With your outdoor gardening chores at a minimum due to colder weather, you may be focusing more on your indoor plants. Perhaps you have brought some outdoor plants in for the winter, or you are sprucing up your indoor environment with some new greenery.
Plants add warmth and beauty to our homes, and they can improve indoor air quality as well. However, did you know that many indoor plants could be hazardous to your pets' health? More than 700 plants contain substances that are potentially toxic to cats and dogs.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) fields more than 150,000 calls each year about accidental pet poisonings. Symptoms in pets from ingesting certain plant materials can run the gamut from mild lethargy to even death.
We know pets like to chew things, including plants, so the best way to keep your animal healthy is to avoid having harmful plants in your home. Here are 10 indoor plants to avoid if you are a pet owner.
With the holidays approaching, you may be thinking of adding this ornamental bulb plant to your home's decor. However, those amaryllis bulbs, which are common as holiday gifts, are toxic to pets. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, weight loss, and tremors.
They are lovely to look at and to smell, but plants in the lily family can be harmful to your animals. Many lilies are toxic to cats, and some are toxic to dogs. Certain varieties — such as Easter, day, Asian, and tiger lilies — can lead to deadly kidney failure in cats. The calla lily or peace lily can cause mouth irritation, salivation excess and vomiting in both dogs and cats
3. Asparagus Fern
Also known as emerald fern, sprengeri fern, or lace fern, this common household plant contains sapogenin, which is a toxic compound. Dogs and cats can suffer from allergic dermatitis from contact with this plant, and they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain if they eat its berries.
4. Heartleaf Philodendron
Also called horsehead philodendron, fiddle leaf, panda plant, split-leaf philodendron, cordatum, fruit salad plant, or saddle leaf, this easy-to-grow houseplant contains a toxic chemical. Ingestion can lead to mouth irritation, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.
5. Corn Plant
This common houseplant, which can also be referred to as cornstalk plant, dragon tree, dracaena, and ribbon plant, also contains sapogenin. If your pet consumes this plant, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and excessive salivation can result.
6. Aloe Plant
The gel from the aloe plant is good for treating human skin problems, but if your pet eats the plant, it is not so good. Aloin, the bitter yellow substance found in most aloe plants, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors and a change in urine color.
Another popular holiday favorite is the pretty cyclamen plant. However, give these plants only to your friends who do not have pets. Also known as sowbread, this plant can cause increased vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. If your pet eats the root portion, the symptoms can be more severe and can include fatal heart rhythm problems and seizures.
8. Jade Plant
If your pet eats this common houseplant (also known as rubber plant or a friendship tree), it can experience vomiting, depression, lack of coordination, and a slowed heart rate.
9. English Ivy
It may look nice cascading from a hanging basket, but ivy (also called Hedera Helix) can be poisonous plants for pets. Symptoms of ingestion can include breathing problems, skin rash, paralysis and loss of consciousness.
10. Satin Pothos
If your cat or dog eats this indoor plant, which is also called silk pothos, it may experience mouth, lip, and tongue irritation; increased salivation; and/or vomiting and swallowing difficulty.
Bonus: Holiday Plants to Look out for
Finally, here's a word about poinsettias. The colorful flowering plant, which is popular as a winter holiday decoration, often gets bad rap as a poisonous plant. Although consumption of the plant can cause mild vomiting, drooling, and occasional diarrhea, it is not as dangerous as some of the other plants listed above. In fact, other holiday plants, such as mistletoe and English holly are more problematic for your furry friends.
If your pet experiences vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, unusual urine, change in salivation, weakness or lethargy, it may have ingested a poisonous plant. Call your veterinarian immediately and/or the ASPCA's 24-hour poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
For a complete list of poisonous household plants, check out an extensive list provided by the Humane Society.