12 Houseplants That are Toxic for Dogs

Household plants can add life to your home, but some houseplants can be dangerous, and even fatal for pets if they chew or eat them. If you’ve got pets, then it’s important to know which houseplants are toxic for your pet and which plants are safe. This article is for dog owners, but if you’ve got a cat instead, check out our article on plants that are toxic for cats.

In this article, we’ll look at houseplants that are toxic for dogs and the signs and symptoms of toxicity that you should look out for.

Mother-of-Millions, Chandelier plant, and Devil’s Backbone (Kalanchoe)

kalanchoe plant

Kalanchoe is a flowering plant that contains several potentially toxic substances, including cardiac glycosides, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large enough quantities. Cardiac glycosides work by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for pumping sodium out of heart cells, leading to an accumulation of sodium and an increase in heart contractility.

Symptoms of Kalanchoe Poisoning

The symptoms usually develop within 4-12 hours. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Difficulty breathing

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)

aloe vera houseplants

Aloe vera is a type of succulent plant that is commonly used for its medicinal properties. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine and is known for its soothing and healing effects on the skin. Aloe vera is often used topically to treat burns, cuts, and other skin irritations.

It’s also sometimes taken orally as a digestive aid or for its potential health benefits. While it’s generally considered safe for humans, it can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large enough quantities.

Symptoms of Aloe Vera Poisoning

The gastrointestinal system metabolizes the toxin and symptoms appear just a few hours after ingestion of Aloe Vera. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Vomiting

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

dumb cane plant

Dumb cane is a type of flowering plant that’s commonly grown as a houseplant. It’s named “dumb cane” because ingestion of the plant can cause temporary loss of speech due to swelling of the tongue and larynx.

Dumb cane contains a toxic substance called oxalate crystals which can cause harm to your pet dog. It may take 2-4 hours for gastrointestinal signs to develop. However, other symptoms can develop much quicker.

Symptoms of Dumb Cane Poisoning

  • Irritation and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty
  • Nausea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth and face
  • Difficulty swallowing

Severe irritation of the mouth can cause:

  • Ulcers and blisters in the mouth
  • Swelling of face, tongue, and lips

In rare cases, inflammation can result in swelling of the upper airway, thus causing respiratory distress.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

lily of the valley

Lily of the valley is a poisonous plant that’s native to Europe and Asia. It’s often grown in gardens and is also sometimes used in traditional medicine. However, it’s toxic to dogs if ingested and can cause serious symptoms. The toxic substance in the lily of the valley is a type of cardiac glycoside called convallotoxin, which can affect the heart and nervous system.

Symptoms of Lily of the Valley Poisoning

The symptoms may start appearing just after ingestion or may take up to 4-12 hours, depending on the quantity of the plant eaten by the dog.

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Severe cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal rhythm and heart rate)
  • Heart rate dropping
  • Seizures

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

jade plants

Jade plants are a type of succulent plant native to South Africa and are commonly grown as houseplants. While jade plants are generally considered to be non-toxic to humans, they can be toxic to dogs if ingested. The toxic substance in jade plants is unknown, but ingestion of the plant can cause serious symptoms.

Symptoms of Jade Poisoning

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated gait or stumbling
  • Loss of appetite

Since the toxicity is mild, so the signs may not very evident, but they usually develop within 1-4 hours of ingestion.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.)

amaryllis plant

Amaryllis is a type of flowering plant that is native to South America and is commonly grown as a houseplant. It’s known for its large, showy flowers that come in a range of colors including red, pink, white, and orange. Amaryllis is easy to care for and is often grown for its ornamental value.

All parts of Amaryllis plants contain an alkaloid toxin, and the entire plant is toxic to dogs. But since the bulb contains needle-shaped oxalate crystals, they are the most dangerous for dogs and other pets.

Symptoms of Amaryllis Poisoning

If other parts of the plant are eaten, then the following symptoms usually occur:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shallow breathing

If the dog ingests the bulb, then these symptoms will develop:

  • Discomfort]
  • Oral pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Irritation
  • Pawing at the face and mouth
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Vomiting in some cases

Oral irritation is experienced by the dog the moment it chews or bites the bulb, while other symptoms usually develop within 2-4 hours of ingestion.

