If you are a pet parent, beware of the poisonous plants that could harm your cats and dogs before you fill your home with fresh and lively greenery.
10 house plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs:
Although lilies may be a beautiful way to add freshness and colour to your home, your pets may not think so. Both lily-of-the-valley and the gloriosa (or lame lily) are poisonous to cats and dogs. All parts of the plant — including the pollen and stamens, the flower petals, sepals, leaves, stems and bulbs — are dangerous to your pets. If ingested, they can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, anorexia and tremors. The common household plant contains toxins that do not agree with cats and dogs, causing abnormal heart rhythms that can be deathly.
All parts of azaleas are considered toxic to dogs and cats, with as little as 0.2% ingestion of an animal’s body weight resulting in poisoning. The beautiful flowering shrub, a popular garden ornamental, contains grayanotoxin, a neurotoxin that affects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. When ingested, the toxin targets the body’s sodium channels, which affect the muscle tissue of the heart and the skeletal muscles and may result in heart failure.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is known for its medicinal properties and is a useful plant to have on hand to treat anything from sunburn to skin irritations. However, the fleshy succulent is moderately poisonous for cats and dogs. Aloes contain anthraquinone glycosides (purgatives that increase bowel movements), which, when eaten, are digested by intestinal bacteria, forming compounds that promote mucus production and water in the colon, leading to diarrhoea. They can also cause vomiting and depression.
4. Chinese evergreen
Boasting broad leaves with intricate variegation, Chinese evergreens cannot tolerate cold, which is why they make for stunning house plants. But this is one plant you won’t want your pet, or child, going anywhere near, because it has a mild to moderate level of toxicity for animals and people. Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause mouth irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
5. Snake plant
With long slender leaves, pointed tips and a vibrant green hue with yellow variegation, the snake plant is a popular choice for people who are looking for a low-maintenance house plant. But, as stunning as they are, they are considered mildly toxic if consumed. Cats may be particularly susceptible to poisoning, because their curious nature prompts them to poke and prod everything. In large quantities, they can cause nausea and vomiting, and the poison found in the plant has a numbing effect that can cause the tongue and throat to swell up, constricting breathing.
6. Sago palm
With feathery foliage, the sago palm is a house plant favourite that forms part of the cycad group. All parts of the palm are poisonous, particularly the seeds. If this plant is anywhere within the reach of your pets, beware, as it contains cycasin, a toxin that leads to severe liver failure within a few days of ingestion and can be fatal.
7. Dumb cane
Easy to care for and eager to thrive in any light condition other than direct sunlight, dumb cane is a strong species, but do not let your dog cat near this plant. Whether a result of chewing on the foliage or ingesting entire pieces, the intensity of the symptoms will depend on how much your pet has consumed. The symptoms of this plant toxin will show up almost immediately in the form of oral pain, burning, inflammation of the throat and lips, loss of appetite, pawing at the mouth and respiratory issues.
Pothos ivy or devil’s ivy creeps over flower pots, putting the variegated leaves on full display. The plant is toxic to both dogs and cats, because it can irritate the mouth and tongue. Pothos ivy, also called devil’s ivy, is considered to be only mildly harmful in small quantities, but it can cause irritability and sometimes more serious side effects in animals and people. When ingested by pets, it can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting and even liver failure.
9. Lucky bamboo
When growing indoors, these plants mostly consist of three stalks that look similar to actual bamboo plants and have light green shoots with long, thin leaves. Harmful to both cats and dogs, if ingested it may cause symptoms of pupil dilation, abdominal pain, increased heart rate and excessive drooling. This may be paired with a lack of co-ordination and weakness.
10. Jade plant
With fleshy, oval-shaped leaves, this succulent has the appearance of a miniature tree, perfect for office desks and window ledges. Commonly called a rubber plant, it is very toxic to dogs and cats, causing gastric distress, irregular heart rhythm and depression, among other symptoms.
*If your pets are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or they have ingested something that you know is poisonous to them, rush them to a vet, so they can be monitored and treated.