It may interest you to know that poisonous plants for dogs and cats are often those we keep as common house plants. So, although we’re raised to eat our greens it turns out our fur kids shouldn’t always do the same. At least not the ones in pots anyway…
With over 25,000 species of plants native to New Zealand, it’s no surprise we’re a nation of greenery-lovers. However, we love our fur kids, and their safety is top of our list.
With that in mind, here’s your ‘green fingers guide’ for what plants to avoid letting your cats and dogs have access to.
Common poisonous plants for dogs & cats
Our potted house plants, our own backyards and the wider great outdoors can provide us with oodles of satisfaction. However, sometimes these are home to sought after and commonly kept plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats.
We’re listing some so 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!
Here are some of the most common poisonous plants for 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 puppy or kitty isn’t worth it.
Here’s what symptoms Fiddle leaf fig can cause in pets:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive or decreased thirst and urination
- Abdominal pain
- Kidney failure
- Oral irritation
- Skin irritation
Monstera Deliciosa AKA Delicious Monster
The delicious monster is one of the most loved and kept indoor or outdoor plants. Indoors, this vine creeper can thrive in a tiny pot yet create enormous leaves creating a lush dense foliage.
Outdoors it grows along trees, walls and other plants and can grow to magnificent heights. But, despite its gorgeous greenery, it contains insoluble calcium oxalates that are mildly poisonous to humans and highly toxic to cats and dogs.
Ironically, this plant is sometimes called a fruit salad plant. That’s because although the plant itself is poisonous to humans/pets, its ripe fruits are safe for people (not pets) to eat. In fact, the ripe fruit (which looks a bit like an elongated pineapple) tastes like a concoction of mango, guava, pineapple, strawberry and pawpaw! Hence the name ‘fruit salad’.
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.
Keep your pet safe and know that the delicious Monster can cause the following toxic symptoms in pets:
- Irritation or burning of the mouth/tongue/lips
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the mouth or throat
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
Snake Plant AKA Mother in Law’s Tongue
OK first off, let’s admit that the snake plant has one of the most entertaining nicknames in the plant kingdom. It’s a safe bet to surmise the person who christened it had a mother-in-law with a sharp tongue!
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 and dogs.
It contains saponins that are toxic to pets and can harm them by causing the following effects:
Marijuana toxicity in pets is unfortunately on the rise. While it’s been popularised for legal use in humans to treat chronic or terminal illness or pain it should be kept out of your fur kid’s reach.
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 furkids 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
Plants and pets
If you discover any of these is a plant you own which you can’t bear to part with, then consider alternative safety measures. Perhaps keep your plant in a high up out of reach place for your dog, or an out-of-bounds room for your cat.
And if you’re wondering why your dog or cat would ever end up ingesting poisonous plants, consider how curious pets are. If you’re pruning a plant and a leaf or twig lands at your feet, your cat or dog might check to see what it is. Our pets assess with their noses and mouths, which can easily lead to poisoning.
Plants, food, and other toxic things to 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.
Who knows, you may find your future gardening plans bloom all the better after you garden with your pet’s safety in mind.
Pet safety with plant poisoning
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 to show your vet plus advise your thoughts on how much may’ve been consumed.
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 that all our pet insurance plans include these. As a result, your bills will be reduced so you can worry about your pet, not your pocket.
Poisonous plants for dogs and cats – over to you
Have you ever had to deal with a pet and plant toxicity? Tell us how you coped in the comments and remember to share what plant it was.