogs (and vice versa), but there are a few exceptions. Therefore, it’s imperative not to assume a particular plant is safe for your pup just because it’s safe for your feline friend.
Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats but Not Dogs
Many lilies are highly toxic for cats but not for dogs, although some types might cause some intestinal upset in your pup. Therefore, if you have dogs or cats, it’s best to avoid these plants. However, the following lilies only seem to cause issues in cats. These issues are vomiting, lethargy, kidney failure, appetite loss, and death.
- Day Lily
- Easter Lily
- Japanese Show Lily
- Orange Day Lily
- Red Lily
- Rubrum Lily
- Stargazer Lily
- Tiger Lily
- Wood Lily
Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs but Not Cats
Once again, most plants that are poisonous to your dog are also toxic for your cat. However, black walnut is toxic to dogs, causing seizures, coordination issues, and tremors, but it is non-toxic to cats.
What Are Some Plants Safe for Dogs and Cats?
While there are numerous poisonous plants for pets, that doesn’t mean you have to decorate with artificial greenery for the rest of your life. Luckily, quite a few plants are harmless to both dogs and cats.
Here’s a list of non-toxic plants you and your pets can enjoy in your home, worry-free:
- African Violet
- Areca Palm
- Baby Tears
- Banana Plant
- Boston Fern
- Polka Dot Plant
- Spider Plant
- Venus Fly Trap
Of course, these plants are safe to have in your home, and should your pet give a little nibble; they’ll be okay. However, this doesn’t mean your dog or cat can chow down on these plants and herbs. Safe things can be harmful if ingested in excess, so don’t start sprinkling any of these into your pet’s food bowl.
To play it extra safe, keep plants out of reach of your pets as much as possible. For your outdoor plants and flowers, try to provide more enticing areas in your yard for your pets, so they aren’t interested in the garden. If keeping your pet out of your garden is extra-challenging, you might need to look into putting a border or fencing around the garden to train your pets to stay out (at least until they get the idea).
What If Your Pet Eats a Poisonous Plant?
Even with the ultimate precautions in place, sometimes things get overlooked. Plus, it could be that your pet gets a hold of something they shouldn’t, possibly on an outing to the park or a stroll through the neighborhood (another great reason to keep your pup on a leash when you’re out and about). If your dog or cat eats something toxic, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 and follow their guidance.
Unfortunately, your dog or cat can’t tell you if he ate something bad. Therefore, if you didn’t witness him eating it, it’s up to your powers of observation. Watch your pet very closely for any signs of distress or changes in behavior, and be ready to bring them to an animal emergency clinic or your vet office ASAP. If you aren’t sure if your pet ate something or not, err on the side of caution. In these situations, quick action is best, and of course, whenever you’re in doubt, call your vet immediately.
It’s also a good idea to keep a list of toxic plants handy for quick reference. A good place for this list is next to the poison hotline number. Another excellent resource for keeping your pets happy and healthy is the rest of our Neater Pets blog. We’re always adding information so you can be an informed pet parent.