9 Toxic Houseplants for Dogs

House plants on a table next to a window

Several people use houseplants to enhance the beauty of their homes. However, the decision to select the most suitable species can be a little tricky for those who own a dog. This is because a long list of plants is harmful to your pup. According to ASPCA Poison Control, hundreds of household plants are categorized as toxic for canines.

Many of these plants are known by different names and the pet owners need to know about them. The degree of toxicity varies from one species to another, and it ranges from mild to potentially fatal. The following is a list of some of the most common toxic houseplants for dogs.  

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera plants on a blurred background

Although it is a famous medicinal plant for humans, Aloe Vera is not safe for dogs (and cats). The level of toxicity can go from mild to moderate, depending upon the quantity ingested. This plant is toxic to dogs because it contains ‘Anthraquinone Glycosides’, which stimulates bowel movements.

Upon ingestion, intestinal bacteria metabolize these purgatives to increase water and mucus production in the colon. This results in gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea and vomiting). The other symptoms of Aloe Vera poisoning include changes in urine color, anorexia, and depression.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern planted in outdoor garden

This pretty houseplant is a very popular domestic choice because it is fast-growing and easy to maintain. Having said that, it is a big NO for people who have pets in their homes. This is because it contains a toxic substance called Sapogenin.

The ingestion of its berries can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Similarly, continuous exposure to Asparagus Fern can cause skin inflammation (allergic dermatitis) to your dog. This household plant is also known as Sprengeri Fern, Emerald Fern, Emerald Feather, Plumosa Fern, and Lace Fern.     

Desert Rose

Desert Rose in a green planter with a backdrop of trees

This plant is known for its beautiful flowers that have a tubular shape and come in red and pink colors. In addition to bonsai houseplant, they can also be grown as a succulent shrub or a small tree. Irrespective of its size, this species is dangerous for canines. Other names of this plant are Desert Azalea and Adenium Obesum.

Just like Aloe Vera, Desert Rose also contains glycosides that can cause internal discomfort when eaten. These toxic chemicals are present in the sap of the plant. The signs that indicate the ingestion of Desert Rose include excessive drooling, gastrointestinal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Devil’s Ivy

Devil’s Ivy in a metal planter on a wooden floor

This tropical plant is often grown in homes because it is easy to grow. However, it is toxic to dogs and shouldn’t be a part of your house if you own a canine. This houseplant is also known as Satin or Silk Pothos while its scientific name is Epipremnum Aureum.

Although Devil’s Ivy is not considered fatal, it can be harmful to your dog’s skin and digestive system. In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, this toxic plant can also lead to increased salvation, oral irritation, and swallowing difficulties.   

Dumb Cane

Close up view of Dumb Cane plant

This low-maintenance species is an excellent choice for those people who have busy routines. However, this toxic houseplant is NOT recommended for dog owners. It contains insoluble Calcium Oxalates and Proteolytic Enzymes that are harmful to canines (as well as cats).

Even though the scientific name of Dumb Cane is Dieffenbachia, it is generally known as Tropic Snow or Exotica. The ingestion of its leaves leads to severe swelling of the mouth and tongue. This gives way to other symptoms of poisoning, like excessive drooling, vomiting, and breathing and swallowing difficulties. In extreme cases, the toxic effects of the Dumb Cane can result in death.

Elephant Ear

Close up of the leaves of the Elephant Ear plant

This beautiful plant adds to the beauty of any garden. The name ‘Elephant Ear’ comes from the giant leaves of this species. Other common names of this houseplant include Tara, Ape, Via Sori, Malanga, and Caladium.

It is extremely dangerous for dogs to ingest those big leaves because they contain toxic chemicals (insoluble Calcium Oxalate crystals). For this reason, the signs of toxicity (caused by Elephant Ear) are similar to that of Dumb Cane. Therefore, your pet could suffer from swelling and burning of the tongue and mouth. Likewise, he/she can experience increased salvation, vomiting, and difficulty in breathing.    

Lilies

Peace lily plant against a tan background

The family of Lilies has many members in it, and quite a lot of them are toxic to dogs. For instance, Palm Lily (a common household plant), Peace Lily, and Autumn Crocus are all dangerous for canines. If your pup has ingested a toxic Lily, it’s quite likely for him/her to experience oral irritation and vomiting. You may also observe difficulty in swallowing.

Some types of this plant become even more harmful if you have a multi-pet household. This is because Stargazer and Easter Lilies are extremely poisonous to cats and can prove fatal if left untreated. The toxins in these plants affect the kidneys of your feline pets.        

Jade

Close up of the Jade plant

This species is ideal for those families who don’t have much interest in gardening. This rubber plant is extremely dangerous for dogs and should NEVER be planted in your pup’s vicinity. Some other names of this toxic houseplant are Dwarf Rubber Plant, Friendship Tree, Baby Jade, and Crassula Ovata.

Despite the fact that it is highly poisonous, no one knows about the toxins that are there in Jade. However, one thing that can be said with certainty is that this plant can be fatal for your pet. The symptoms of Jade Poisoning include gastric distress, heartbeat irregularities, and depression.  

Sago Palm

Sago Palm planted in well tended yard

The scientific name of Sago Palm is Cycas Revoluta. This exotic plant is famous for adding a tropical feel to any home. For this reason, they are often used as ornamental Bonsai houseplants. Having said that, it can be very troublesome if your canine friend finds his/her way to this plant.

Every part of Sago Palm is toxic for dogs, with the seeds being the most poisonous. Cycasin (a carcinogenic and neurotoxic glucoside) is the primary source of this toxicity. The ingestion of this plant will at least cause diarrhea and vomiting. In extreme cases, this powerful poison can result in severe liver failure and even death.  

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.