Plants - A Healthy COVID Hobby That Might Not Be Healthy For Your Pet

January 22nd 2021

By Katie B 
RVT & Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic Medical Director

I am sure like me many of our clients have picked up a new hobby and since we have such compassionate client’s what’s one more thing we want to add to our plates? Plants! This fun little hobby has really taken off in a lot of home. But, did you know a lot of our pretty plants can kill our pets!
We have been getting an increase of phone calls about pets eating the plants, or we find out too late that they have eaten a plant and are showing signs of poisoning. This blog covers the 10 top common toxic plants.

Please check the ASPA website for a comprehensive list of the little green friends that can or cannot live with your cats or dogs.

Lily

Christmas Cactus







Scientific Name: Lilium species

Family: Liliaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Cats Non-Toxic to Dogs, Non-Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Unknown

Clinical Signs: Cats: kidney failure.
 

Aloe - Great for sunburn, not so great for cats or dogs

Christmas Cactus







Scientific Name: Aloe vera

Family: Liliaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Saponins, anthraquinones

Clinical Signs: Vomiting (not horses), lethargy, diarrhea. The gel is considered edible.

Pothos

Christmas Cactus







Additional Common Names: Pothos, Devil's Ivy, Taro Vine, Ivy Arum

Scientific Name: Epipremnum aureum

Family: Araceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats

Toxic Principles: Insoluble calcium oxalates

Clinical Signs: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.


Chinese Evergreen













Scientific Name: Aglaonema modestum

Family: Araceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Insoluble calcium oxalates

Clinical Signs: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing


Tomato Plant

Christmas Cactus







Scientific Name: Lycopersicon spp

Family: Solanaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Solanine

Clinical Signs: Hypersalivation, inappetence, severe gastrointestinal upset, depression, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate; ripe fruit is non-toxic


Chives/Onions









Scientific Name: Allium cepa

Family: Liliaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: N-propyl disulfide

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, panting

Fun Fact!: Planting pungent herbs, such as rosemary and sage, will keep pets out of the garden bed thanks to their distinct smell. Coleus canina – also known as ‘Scaredy Cat Plant’ – is another great herb with a very pungent smell that felines can’t stand.


Chrysanthemum









Additional Common Names: Daisy, Mum; many varieties

Scientific Name: Chrysanthemum spp.

Family: Compositae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Sesquiterpene, lactones, pyrethrins and other potential irritants

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, incoordination, dermatitis
 
Fun Fact!: Pyrethrins, which are used in pesticides and dog flea and tick medications, are extracted from this plant. Reason enough to keep it away from them!
 

Dracaena

Christmas Cactus













Additional Common Names: Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Dragon Tree, Ribbon Plant

Scientific Name: Dracaena spp.

Family: Agavaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats

Toxic Principles: Saponins

Clinical Signs: Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils (cats).


Asparagus Fern










Additional Common Names: Asparagus, Emerald Feather, Emerald Fern, Sprengeri Fern, Plumosa Fern, Lace Fern, Racemose Asparagus, Shatavari

Scientific Name: Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri

Family: Liliaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats

Clinical Signs: Allergic dermatitis with repeated dermal exposure. Berry ingestion could result in gastric upset (vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea).

Fun Fact!: Plants that are considered 'true ferns' - Boston, maidenhair, bird's nest and staghorn, although not recommended for ingestion, are considered non-toxic for pets.
 

Snake Plant









Additional Common Names: Golden Bird's Nest, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Good Luck Plant

Scientific Name: Sansevieria trifasciata

Family: Agavaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats

Toxic Principles: Saponins

Clinical Signs: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
 

Jade Plant










Additional Common Names: Baby Jade, Dwarf rubber plant, Jade tree, Chinese rubber plant, Japanese rubber plant

Scientific Name: Crassula argentea

Family: Crassulaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Unknown

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, depression, incoordination
 

Hydrangea









Additional Common Names: Hortensia, Hills of Snow, Seven Bark

Scientific Name: Hydrangea arborescens

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: Cyanogenic glycoside

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea. Cyanide intoxication is rare
 

Cutleaf Philodendron (Monstera)

Christmas Cactus













Additional Common Names: Hurricane Plant, Swiss Cheese Plant, Ceriman, Mexican Breadfruit, Split-leaf Philodendron, Window Leaf Plant

Scientific Name: Monstera deliciosa

Family: Araceae

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats

Toxic Principles: Insoluble calcium oxalates

Clinical Signs: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
 

What to do if your pet is showing signs of being poisoned by a plant


If your pet has ingested a plant or you have plants in your house and your pet is showing signs of being poisoned, please call us immediately at (403) 615-8016 to see one of our vets.

If you are having an after-hours emergency visit one of the 24 hr emergency clinics in the city. A list of emergency clinics can be found on our website.

For more information on household toxins for your pets, you may contact the National Animal Poison Control Centre or the Pet Poison Helpline 24/7 Animal Poison Control Centre at 1-855-764-7661 (fees may apply). The Animal Poison Control also has a mobile app for pet toxicities.

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