With all of us spending so much time inside during COVID19, plant ownership is definitely on the rise. With this in mind, it’s particularly important we ensure any new plants we’re bringing into our home are also safe for our furbabies!

Despite being a vet myself, I only learnt that a lot of the plants I had at home were toxic when researching before bringing my puppy home.

So in this blog, I’m going to go through some of the most popular household plants that are actually toxic to both cats & dogs (funny enough, many of which I discovered I had at home).

At My Vet, toxic plant ingestion is actually an issue we see quite often, so I would strongly recommend ensuring that all plants at home are actually 100% pet friendly!

The most common toxicity signs are vomiting and diarrhoea and oral irritation, however depending on the plant it can even affect the kidneys, liver and even nervous system. Generally speaking, the larger of an amount consumed the more detrimental the toxic effects.

It is important to note the following list is by no means exhaustive and is not a list of the most toxic plants – but rather the most popular household plants that are.

1. Tomato plants
Toxicity: Moderate

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/505388389436248538/

Ripe tomatoes are okay to give to your pet but did you know all green parts of the plants are actually toxic (as well as unripe tomatoes)! Signs of intoxication may include vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetance, hypersalivation. In rare cases it can even cause cardiac effects and muscle tremors.

2. Mothers in laws tongue
Toxicity level: Mild

This extremely popular pot plant is a great introductory plant for novice plant owners – however it also is mildly toxic to pets if ingested. The signs usually include drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea.

3. Rubber tree plants
Toxicity level: Mild

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/6T95IqhB65M

Rubber trees plants are particularly popular due to their low maintenance – however they are actually toxic. They cause irritation of the mouth and vomiting and diarrhoea. Thankfully they are only mildly toxic but definitely should be made note of.

4. Devil’s Ivy
Toxicity level: Moderate

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/rz1YlPt4E1U

Ingestion of Devil’s Ivy releases calcium oxalate crystals which can cause oral irritation, pain & swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips and possibly vomiting.

5. Mass cane (corn plant)
Toxicity level: Moderate

Source: getty images

This beautiful leafy plant most commonly causes gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhoea) when ingested, however more extreme symptoms can include weakness and lack of coordination.

6. Peace lilies
Toxicity level: Moderate

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/CDoPIWJDvvw

Although not as severely toxic as true lilies (which can cause kidney failure), peace lilies can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing. This is due to the same calcium oxalate crystals that are present in the Devil’s Ivy!

7. Aloe Vera
Toxicity level: Mild

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/q3szjB0Lj8w

This extremely popular plant may have lots of medicinal benefits for us humans – but all parts of the plant is actually toxic to dogs and cats! Usually our pets will avoid ingestion due to the spikes however ingestion can cause oral irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea, with extreme cases even resulting in muscle tremors.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested any toxic plants – please book in to see us at MyVet as soon as possible. Often if the plant is recently ingested, we will be able to induce vomiting which if performed in a timely manner, can avoid any signs of toxicity altogether. As always, prevention is always a much better outcome than requiring treatment.

Look forward to my next My Vet blog which will go through the top pet friendly plants to brighten up your home!

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