Common House Plants Toxic for Your Dog

November 18, 2019

Common House Plants Toxic for Your Dog


Houseplants are a lovely addition to your home. They bring life and color to the space with minimal cost and effort. However, beautiful as they may be, some are extremely harmful to your dogs. These are the most common houseplants that cause poisoning incidents.


Aloe Vera

While Aloe Vera is a wonderful plant to have at home because of its many skin-smoothing properties and its healthy, refreshing taste, this gel-like substance is harmful if ingested by your furry companions.

Toxins: Saponins

Severity: Mild to moderate depending on the size of the dog

Toxic parts:  Juice and pulp

Symptoms: Vomiting, Lack of appetite, Urine discoloration, Diarrhea


Sago Palm

Sago palms are naturally found in tropical/subtropical environments. They are also used as ornamental Bonsai houseplants. However, you need to keep these ornaments away from dogs as they are highly toxic and have sent many dog owners to the emergency room because of ingestion.

Toxins: Cycasin

Severity: Extreme

Toxic parts: Entire plant

Symptoms:  Vomiting, Jaundice, Increased thirst, Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, Bruising, Clotting disorder, Liver damage, Liver failure, and in many cases Death


Arrowhead Vine

Arrowhead plants are great for first-time plant parents because they're low maintenance and thrive in a low light environment. It goes by a multitude of names, including Syngonium and Nephthytis. Famous for more than a hundred years, the arrowhead plant has withstood the test of time because it's both attractive and relatively easy to grow.

Toxins: Insoluble calcium oxalates

Severity: Moderate

Toxic parts: Entire plant

Symptoms: Vomiting, Depression, Diarrhea, Lack of appetite, Chills, Change in the color of urine



Dieffenbachia is a perennial herbaceous plant with straight stem, simple and alternate leaves containing white spots and flecks, making it attractive as indoor foliage. However, this plant has a bad reputation as a houseplant. There are stories circulating that it kills your children or burns down houses. It’s also known as ‘Dumb Cane’ because of its ability to leave a victim speechless or struck dumb.

Toxins: Bufadienolides

Severity: Moderate

Toxic parts: Entire plant

Symptoms: Mucous membrane irritation, Intense burning, Irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, Excessive drooling, Vomiting, Difficulty in swallowing



Azaleas bloom in the spring; their flowers often last several weeks. Because Azaleas are shade tolerant, they prefer living near or under trees. Dogs usually leave them alone but if ingested by dogs, it could be fatal (even a small nibble on the leaves, wood or flowers). If these cases go untreated, they can progress to a coma or even death.

Toxins: Grayanotoxin

Severity: Moderate

Toxic parts: Entire plant

Symptoms: Abdominal pain, Abnormal heart rate, Abnormal heart rhythms, Coma, Depression, Diarrhea, Excessive drooling, Hypotension, Lethargy, Loss of appetite, Low blood pressure, Muscle weakness, Rapid and shallow breathing, Seizures, Temporary blindness, Tremors, Vomiting, and Weakness



Cyclamen — not to be confused with men who ride bicycles (see what we did there?) is a small but diverse genus of plants. It is a tuberous perennial with heart-shaped leaves and flowers in shades of pink, red, or white. These colorful houseplants are especially popular during the winter holiday season.

Toxins: Triterpenoid saponins

Severity: Moderate to severe depending on the volume of consumption

Toxic parts: Entire plant. Toxins are concentrated in the roots

Symptoms: Increase salivation, Drooling, Vomiting and diarrhea, Abnormal heart rhythm, Seizure and even Death



Daffodils are perennials that grow in most regions of North America, except in the hottest and wettest areas — namely South Florida. They are bright and fragrant flowers that bloom in the spring. Their leaves are long and flat and the blossoms — six petals and trumpet in the middle — are bright yellow or white. It has a bulb that grows underground.

Toxins: Lycorine

Severity: Mild to Moderate

Toxic parts: Outer layer of the bulbs

Symptoms: Severe vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal pain, and even possible Cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression.



Tulips are normally large, showy, and brightly colored, generally red, pink, yellow, or white. They often have a different colored blotch at the base of the petals. Similar to the daffodil, the entire plant is poisonous but it’s the bud not the flower or leaves that is the most dangerous.

