Common Poisonous Plants For Pets

From deep, dense forests to small pots in our homes, plants have come a long way. We can find plants in almost every house in the United States, and rightfully so. After all, they are the natural buffers of our planet earth.

However, plants can sometimes be dangerous as well. We are usually really cautious regarding plants harmful to our health, but we rarely bring our beloved pets into the equation. 

Decorative house plants have become a vital part of every home as decor. But, some of these common plants we have can be poisonous for pets.

So let’s look at the poisonous plants and flowers for dogs and cats.

Are General Houseplants Poisonous?

Yes, there might be some poisonous plants in your house that may be the cause of your pets’ ailments. Therefore, it is essential to raise awareness about them. However, there are so many other plants that you can keep in the house instead, which add to the allure and are safe for the pets around them.

Houseplants on a piece of furniture.

A harmless-looking decoration plant cannot just be hazardous if consumed by your cat or dog, but it may also prove fatal in some severe cases. 

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has put light on this matter by providing a detailed list of all plants that can be dangerous for your pets.

AVA president Paula Parker said that various plants are mediocre in toxicity and can cause “light” symptoms, like gastrointestinal disorders. However, she added that if our cats and dogs consume even the smallest piece of a highly poisonous plant, it could prove fatal, as we stated earlier.

But you need not worry. We have made a list of some of the common deadly plants for dogs and cats. Hence if you have pets and any of the houseplants we will talk about further in this article, at home together, you would definitely have to get rid of either one of the two.

Some Deadly Plants For Your Pets

This list is by no means complete, but it features the most prevalent poisonous plants, so you can get a fair idea about what to discard. 

Aloe Vera

The aloe plant has become quite popular in the United States over the last few years. This popularity is justified by its use in many aspects of our lives, like skincare and food. However, aloe’s active ingredient, saponin, can be poisonous to pets, especially dogs.

Saponin binds with sugars and severely affects the dog’s gastrointestinal system. In addition, it is a highly toxic compound. If your cat ingests a large amount, it can prove to be fatal. 

Besides, saponin is unhealthy for young children as well. Therefore, it is wise to keep the aloe plant out of the house if you have kids or pets in your home.

On top of that, when your cats and dogs eat a portion of the poisonous plant, the latex part(inner skin) interacts with glycosides and forms a novel compound. The new combination causes water retention in the colon plus thick mucus production. If not treated urgently, it can prove hazardous for your pets and even fatal in some severe cases.

Some of the ailments caused by the ingestion of the aloe plant are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dark urine

Hence, if you notice even one or two of these symptoms in your pets, you must urgently take them to a vet. But, if we don’t treat aloe poisoning promptly, it can have dangerous outcomes.

Devil’s Backbone

It is one of the most common poisonous plants, and it has made its way into perhaps every second American household solely based on its aesthetic charm. 

Devil’s backbone is associated with many native names like the kalanchoe, mother-in-law plant, chandelier, and mother of millions. However, its scientific name is Euphorbia tithymaloides belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae.

Devil’s backbone is a typical house plant consisting of numerous miniature flowers forming a cluster. Unfortunately, despite this flora being aesthetically charming, it is incredibly noxious to your dog. If you think your pup has eaten even a tiny portion of this plant, contact your vet instantly.

If consumed, the plant can cause severe poisoning. This is because it includes a cardiac glycoside poison called bufadienolides. It intervenes in the electrolyte poise of the cardiac muscles by repressing the sodium-potassium pump. If not dealt with promptly, a cardiac glycoside poison can prove to be fatal for your canines.

Here are some of the frequent symptoms accompanying Devil’s Backbone poisoning:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Ataxia
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Depression and Seizures

Therefore if you see any of these symptoms in your canines, you must consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Pencil Cactus

The Euphorbia tirucalli is a somewhat widespread houseplant. Although it is mainly used as an outdoor plant to prevent stray animals from ruining the plantations, it is now getting more recognition as an indoor plant. 

You may come across many names for this plant like Milkbush, Finger tree, Pencil tree, and Indian spurge tree.

When your cat breaches the external skin of the plant, a white, sticky liquid oozes out. The liquid is what causes poisoning to pets. Besides, this infamous sticky sap is harmful to humans as well. When touched, it can cause dermal itching, and if it comes in contact with the ocular area, it causes severe burning.

If your cat bites on the plant for some reason, it will expose the sap and cause severe adverse effects. In addition, the milky substance makes the pencil cactus one of the most poisonous houseplants for dogs. 

The fluid contains acidic diterpene esters, and when it comes across the skin or the eyes, it causes intense burning and swelling. Moreover, it can also cause problems if ingested.

Here are a few symptoms of pencil cactus poisoning in dogs and cats:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Burning
  • Blisters
  • Redness

One must not take the symptoms mentioned above lightly, as even a minor sign can develop into something more severe if we don’t deal with it at the right time.


The Jade plant, a well-known member of the Crassulaceae family, has become very popular over the years. Crassula ovata grows extraordinary well in dry soils, making it an excellent option as a houseplant.

