15 Houseplants Toxic to Dogs

We all love our dogs and our houseplants, but there are some plants that our dogs, and some other pets, do not love—in fact they’re toxic to them. There are dozens of indoor plants that can be dangerous to them.

In this article, we’ll review some of the houseplants toxic to dogs, what the reaction could be, and alternatives you can consider. Always check with the plant professionals to find out if the plant you want to bring into your home is safe for your dog.

List of common houseplants toxic to dogs

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe is a succulent plant with thick, fleshy serrated leaves that are green. It is used for skin conditions and wound healing. Dogs chewing on the plant can expose toxins that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Instead, try Haworthia or zebra plant.

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus)

The asparagus fern, a relative of the lily, is light and feathery. The plant has berries and if they are ingested, it can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and inflammation of the skin. You can try a Boston fern instead. In addition to Asparagus densiflorus, there is a second species of plant also commonly called Asparagus fern Asparagus setaceus. This should also be avoided around dogs

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

The bird of paradise gets its name from the flamboyant plumage of the bird of the same name. If your dog eats it, you are likely to see your pet to have nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. The Phalaenopsis orchid will be a brightly colored alternative.

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

The leaves of the dumb cane contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are tiny and sharp. They can irritate a dog’s mouth as well as cause severe swelling and burning. It can lead to your dog having difficulty breathing and could result in death. Try the prayer plant instead.

Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

If your dog chews on the corn plant its toxin—steroidal saponin— can cause vomiting as the main symptom (possibly with blood in it), but it could also cause depression or loss of appetite. The money plant is a good replacement.

Desert rose (Adenium obesum)

The desert rose has an ancient-looking trunk and brightly colored blooms. Unfortunately, it won’t be pretty if your dog eats the toxin cardiac glycoside. Some of the symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, depression, irregular heart rhythm, depression, and potentially death. For an alternative, check out the African violet.

Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta)

The elephant ear, also known as caladium, has colorful leaves. This plant also contains calcium oxalate crystals. It can irritate your dog’s mouth, which can cause the mouth and tongue to swell and burn. It can cause difficulty in breathing and could result in death. The Peperomia is a good replacement.

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Many choose ivy because of how it looks draping down from the planter or along a wall. However, several kinds of ivy can be toxic to dogs, such as English ivy. Some ivies contain the toxins triterpenoid saponins and polyacetylene compounds. Dogs can have symptoms such as excessive drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Choose another ivy, like the German ivy, instead.

Jade (Crassula ovata)

The jade plant is a form of succulent with small oval shaped leaves. It is known for being difficult to kill and its longevity. The plant is toxic to dogs. The toxic compounds need to be explored more and they are still a bit of a mystery even to scientists. The symptoms include vomiting and the heart rate slowing, as well as depression.

A similar plant is the Christmas cactus, and it has the benefit of beautiful blooms throughout the year.

Lilies (Lilium)

Lilies are a favorite for creating a minimalist look and can be quite beautiful, but some can be toxic to dogs. Both Oriental lilies and calla lilies are harmful if ingested. Gastrointestinal symptoms are likely to occur including diarrhea, vomiting and a problem with swallowing due to irritation to the lips and tongue.

It is worth mentioning peace lilies here. Although not strictly a member of the lily family, they are a popular houseplant and can also be harmful to dogs if ingested.

As an alternative, you can choose an Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), which is a common bulb plant that blooms around Easter. According to the ASPCA, this plant is not known to be toxic to dogs but can be harmful to cats

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

The pothos is a hardy plant that is hard to kill and low maintenance. It has calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves. While it can lead to difficulty breathing and death, it typically irritates a dog’s mouth and can cause the mouth and tongue to swell and burn. For an equally hardy and low maintenance plant, you should check out the spider plant.

Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron bipennifolium)

Plant owners looking for a low maintenance tropical looking household plant often turn to Philodendron. Like some of the other plants on this list, it also has calcium oxalate crystals. Chewing the leaves can cause a dog’s mouth to be irritated and have swelling and burning of the mouth and tongue. There can also be breathing difficulties and, sometimes, death. The areca palm is a good alternative.

Sago palm (Cycas revoluta)

When looking for an exotic look, the sago palm fits the bill perfectly. Unfortunately, the whole plant is poisonous to dogs due to the presence of the toxin cycasin. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. In some bad cases, it can also include lethargy, seizures, and liver failure. The parlor palm is a good replacement and still has a tropical feel.

Sowbread (Cyclamen)

A flowering plant, the sowbread is a way to bring color into any room. The plant contains triterpenoid saponins which can cause drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Following large ingestion of tubers abnormal heartbeat or seizures could occur. Try ‘hens and chicks’ as a good alternative.

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

The ZZ plant is known for being able to thrive in low-light environments. The ZZ plant also has calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause swelling and irritation in the mouth, breathing issues, and, sometimes, death. You can consider the cast iron plant, which is also good in low-light environments.

Final thoughts on houseplants toxic to dogs

In conclusion, it is possible to have many houseplants and dogs in the same household. You just need to be careful with the plants you chose and avoid the ones that could make your dog sick as there are many fabulous alternatives to make your home beautiful and achieve much of the same affect.

Make sure you keep helplines handy. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be found at 888-426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline is at 855-764-7661.

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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