Sago Palm (Zamias, Cycads, Cardboard Palm, or Coontie Palm)

sago palms

Sago palm is a type of plant that is native to Japan and is commonly grown as a decorative plant in gardens and as a houseplant. It’s a type of cycad, which is a group of plants that are known for their distinctive, fern-like leaves and their ability to tolerate dry conditions.

This attractive houseplant contains a toxin called cycasin, neurotoxic glycoside, and a carcinogenic compound, which when ingested by animals, can result in severe illness or even death. All parts of this plant are toxic, while the most toxic part is the seeds (nuts).

Aggressive treatment should be started just after ingestion and the survival rate is about 50% even with immediate aggressive treatment.

Symptoms of Sago Palm Poisoning

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Yellowing of the skin, gums, and eyes, a condition called jaundice
  • Abnormal collection of fluid in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Black-tarry stool (a condition called melena)

In dogs, ingestion of sago palm causes serious liver failure, with gastrointestinal symptoms occurring within 15 minutes to 3-4 hours of ingestion. While the central nervous system signs may take some hours to days to develop, and severe liver failure usually happens in 2-3 days after ingestion.

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)

marijuana plants

Marijuana is a type of flowering plant that’s often used for recreational and medicinal purposes. It contains a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Marijuana is toxic to dogs and the level of toxicity varies, depending on the amount eaten and other foods eaten besides this plant.

Symptoms of Marijuana Poisoning

  • An uncoordinated gait, a condition called ataxia
  • Dribbling urine
  • Drooling
  • Tremors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slowed heart rate, a condition called bradycardia

The signs start developing within minutes of ingestion and may take up to 2 hours to develop completely.

Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

orange tulips

Tulips are a type of flowering plant that are native to Central Asia and are commonly grown as ornamental plants or houseplants. They’re known for their colorful, cup-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring.

Tulips are easy to care for and are often grown for their ornamental value. The toxic substance in tulips is unknown, but while they’re safe for humans, they can cause serious symptoms in dogs.

Symptoms of Tulip Poisoning

  • Excessive drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritation of throat and mouth tissues

If large amounts of this plant are ingested by the dog, then it can cause the following severe symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in breathing rate
  • Fast heartbeat

The symptoms of toxicity start to appear immediately. Heart and breathing changes may take up to 2-4 hours to develop fully.

Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)

daffodil plants

Daffodils are a type of flowering plant that’s native to Europe and are commonly grown as ornamental plants in gardens and as houseplants. They’re known for their bright, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring. Daffodils contain a toxic substance called lycorine, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested.

Symptoms of Daffodil Poisoning

  • Convulsions
  • Severe vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Tremors
  • Heart rate and rhythm abnormalities

On ingesting the bulb, symptoms develop instantly. Severe symptoms may take 2-8 hours after ingestion.

Corn Plant (Dracaena)

corn plant houseplant

Containing a toxic chemical called saponins, corn plant is a poisonous houseplant if ingested by a dog. It may take a few hours for the symptoms to appear after ingestion.

Symptoms of Dracaena Poisoning

  • Dilated pupils
  • Mental dullness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Change in energy level
  • Vomiting (may contain blood)

Rose Bay (Chamerion angustifolium)

rose bay plant

All parts of the rose bay with beautiful flowers are poisonous to many pets, including dogs. The toxicity of this plant is so high that even consuming water having some leaves of the plant causes toxicity. The symptoms of toxicity take about 4-12 hours to develop after ingestion.

Symptoms of Rose Bay Poisoning

  • Abnormal heart rate and rhythm
  • Such a high level of potassium that’s life-threatening
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

Wrapping Up

If you are a dog owner, it’s a good idea to be aware of plants that can be toxic to dogs, including common household plants such as lilies, aloe vera, and ivy. To protect your pet, it is important to research the plants in your home and yard to ensure they are safe for dogs.

Additionally, keep your dog away from plants that may be toxic, and consider using pet-friendly alternatives in your landscaping and gardening. If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic plant, seek veterinary care immediately.

The 12 plants listed here are just a few of the many plants that are toxic to dogs so remember to stay alert and keep your pet safe.

If you’ve got a cat instead, you might want to learn about the different plants that are toxic to cats. Check out our article on the topic.