However, it is one of the most toxic plants for dogs. All parts of this plant are harmful to canines. Therefore, the ASPCA has enlisted it on the poisonous plants for dogs list

On top of that, the jade plant is also considered mildly toxic for humans. Therefore, it is a good idea to stay away from it especially, if you have toddlers, pets, or both in your home. 

Crassula ovata contains a toxin that causes severe itching upon coming in contact with bare skin. Furthermore, if your cat eats even a tiny portion, it can also wreak havoc.

If your pet has consumed this plant, several symptoms of jade poisoning can develop. Here are a few of them:

  • Skin irritation
  • Burning
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Severe abdominal pain


Lilles are a piece of beauty that enhances the house’s ambiance, whether placed on a kitchen counter or in the bedroom. However, even with all their beauty and nice aroma, they are incredibly poisonous plants for pets.

Every part of this plant is toxic, including stem, pollen, petals, and even the water in the vessel. Although the root cause of the toxicity of lilies is unknown, its effects are pretty awful. For instance, there’s a chance of kidney failure of the pet within three days of eating even a minute part of the plant.

Typically, the effects of eating lilies include:

  • Bad breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure

The initial symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, etc., usually show up after a few hours of consumption. In addition, the kidney might fail within 36-72 hours. Lastly, if the pet doesn’t get medical attention immediately, the symptoms may ultimately lead to death.


With their vibrant color, Daffodils decorate the gardens and the sidewalks in spring. Even a glance at the lovely daffodils brightens the day and relaxes your whole mood.

Unfortunately, as mood-lifting, as they are for humans, they are equally harmful to pets, especially cats, if eaten. Their poisonous characteristics are due to the presence of alkaloids and crystalline lycorine. Lycorine is a chemical compound responsible for triggering vomiting and nausea.

The Daffodil bulb is an area that any pet should be kept away from. It is a part where crystalline lycorine is abundant. Therefore, if you have a canine friend at home, you must avoid keeping these poisonous plants for pets.

However, if your pet has consumed the flower or drank water from its vase, try and identify if the pet is showing symptoms. The common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

If you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, you should hurry it to a vet.

Treatment For Cats Eating Poisonous Plants

The easiest way to check if your pet has jade poisoning is to notice the drooling. If your cat or dog is drooling excessively, a harmful toxin has most likely poisoned them. In that case, contact a vet immediately.

Consulting a medical professional and following their medication is the best treatment for your ill pets. However, to be safe, you can remove the harmful plants entirely, or at least keep them away from your cats’ reach to avoid such catastrophes in the future.

A cat and a dog laying down together.

Apart from these four highly poisonous plants discussed in detail, several other poisonous house plants cause paralysis in severe cases. So, look at the following list of harmful plants, and make sure to get rid of them if you own a cat or a dog.

House Plants Poisonous To Cats And Dogs

This list contains deadly plants in North America and includes some of the most poisonous plants in the world. But still, it is by no means all-inclusive.

  • Amaryllis
  • American Bittersweet
  • Yew Pine
  • Common Privet
  • Flamingo Flower
  • Holly
  • The Naked Lady
  • Paraguayan Jasmine
  • Red Emerald
  • Rock Moss

These are some of the most poisonous plants that Americans usually place in their homes. Now, we can’t altogether take out all important plants from our daily lives. 

So we have to use plants that are aesthetically pleasing and also perfectly safe for our pets. Let’s look at some of the non-poisonous plants for our pets.

What Are The Safe Options?

Unlike the garden plants toxic to dogs, the undermentioned flora is entirely safe for your canines. They are:

  • African Daisy
  • Tulip Poplar
  • Tree Cactus(opuntia species)
  • Burro’s Tail
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Haworthia
  • Canada Hemlock
  • Mary-Bud
  • Miniature Fishtail

Instead of decorating your house with some of the most poisonous plants, use the innocuous flora and take care of your pets.

How To Keep Your Pet From Eating Poisonous Plants?

You may wonder if most pets, including dogs and cats, are carnivorous, then why do they eat plants? Well, pets may sometimes do that out of curiosity or other such reasons.

However, why they eat poisonous plants for pets is not that important; preventing them from doing so is. Here are a few things you can do to protect your pet from eating toxic plants.

Identify The Toxic Plants

Try and learn the names and the appearance of toxic plants in your neighborhood, at least. Then, whenever you take your pet out on a stroll, make sure the animal does not wander anywhere near them. 

If you, as an owner, will keep them away from such plants, the chances of them consuming these plants will reduce to a minimum.

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Create A Cage For Your Pet

If you have poisonous plants for pets within your house or garden, restrict your pet’s access to that area. Therefore, whenever you leave the pet alone in the house and go out, put it behind a bar or a cage. So, the animal won’t leap towards those harmful plants.


Finally, all pets must be kept away from toxic plants. As we have a healthy alternative available, it makes no sense to equip our houses with highly poisonous plants for dogs and endanger our pup’s life for no reason.

Last but not least, how to identify poisonous plants? It is an excellent idea to search for pictures of poisonous plants on the internet, as many of us are unaware of plants’ names. Having seen the plants will ensure that we stay away from outdoor poisonous plants for pets and all types of poisonous berries.

The simple measure can save the life of your beloved cat or dog. Hence, choose your houseplants wisely, and keep your pets safe.

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