15 Toxic Plants to Keep Out of Your Furry Friend's Reach

Heather Burdo

Lilies Toxic for Dogs and Cats

Plants are in most homes and provide a variety of benefits for your family. They even add to the decor. However, certain plants aren’t ideal around your furry family members. With such an extensive list of cat/dog toxic plants, it’s critical to know which ones you should keep out of reach of your pets, or better yet - pass on to someone else who doesn’t have animals.

Here are some specific plants you should keep out of your home/garden if you have pets and the symptoms you should be on the lookout for in case your pet gets into one of them, whether at home or somewhere else.

1. African Wonder Tree

This plant has ricin, making it one of the most highly toxic house plants to dogs and cats. Ricin is a toxic compound, which inhibits protein synthesis. Although the entire plant is toxic, the beans are exceptionally dangerous as that’s where the ricin is.

Symptoms: Weakness, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, trembling, difficulty breathing, seizures, bloody diarrhea, colic, loss of coordination, and death.

2. Alocasia

This plant may also be called elephant’s ear. What makes this plant so toxic is the presence of insoluble calcium oxalates.

Symptoms: Swelling and pain of the mouth, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and oral irritation.

3. Aloe

Saponins and anthraquinones make this plant toxic. Aloe is a popular household plant, so if you must have it in a home with pets, keep it out of reach of your curious furry friends.

Symptoms: Lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting

4. American Holly

Some other names you may know this plant by are English holly, inkberry, European holly, winterberry, and Oregon holly. This plant belongs to the aquifoliaceae family and is considered toxic due to saponins.

Symptoms: Depression, diarrhea, and vomiting

5. Apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, & plums

The danger with these fruits is cyanogenic glycosides in the seeds, pits, and leaves. Keep them out of your pet’s reach and always core them if you want to share them as a snack.

Symptoms: Dilated pupils, shock, panting, and difficulty breathing

6. Barbados Lily

Some additional names for this plant are fire lily, ridderstjerene, lily of the palace, and amaryllis. The Barbados Lily belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and is toxic due to lycorine and other alkaloids.

Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, low blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, tremors, convulsions with large ingestion, and salvation

7. Begonia

With over 1,000 species, it’s important that the household plant you choose isn’t part of the begoniaceae family. Because of the soluble calcium oxalates, this plant is toxic to both dogs and cats. The most toxic part of the plant is underground but you should still keep your pets away.

Symptoms: Salivation and vomiting

8. California Ivy

What makes this common household plant so toxic is the triterpenoid saponins. This plant is part of the Hedera helix family and it can go by other names such as sweetheart ivy, English ivy, needlepoint ivy, glacier ivy, and branching ivy.

Symptoms: Diarrhea, hypersalivation, abdominal pain, and vomiting

9. Nightshade

Also known as black nightshade or deadly nightshade, this plant is part of the solanaceae family. Solanine, atropine, and saponins make this plant toxic.

Symptoms: Reduced heart rate, dilated pupils, weakness, behavioral changes, confusion, drowsiness, diarrhea, severe gastrointestinal upset, inappetence, and hypersalivation.

10. Rhubarb

Also known as pie plant, rhubarb belongs to the polygonaceae family. Toxicity comes from the soluble calcium oxalates.

Symptoms: Salivation, tremors, and kidney failure

11. Sacred Bamboo

Cyanogenic glycosides make this plant toxic. The sacred bamboo is also known as nandina or heavenly bamboo and is part of the Berberidaceae family.

Symptoms: Respiratory failure, coma, seizures, incoordination, and weakness. Death is rare in pets.

12. Sago Palm

Part of the Cycadaceae family, Sago Palm is also known as cycads, zamias, cardboard palm, and coontie palm. The cycasin in the plant is what makes it toxic.

Symptoms: Liver failure, liver damage, coagulopathy, bruising, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, increased thirst, icterus, melena, and vomiting

13. Tarragon

The toxicity in this plant comes from the essential oils. Other names for Tarragon include Estragon and French Tarragon.

Symptoms: Diarrhea and mild vomiting

14. Tomato Plant

This well-known plant is part of the solanaceae family and is toxic due to the solanine. It’s important to note that ripe fruit is non-toxic.

Symptoms: Slow heart rate, dilated pupils, weakness, depression, severe gastrointestinal upset, inappetence, and hypersalivation.

15. Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew can also be known as speedy Henry. This plant belongs to the commelinaceae family.

Symptoms: Dermatitis

What to Do if Your Pet Gets Into a Toxic Plant

Now that you know what plants to look out for, what happens if your cat or dog gets into toxic plants?

If your pet ate part of a toxic plant call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) as soon as possible.

While you can't predict when your pet is going to get sick or injured, you can protect yourself from expensive veterinary bills. Embrace Pet Insurance gives you the freedom to do what’s best for your pet without stressing over the cost. Easily personalize your coverage to fit your budget and your pet’s needs, then visit any vet for nose-to-tail coverage. Check out what the Embrace plan covers or compare pet insurance providers to learn more.

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