Is Pothos Toxic for Cats and Dogs?

If you are a pet owner and plant lover, it’s essential to know which plants can be harmful to your furry friends. One of the most popular houseplants, pothos, has become a staple in many households due to its low maintenance and aesthetic appeal. However, many pet owners are unaware that pothos is toxic to cats and dogs.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential dangers of pothos to your furry companions and what you can do to keep them safe.

Why is Pothos Poisonous?

golden pothos

Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy or golden pothos, is a popular houseplant that is toxic to pets, especially cats and dogs. This is because the plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause various health problems when ingested. Ingesting pothos can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth, throat, and digestive tract, leading to a range of symptoms.

So, if you are someone that has a cat or dog and has pothos in your surroundings, it’s very important to be aware of the symptoms to look out for in the instance your pet has ingested pothos.

Signs and Symptoms of Pothos Toxicity

taking cat to vet
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Whining
  • Excessive yawning
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Yelping

In severe cases, pets may experience breathing difficulties or even collapse.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested pothos, seek veterinary attention immediately. Your vet may induce vomiting, administer medications to alleviate symptoms and provide supportive care to prevent further complications.

What Happens at the Vets?

When you go to the vet, remember the following:

  • Estimate how much of the plant the pet has eaten by comparing the previous size of the plant and the present one.
  • You should discuss the symptoms experienced by your pet, and even those symptoms that are now no longer present.
  • You may need to tell your pet’s age, last meal before the pothos, temperament, medical history, and vaccination dates.

All these things help for a better diagnosis and then the right treatment for the problem.

The doctor will need to examine the following areas to make sure they diagnose your pet correctly:

  • Physical appearance
  • Heartbeat patterns
  • Breath sounds
  • Reflexes
  • Breathing patterns
  • Blood oxygen level
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature
  • Inspection of the nose, eyes, throat, ears, and mouth.

Can You Still Have Pothos around Your Pet?

pothos plant

Pothos is considered a mildly toxic plant and it’s still possible to have it around your pet as a houseplant, as long as you take precautions to prevent your pet from accessing the plant. Here are some tips to help you safely keep pothos in your home:

  • Place the plant in a location that’s out of reach of your pets, such as on a high shelf or hanging from the ceiling.
  • Consider using plant hangers or plant stands to keep the pothos plant off the ground and away from your pets.
  • Train your pets to stay away from the plant by using verbal commands and positive reinforcement.
  • If your pet has a history of chewing on plants or displaying curious behavior around them, it may be best to avoid having pothos in your home altogether.
  • Always research the toxicity of any plants before bringing them into your home and keep a list of toxic plants on hand in case of emergencies.
  • By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the beauty of pothos while keeping your pets safe from potential poisoning.

What is the Toxicity Level of a Pothos Plant?

It’s difficult for your pet to eat large amounts of pothos as they are painful to eat. The level of toxicity depends on the number of plants consumed and your pet’s size.

While it is rare for pets to die from pothos toxicity, in severe cases where a large amount of the plant is consumed, it’s possible for a pet to suffer life-threatening complications.

The toxicity level of pothos is classified as a category 2 plant by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This means that ingestion of the plant may cause mild to moderate symptoms of toxicity, but severe symptoms and fatalities are unlikely.

Remember that even mildly toxic plants can cause health problems in pets, especially if they are ingested in large quantities. It’s always best to prevent your pets from accessing pothos or any other potentially toxic plants.

Which Part of The Pothos Plant is the Most Toxic?

pothos plants

The entire pothos plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are the main source of its toxicity. However, the most toxic parts of the pothos plant are its leaves, stems, and roots.

The plant also contains other toxins, such as several forms of saponins, calcium carbonate, and several forms of glycosides. These toxins are present in small quantities and are not as powerful as to make a small consumption of these deadly for your pet.

Which Plants are Pet Friendly?

Now that you know the risks associated with having pothos as houseplants if you have a cat or dog at home let’s have a look at other pet-friendly plants that you can have so that your pets are safe.

  • African violets
  • Peperomia
  • Most of the herb varieties
  • Pilea
  • Calathea
  • Boston fern
  • Holiday Cactus
  • Umbrella plant

Always remember to do some research before introducing any plant to your home.

FAQs about Pothos Toxicity

1. Are pothos only toxic if ingested?

No, pothos plants can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions if their sap comes into contact with the skin.

2. Are pothos toxic to breathe?

While pothos are not known to be toxic to breathe, they can cause respiratory irritation and discomfort if their sap is inhaled.

3. How long does pothos poisoning last?

The symptoms of pothos poisoning can last several hours to several days, depending on the severity of the exposure.

4. Are all pothos toxic to cats?

Yes, all varieties of pothos are toxic to cats and can cause gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

5. Are pothos toxic to breathe?

While pothos are not known to be toxic to breathe, they can cause respiratory irritation and discomfort if their sap is inhaled.

Wrapping Up

Now that you are aware of how pothos can be toxic to cats and dogs, you can take the necessary steps to ensure your pet is safe. To prevent pothos poisoning, keep your pets away from the plant, or consider removing the plant from your home if you have curious pets and introducing pet-friendly plants.

Additionally, it is always a good idea to research the toxicity of any plants before bringing them into your home.