What houseplants are toxic to dogs? Stay away from these!


I have plants everywhere in my house, and this is usual for almost every plant lover. Some plant lovers are also pet lovers, and most people might want to keep one. A dog, or dogs, around the house, is ideal, but the thing is while you may love the two, they don’t always go together.

What houseplants are toxic to dogs? The list is extensive. A wide variety of houseplants are toxic to your dogs. Popular houseplants like Arrowhead or Peace lilies along with many others can really make your dogs ill. In this article, I am going to cover what houseplants to watch out for.

Of course, you should note that the level of toxicity of these plants and the effect they will have on your dog will vary according to type, and how much of the toxins are ingested or inhaled, as well as the extent of the symptoms the dog may show. This post will address most of your concerns

Certain plants are not good to have around your dogs. They can be toxic to your dog if ingested or even sniffed in some instances. Dogs like to nibble on most things green if they’re given enough freedom. Dogs like sniffing the edges of leaves before they chew, and while they may have a good nose, they don’t always know what toxins are harmful, and they eat green leaves for several reasons: play, boredom, or because they have an upset tummy.

Dogs getting ill is not so common, and even suspecting your plant may be the cause is even less common, so it is necessary to always check your dog to make sure they aren’t playing near any toxic plant. I hope you find this article helpful and are able to pick the best houseplants which won’t affect your love for dogs.

The list below are some of the main houseplants or other plants used in flower arranging that are toxic to dogs

  • Alocasia (Alocasia macrorrhizos)
  • Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum)
  • Strelitzia (Strelitzia reginae)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Fig Tree (Ficus carica)
  • Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)
  • Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron)
  • Hostas (Plantain lilies)
  • Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Daffodils (Narcissus)
  • Tulip (Tulipa)

Alocasia (Alocasia macrorrhizos)

Alocasia is a houseplant, alternatively referred to as the elephant ear plant because of its very large and pointed leaves. It is a genus of plants of the family Araceae and has about 79 different species, originating from a wide range of areas such from Eastern Himalayas to tropical regions of the Western Pacific and Eastern Australia.

Alocasia plant may, however, be very toxic to dogs. The Elephant ear contains insoluble calcium oxalate which has a crystal which can cause injury in the mouth of the dog. Skin contact can also cause burning skin pain, eye irritation, skin redness and inflammation while ingestion may lead to abdominal pain, Diarrhea, lack of appetite, speaking difficulty, drooling and much more.

Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum)

The Arrowhead vine is a plant with spade-shaped leaves and markings on them. Also called the goosefoot plant and botanically, Syngonium podophyllum, it is found mainly in tropical areas of Central America and South America. However, it is also cultivated as a houseplant.

The Arrowhead plant, however, has insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which may cause intense irritation or pain when swallowed. It can also cause diarrhoea, dilated eyes, excessive drooling, hoarse barking, vomiting, numbness and so on.

Strelitzia (Strelitzia reginae)

Strelitzia, which is also called the bird of paradise is an extraordinary ornamental plant native to South Africa. Grown as an indoor plant and for its cut flowers, it would appear that it is toxic to dogs when ingested. Its flower seeds contain toxic tannins and flowers with hydrocyanic acid can cause laboured breathing, eye discharge and digestive discomfort.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)

Although they are very beautiful, the chrysanthemums are as deadly to dogs as they are beautiful to behold. Also known as Daisy, this beautiful flower comes in several beautiful colours, depending on varying species. They contain, however, sesquiterpene, lactones, pyrethrins and other potential irritants to a dog. It can also cause vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation and incoordination.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

This is a tropical flower which belongs to the Araceae family. Also known as the Mauna Loa, the leaves of the peace lily are wide and green. They also have a shiny and glimmering appearance. A popular indoor plant because they do not require much plant maintenance, it is capable of bloom all year and requires only a little sunlight to the flower. The peace lily, however, contains calcium oxalate that is toxic to dogs. It can cause oral irritation and gastrointestinal upset in dogs. It can also lead to vomiting, irritated lips and tongue.

Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)

Dracaena is a term which does not exclusively refer to just one particular species of houseplants. This genus is one which includes very several very attractive houseplants, popular in several houses. Names such as Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Dragon Tree, Ribbon plant and are all common names used for plants under this genus.

These varying species, however, contain unknown steroidal saponins which may be dangerous to dogs. Saponins are capable of causing drooling, vomiting, weakness, a lack of coordination and dilated pupils when ingested.

Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Also known as Nerium, all parts of this popular ornamental shrub are toxic to humans and dogs. Its cardiac glycosides, which often occur as flower and fruit pigments, are very toxic to dogs. Ingesting this plant can cause fatal heart abnormalities, muscle tremors, incoordination, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Also known as the devil’s ivy, taro vine or ivy arum, the Golden Pothos, this leafy vine is one of the easiest plants and is a very popular choice for house vine since it is capable of growing to very impressive sizes. It can reach up to 10 feet indoors, even longer in its natural environment.

