When you became a pet owner, you took an oath to care for another living creature. It is your job to ensure that you provide your pet with a safe and healthy environment. Sometimes, this involves removing certain things from the home such as house plants.
Most pet owners aren’t even aware that their houseplants can pose serious health risks should their pet ingest part of it. They often assume that since the plant is being sold for use in the home that it must be safe. The issue is that some plants that are safe for humans can be toxic to pets. Here is a list of the top ten most dangerous indoor houseplants that should be kept away from your pets.
The aloe plant is a very popular household succulent because it is easy to care for and the gooey liquid inside its leaves can be used to help soothe a number of different ailments such as sunburns. However, should your pet ingest this substance, they could suffer severe vomiting and reddish-colored urine. Other names for the aloe plant include: Barbados Aloe, Aloe Vera and the Medicine Plant.
Asparagus ferns are popular plants for indoor use because they’re hardy, require little water and sunlight and are essentially easy to care for. However, this light, airy plant contains a steroidal agent called sapogenin, which is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingesting this plant or the berries it produces can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and skin inflammation. Other names for this plant include: Emerald Feather, Emerald Fern, Lace Fern, Plumosa Fern and Sprengeri Fern.
Corn plants are also popular because they resemble miniature palm trees. The plant has a thick stem and variant leaves with different hues of green running throughout. The corn plant contains a chemical called saponin, which when ingested can cause severe vomiting, dilated pupils (in felines), loss of appetite and depression. Other names for this plant include: Dragon Tree, Cornstalk Plant, Ribbon Plant and Dracaena.
Dumb cane has broad multi-hued green leaves. This plant contains a poisonous chemical that is supposed to work as a natural deterrent to animals, and it is toxic to both cats and dogs. If ingested, this chemical will cause oral irritation, difficulty swallowing, increased salivation and vomiting. Other names for this plant include: Dieffenbachia, Tropic Snow and Exotica.
Elephant ear plants are so named because the leaves resemble the ears of elephants. If elephant ear is ingested by your pet, it will cause increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, oral irritation and vomiting. Other names for this broad green-leafed plant include: Taro, Pai, Malanga, Via Sori, Ape and Caladium.
Fiddle leaf is easy to grow, which makes it ideal for use in the home. The problem is that it is highly toxic to dogs and cats. When ingested, fiddle leaf causes mouth irritation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing. Other names for this plant include: Heartleaf Philodendron, Horsehead Philodendron, Cordatum, Fruit Salad Plant, Red Emerald, Saddle Leaf, Red Princess, Panda Plant and Split-Leaf Philodendron.
The Jade plant’s thick rubbery petals are beautiful to look at, but they can prove dangerous for pets. When ingested, this plant can cause vomiting, depression, a slowed heart rate and a loss of coordination. Other names for the jade plant include: Chinese Rubber Plant, Japanese Rubber Plant, Friendship Tree, Baby Jade, Jade Tree and Dwarf Rubber Plant.
There are numerous types of lilies and just about all of them are toxic to animals, especially cats. Easter and stargazer lilies are the only varieties safe for use around pets, with the exception of cats as felines are the only animals these two plants affect negatively. If a cat ingests a lily, they can suffer intense vomiting, lethargy and a loss of appetite. If treatment isn’t administered, a cat can develop kidney failure and even die.
This popular indoor plant is usually hung high due to its drooping vine-like stalks. While beautiful and easy to care for, Silk Pothos can cause vomiting and difficulty swallowing in pets that ingest it. Other names for this plant include: Satin Pothos.
Sowbread is a beautiful flowering plant that is commonly housed indoors. Every part of this plant is dangerous to pets. The petals and leaves can cause vomiting, diarrhea and increased salivation while ingesting the tubers can lead to heart rhythm problems, seizures and even death. Other names for this plant include: Cyclamen.
In most cases, the severity of a dog or cat’s reaction depends on how much of the toxic plant is ingested. The species and size of the pet can also be factors. If you think your pet has ingested any one of these plants, don’t hesitate – call your veterinarian immediately.