Poisonous Plants to Keep Away from Pets
Many poisonous plants for dogs and cats are typical indoor (and outdoor) household plants. So, although we’re raised to eat our greens, fur kids shouldn’t always do the same. At least not the ones in pots anyway. Before you buy a dog or cat, find out what types of plants you can safely keep at home. From a poisons perspective and for other reasons too. For example, did you know that certain plants could aggravate cat allergies?
With over 25,000 species of plants native to New Zealand, it’s no surprise we’re a green loving nation. You’ve probably heard about the dangers of karaka berries and dogs. But there are plenty of other plants and trees you might not know are toxic.
Knowing which greens are good versus which ones will give your pet the greens (or worse) is key to their safety. With that in mind, here’s your ‘green fingers guide’ for what plants to avoid letting your cats and dogs have access to.
Table of contents
Common poisonous plants for dogs and cats
Our home, backyards and the wider great outdoors can provide us with oodles of satisfaction. However, sometimes these are home to potted house plants and wild-growing plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats.
We’re listing some so that before you buy a dog or cat (allergy sufferer or not), you can make informed decisions about which greens to keep, which to shift to another room and which to avoid entirely.
However, it’s worth noting that this list isn’t exhaustive. 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.
We hope this helps make your plant shopping that little bit easier. And if you end up rehoming any of your current plants, may they go to grateful plant parents!
Side note: Have you ever wondered what your pet personality is? Are you a Huntaway with boundless energy or do you have the regalness of a Devon Rex? Try out this pet personality quiz.
Some of the most common are…
A number of these are becoming more fashionable, whereas others have been home staples for a long time. Get to know them to improve plant safety for your pets.
Fiddle Leaf Fig AKA Philodendron
The Fiddle Leaf Fig is the Taylor Swift of the plant world. You’ll have seen it online, or at friends’ houses, or you may even own one. In fact, it’s so popular the New York Times hails it as the “it” plant of interior design.
Sadly, as good-looking as it is, it contains a poisonous sap that can cause topical toxicity to pets’ skin and eyes. And it causes a range of painful symptoms if eaten too.
Regardless of how Manhattan it makes your pad feel, having a sick kitty (who suffers from cat allergies) or a dangerously ill dog isn’t worth it.
Fiddle leaf fig can cause these symptoms in pets:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea / Vomiting
- Excessive / decreased thirst and urination
- Kidney failure
- Loss of appetite
- Oral irritation
- Skin irritation
And now onto another plant that adorns many interior and exterior home designs but simply isn’t pet friendly. It could affect your cat’s allergies and much worse:
Monstera Deliciosa AKA Delicious Monster
You’ll all know this one. It’s the hipster of indoor plants. Yep, the Delicious Monster is one of the most loved and kept indoor or outdoor plants.
The vine creeper thrives in most situations. Even in a tiny pot indoors it can produce enormous leaves that fan out to create dense foliage. That makes it good for interior décor, but bad for pets.
Outdoors it can benefit from growing along trees, walls or any other plants that give it support. It can grow to magnificent heights, creating fabulous greenery.
Despite its gorgeous emerald foliage, this is a plant that contains insoluble calcium oxalates. Before you buy a dog or cat, remember that this plant is mildly poisonous to humans but highly toxic to cats and dogs.
The Delicious Monster (while already a nickname) has yet another nickname. It’s known as the ‘fruit salad plant’. That’s because the plant bears a fabulous fruit that’s safe for humans to eat – but only when it’s ripe!
The fruit of the Delicious Monster
Watch this video to see how to eat the ripe fruit (again, humans only):
As you can see, even though we can eat the fruit, this needs to be done with care.
The ripe fruit tastes like a bouquet of tropical fruit, e.g., mango, guava, pineapple, strawberry and pawpaw. This fruit sort of tastes like them all! Happily, you can buy all these fruits individually at the store. So, you don’t need to feel obliged to keep one of these plants at home.
Especially given it’s one of the poisonous plants for dogs and cats. Delicious Monster plants can cause the following toxic symptoms in pets:
- Irritation or burning of the mouth/tongue/lips
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the mouth or throat
Have a Delicious Monster at home and want to buy a dog? Why not gift the plant to a friend or keep it in an out of bounds zone.
Now onto the next on the list of poisonous plants for dogs and cats. And you’ll be surprised to discover it’s….
Known as the wonder woman of the plant world, Aloe Vera has been used in just about every miracle cream, juice and medicine under the sun (OK, slight exaggeration but still…). However, Aloe Vera can be mild to moderately toxic to cats and dogs.