The leaves and stem of the golden pothos, however, contain calcium oxalate crystals which can be very toxic to dogs. It has symptoms such as pain in the oral cavity, vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive drooling and difficulty in swallowing.

Fig Tree (Ficus carica)

Figs are trendy houseplants which are commonly grown at home. The weeping fig and the Indian rubber plant as commonly otherwise called, the fig tree grows well indoor. With their long, glossy and green leaves, they are very attractive for indoor use. It is capable of producing fruit indoors due to the fact that the flowers do not require pollination.

As with several other plants, while perfectly safe for humans figs, its fruit, leaves and sap may cause irritation with dogs. Due to the proteolytic enzymes and psoralen which they contain, they can pose severe problems for dogs. Its symptoms of poisoning range from vomiting, increased drooling, excessive head shaking to even diarrhoea and skin irritation.

Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)

Commonly found houseplant in most households, the begonia holds this title because the begonia can tolerate low-light conditions in your home. From the family name Begoniaceae variety, they come in a variety of leaf colours and shapes and begonias do well without direct light.

The Begonia which contains soluble calcium oxalates can be very poisonous to dogs. Its toxicity is capable of leading to vomiting and salivation, difficulty in swallowing, excessive drooling, tongue irritation and even kidney failure, although these are very extreme situations.

Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

Calla Lily is a beautiful house flower with spade shape, funnel-like single flowers. Botanically referred to as Zantedeschia aethiopica they contain calcium oxalate crystals which cause immediately mouth pain, burning and irritation, drooling and vomiting.

Azalea (Rhododendron)

Azaleas bloom in the spring (May and June in the temperate Northern Hemisphere), their flowers often lasting several weeks. It doesn’t take much for this plant to have an effect on your dog. Ingestion of just a few azalea leaves can irritate your dog’s mouth and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. In severe cases, azaleas can cause a drop in blood pressure, coma and even death in dogs. It’s best to keep these away from your dogs.

Hostas (Plantain lilies)

Known for their extremely popularly beautiful leaves, Hortas are common houseplants because of their ability to preserve in low light conditions. Due to their ability to thrive in limited sunlight, hostas are very dangerous to dogs and their toxic saponin can cause diarrhoea and vomiting

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Known also as Crassula Ovata, jade plants go by several names such as the Japanese rubber plant, friendship tree and baby jade, they are very popular houseplants. Their glossy oval-shaped leaves and mini-tree like appearance make them a very appealing houseplant. It is the perfect plans for those who are forgetful with watering their plants because of the fact that the jade plant can survive for a good period of time and not lose their colour without being watered.

The Jade Plant, however, appealing as they are to look at, they are also very toxic to dogs. Although their exact toxin is unclear, when ingested, the jade plant can cause vomiting, lethargy, a lack of coordination and a low heart rate amongst most dogs

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloes are common houseplants and are very useful for making beauty products and for burns. Many people keep an aloe plant in the kitchen or bathroom, mainly because it adds a style and beauty to the room, but also comes in handy if you need to soothe a burn.

There are many varieties of aloe plants. However, some of the same compounds that make aloe useful (i.e. saponins) aloe are something your dog needs to avoid. Symptoms of aloe poisoning in dogs include vomiting, depression, anorexia, diarrhoea, tremors and change in urine colour.

Daffodils (Narcissus)

Daffodil is a flowering bulb referred to botanically as Narcissus. They are good for two things: being extremely beautiful, and surprisingly low maintenance. They are commonly also referred to as “jonquil” and bloom during the spring. The sight of a daffodil in one’s home is a beauty to behold unless you own a dog.

All parts of the daffodil plant are considered poisonous, but the daffodil bulb is the most poisonous to dogs. Alkaloids including toxic lycorine are found in the bulbs of the daffodil. Eating any part of a daffodil can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, arrhythmias, convulsions and a serious drop in blood pressure.

Tulip (Tulipa)

Just as with daffodils, the bulb of the tulip is the most poisonous to dogs. However, note that the entire plant of a tulip is poisonous to dogs, just like with other plants. Eating the bulb makes it more dangerous and can cause significant oral irritation, excessive drooling and nausea.

Safe plants to get for dogs

Just as in our previous article which featured What houseplants are toxic to cats? Avoid these Now!Opens in a new tab., dogs have similar plants good for them. It’s best to consider other plants which may do well to beautify your home and make you and your dog happy. Some of them include:

Plants safe to keep when you have dogs.

  • African Violet (Saintpaulia)
  • Parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
  • Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia) 
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus) 
  • Haworthia zebra (Haworthia attenuata)
  • Peperomia green (Piperaceae Giseke)
  • Bamboo palm (Dypsis lutescens)
  • Baby Tears (Soleirolia Soleirolii)

African Violet (Saintpaulia)

Native to East Africa, these are grown better indoors. They have leaves which are inedible, as well as non-toxic.

Parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Hearing the word  “palm” might make you think of a sunny, calm climate, but the parlour palm has been prized for a long time for its resilience to indoor conditions.

Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

This is a Brazilian rainforest plant that thrives in high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight.

Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia) 

Though the rubber plant (Ficus elastic) might be poisonous, however, the baby rubber plants are non-toxic and can serve as adequate substitutes in a home.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Some fern varieties produce toxins which are harmful, especially for felines. Boston ferns are safer varieties of ferns for a home that has cats.

Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus) 

A perfect plant for hanging baskets, its preference includes moisture and indirect light.

Haworthia zebra (Haworthia attenuata)

If you’re an individual who can never remember to water plants, then this Lil’ zebra is a perfect option. This is because it’s used to desert conditions.

Peperomia green (Piperaceae Giseke)

A plant that is basically immortal, the peperomia can be easily propagated by cutting off its leaves and it also completely regenerates after it is completely dead.

Bamboo palm (Dypsis lutescens)

A bamboo palm adds tropical vibes to your home if that is what you love and all this without that much effort. All that is needed is to water it a few times a week.

Baby Tears (Soleirolia Soleirolii)

This plant is both child-safe and pet-safe. The baby tears is the plant for you, especially with its beautiful white flowers, and the fact that it is the perfect non-toxic plant for a home.

For more examples of plants that may or may not be toxic, you may check the RSPCAOpens in a new tab. or the ASPCAOpens in a new tab. websites

How to keep your dogs safe from these plants?

With the huge list above you would be forgiven for thinking that you want to rid your house of all plants to keep your dogs safe. However, there are ways in which to keep your dogs safe and still have the plants. Some of those include:

  • Keep plants dogs will not chew on
  • Use a pebble mulch
  • Consider sacrificial plants
  • Move plants to a safer location
  • Hanging plants to keep dogs away
  • Spray plants with a dog deterrent
  • Ensure your dog has toys to occupy itself

Keep plants dogs will not chew on

There are many plants that dogs do not like to eat, these include heavily scented plants like rosemary, and spiky plants like cactus, these plants are ideal to keep around dogs.

Use a pebble mulch

Dogs play with plant pots and soil when they are bored. They love to make a mess by pulling over and chewing plants and soil. Adding large pebbles as a mulch to the tops of your pots will help to distract the dogs from the soil below

Consider sacrificial plants

Why not consider using sacrificial plants? These are plants that dogs really like to eat. You could place these in a more accessible place for the dogs to chew on. Consider plants like catnip and lemon balm for these.

Move plants to a safer location

Although dogs can’t climb around the house, they do easily turn over pots on low levels. You could place your plants in safer locations around the house. High shelving may be out of the dogs jumping distance or even in high windowsills that are blocked for dog access.

Hanging plants to keep dogs away

Even better than just moving your plants, consider hanging them from the ceiling or having a dedicated stand to hang them from. this will keep the dogs away from your plants completely.

Spray plants with a dog deterrent

There are many dog deterrents on the market, these work by making the plants smell unfavourable to them and therefore they are left alone. Products such as the following can be used all with great effects.

Ensure your dog has toys to occupy itself

With such an array of dog toys on the market, there really shouldn’t be a need for your dog to want to chew your plants. Its the owner’s responsibility to provide adequate attention style toys for your dogs to play with. Consider chewing toys and toys that smell like things dogs love

Sometimes we may have both dogs and cats in the same home. If you do have both consider checking out the article I wrote about What houseplants are toxic to cats? Avoid these Now!Opens in a new tab. Although there are a lot of similarities there are differences that need to be addressed.

Conclusion

In summary, toxicity may vary depending on the amount of plant ingested or the type of plants, as discussed above. It is advisable if you want to buy plants for the home, you should first research whether they are toxic to dogs to avoid wasting your money on poisonous plants.

As discussed, many plants are toxic to dogs, of which we should also engage with vets just in case we see some of the symptoms like swelling, redness, itchiness of eyes, mouth, or the skin. Other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea excessive urinating and difficulty in breathing.

If treatment is delayed ingestion may be deadly, while some plants may require a special diet to the dogs. To avoid all these, we should remove such toxic plants away from home and keep the dog indoors with special supervision.

However, I do not want to put you off growing these plants at home. Maybe get rid of your dog instead. ONLY JOKING! but in all seriousness, consider the plants you are growing and the location they are within the home.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about what houseplants are toxic to dogs. I trust it answered your question fully. If this was of interest to you, why not consider checking out some of my other blog posts and subscribing to the blog so you don’t miss future content.

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Remember folks; You Reap What You Sow!

Tony O'Neill

I am Tony O'Neill, A full-time firefighter and long term gardener. I have spent most of my life gardening. From the age of 7 until the present day at 45. My goal is to use my love and knowledge of gardening to support you and to simplify the gardening process so you are more productive

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