Cinema Veterinary Centre
Indoor Plants Poisenous to Your Furry Friends
Find out which plants are poisonous for your cats and dogs inside your own home.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Top 5 indoor plants poisonous to dogs and cats
As spring and summer finally approach, so do the risks of dogs and cats being accidentally poisoned by potentially dangerous plants. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center outdoor and indoor plants represented almost 5% of the calls to ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in 2015. Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe:
INSOLUBLE CALCIUM OXALATES
One of the most common plant poisonings in dogs and cats involve plants from the Araceae family. These common houseplants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals and typically include the Dieffenbachia genus of plants. Examples include Philodendron, Pothos, Peace Lily, Calla Lily, Dumb Cane, Arrowhead Vine, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Sweetheart Vine, Devil’s Ivy, Umbrella Plant and Elephant Ear. When dogs or cats chew into these plants, the insoluble crystals result in severe mouth pain. Signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, swelling of the muzzle or lips and occasional vomiting can be seen. Thankfully, this poisonous plant—while commonly encountered—isn’t too dangerous, and simply offering some milk or yogurt to your dog or cat can help minimize the injury from the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. If signs continue or worsen, seek veterinary attention.
SOLUBLE CALCIUM OXALATES
The English Shamrock is a beautiful, popular house plant. These houseplants contain soluble oxalate-containing plants, which are very different from insoluble oxalate plants. Other examples of this type of poisonous plant include Rhubarb (leaves) and the Tropical Star Fruit. While this is a rare cause of poisoning in dogs and cats, it can result in a life-threateningly low calcium concentration when ingested. It can also cause calcium oxalate crystals to form in the kidneys, resulting in acute kidney injury. Clinical signs of poisoning include drooling, not eating, vomiting, lethargy, tremors (from a low calcium concentration) and abnormal urination. If your dog or cat ingests this houseplant, visit a veterinarian for blood work and intravenous fluids.
You may have purchased this common and beautiful houseplant in a supermarket or gift store. The thick succulent leaves and beautiful bunches of small flowers, which come in pink, red, yellow, and more, can be very poisonous when ingested by cats and dogs as they contain cardiac glycosides. Signs of poisoning include gastrointestinal signs (nausea, drooling, vomiting), profound cardiovascular signs (a very slow or rapid heart rate, arrhythmias), electrolyte abnormalities (a high potassium concentration) or central nervous system signs (dilated pupils, tremors, seizures). Treatment includes decontamination, if appropriate, along with intravenous fluids, heart and blood pressure monitoring, heart medications and supportive care.
CORN PLANT/DRAGON TREE
This plant from the Dracaena species contains saponins. When ingested by dogs and cats, it can result in signs of gastroenteritis (vomiting, drooling and diarrhea), lethargy and dilated pupils. Thankfully, this plant poses a minor poisoning risk to your dog or cat, but it is still best to keep it out of reach.