It increases mucous production and water in the colon and can result in the following symptoms:
- Change in urine colour
The moral of the story? Keep it in your lotions and not in your garden.
And – keep your lotions in cabinets. And – lock the cabinets. We kid you not, because some pets are so intelligent, they can actually open doors. The Maine Coon cat is one such pet that’s been known for its learning abilities and door opening skills. Before you buy a dog or cat, always ensure that your home is as pet friendly as possible.
Many of us don’t realise how many beautiful plants are toxic for pets, like the simple flamingo lily.
One claim PD Insurance reimbursed recently highlighted the toxicity of this waxy stunner. Two kitten siblings chewed on it in their home and became very sick. They required costly treatment that could’ve been avoided by keeping the toxic plant out of their environment.
However, the owners had no idea this common house plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates that are toxic to cats.
Mother in Law’s Tongue AKA Snake Plant
OK first off, let’s admit that this plant has one of the most humorous nicknames. It’s a safe bet to surmise the person who named it didn’t get on so well with their mother-in-law. We can only guess she had a sharp tongue! Then again its other name, the snake plant, doesn’t exactly inspire a sense of safety either…
Let’s take that idea forward into our understanding of what this plant has in store for our pets. Although it’s a great office/house plant said to have air filtering properties it’s a hazard to our cats (allergies or not) and dogs.
It has saponins that are toxic to pets and can harm them by causing the following effects:
It might also interest you to find out about other common household things that can be harmful to pets. It’s quite often the seemingly harmless salt crystal candle-holder or can of deodorant that can lead to unexpected consequences.
But if you know about these in advance, you can keep these plants and items that are poisonous to pets away! Now onto the last plant on the list…
Cannabis AKA Marijuana
Sadly, marijuana toxicity in pets is on the rise. And while its popularity for legal treatment continues to soar, it can be fatal to pets.
In humans it’s used more and more to treat a range of chronic ailments and illnesses. That means it’s becoming more of a common household item. So, before you buy a dog or cat (who suffers from allergies), ensure that this plant is out of reach of prying paws and eager pets who love tasting and sniffing stuff.
Not only do dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than humans (meaning they can be overwhelmingly affected) but in extreme cases cannabis toxicity in pets can be fatal. When fur kids break into and eat a human’s cannabis supply, they aren’t metering out doses.
Cannabis takes 30 – 60 minutes to begin to affect a dog, for example, and can last for as long as seven days.
The effects of cannabis toxicity in pets can cause the following:
- Incoordination (ataxia)
- Dilated pupils
- Slow heartrate
- Respiratory problems
While on the topic of cannabis, read about why CBD and hemp oil for dogs are gaining popularity.
Safety measures with poisonous plants for cats and dogs
If you discover any of these is a plant you own yet you can’t bear to part with, then consider alternative safety measures. Before you buy a dog or cat, ensure that you keep your plant in a high up out of reach place for your dog, or an out-of-bounds room for your cat.
Ever wondered how or why our pets would end up ingesting poisonous plants? Yes? Then consider how curious pets are. And, how they tend to smell, lick and taste things to check them out. If you’re pruning a plant and a leaf or twig lands at your feet, they might sniff, lick or eat it. Accidental ingestion is a fairly common issue with pets.
Note that while each of these common household and garden plants can be mild to extremely dangerous to cats and dogs, there are many more. Here’s a great resource to bookmark: the A – Z guide of toxic plants and flowers for pets.
Do you want to know how to keep your cat or dog as safe as possible? We encourage you to read some of our pet safety blogs so you can stay informed:
- Dog Poisoning 101: Symptoms and Signs
- Things That Can Poison Your Pet – Toxic Foods
- Christmas Dangers for Pets: Watch Out!
- Cat and Dog Allergies: Why It Happens and How to Deal!
- Your Guide to Dog Pool Safety
Regular vet health checks are a cornerstone of pet care. Watch our video below on what happens during a vet health check:
Poisonous plant protection and more for pets
If you discover your pet’s eaten a poisonous plant, call your vet right away. Always keep their emergency number on your phone in case it’s after hours. Keep tabs on symptoms and take a photo of the plant. This way you can show it to your vet. If you can, also tell them how much of the plant you think your pet has eaten.
This will help them assess the severity and progress of the toxicity. Don’t try to induce vomiting. And don’t wait to see how badly your pet is affected before seeking professional help. Consider it to be an emergency.
If you’re worried about the costs of vet treatments for accidents, know all our pet insurance plans include these. Your bills will be drastically reduced so you can worry about your pet, not your pocket. Don’t wait for accidents to happen, get your plan today – click below to get started.
Share on :