Toxins: Glycoside

Severity: Mild

Toxic parts: Bud

Symptoms:  Abdominal pain, Cardiac arrhythmias, Coma, Depression, Diarrhea, Difficulty breathing, Dizziness, Excessive drooling, Lethargy, Seizures, Sudden death, Tremors, and Vomiting



Amaryllis is a bulbous plant, with each bulb being 5–10 cm in diameter. It may be purchased as bare or planted bulbs, and are prized for their exotic trumpet-shaped flowers born on 1 to 2 foot leafless stalks or scapes. While the most popular colors are red and white, flowers may also be pink, salmon, apricot, rose or deep burgundy.

Toxins: Lycorine

Severity: Mild to Moderate

Toxic parts: Bud

Symptoms: Drooling, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Depression, Abdominal Discomfort, Low blood pressure, and Respiratory distress


Autumn Crocus

Also known as Meadow Saffron or Naked Lady, the seed, bulb, leaves, and flower of this plant are used to make medicine. But all parts of the plant are considered toxic.

Toxins: Colchicine

Severity: Fair

Toxic parts: All parts

Symptoms: Anemia Black, Tarry stool, Blood in stool, Burning in mouth, Death, Depression, Diarrhea, Difficulty breathing, Excessive drooling, Fever, Loss of appetite, Multi-organ damage, Seizures, Shock, Slowed heart rate, Vomiting, and possibly Bloody



The Oleander plant blossoms throughout the summer into the autumn season and grows along roadsides of the southern states. It is also endemic to the west coast of the United States. This plant can grow to lengths over six feet tall while enduring dry conditions and wind. Also produced as a decorative plant for summer gardens in other parts of North America, the oleander is highly toxic, and pets must be monitored at all times when in the proximity of the tree.

Toxins: Cardiac Glycoside Oleandrin

Severity: Moderate

Toxic parts: Roots, stems, leaves

Symptoms: Drooling, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain, Drowsiness, Dilated pupils, Lack of coordination, Inability to rise, Lethargy, Weakness, Abnormal heart rate, Cardiovascular dysrhythmias including fibrillation (quivering of the heart), Collapse Death



Some of the traditional names for kalanchoe are Chandelier plant, Mother-of-Millions, and Devil’s Backbone. Five different bufadienolides have been detected in Kalanchoe daigremontiana, and two of these, daigremontianin and bersaldegenin 1,3,5-orthoacetate, have been confirmed to have a robust sedative-like effect on dogs and cause imbalances in the electrolytes in your dog’s heart.

Toxins: Cardiac glycosides

Severity: Moderate to Severe

Toxic parts: Entire plant but Kalanchoe blossoms contain more glycosides

Symptoms: Abnormal heart rate, Cardiac arrhythmias, Collapse, Decreased heart rate, Depression, Diarrhea, Dilated pupils, Drooling, Increased heart rate, Lethargy, Loss of appetite, Nausea, Seizures, Tremors, Unsteady gait, Vomiting, Weakness, and in some occasions Death


What to do if your dog ingests one of these plants

Dogs are one of the nosiest creatures — they literally have their nose all up in your business, also known as your house plants. If you suspect that your dog was the victim of houseplant poisoning, act quickly. The rate at which your dog recovers from ingesting the poison is highly proportional to the time it takes you to respond.

You must do the following:

  • Carefully withdraw any residual poisonous plant material from within your dog's reach.
  • Gather the substance in a container to bring to the veterinarian or poison control expert for analysis and explanation. If this is not possible, take notes and describe what happened to the emergency care personnel. 
  • Collect a specimen of any substance that your dog may have regurgitated. Your vet may utilize this collected sample for testing.
  • Contact your veterinarian or call Pet Poison Helpline. The sooner you can contact them, the better the prognosis for your dog. It's much safer for your dog and a lot less pricey for you to have your pet treated before they develop symptoms. This is because treatments such as vomit inducement, stomach pumping, or activated charcoal can only be executed within a narrow time frame. Even if your dog is not instantly manifesting signs of plant poisoning, it's vital to seek professional advice if you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous substance.


Forget everything you know

We know how difficult it is to do this. All you want to do is help but you need to forget everything you know. It’s best that you trust your veterinarian to treat your dog. Follow all the steps we’ve provided for you above and hope for the best.





When things don’t go as planned

Sometimes, our dogs come out of the incident happy and healthy, and other times we get the outcome we’ve been dreading. We want you to know that it’s not your fault. If you recently lost your beloved dog to a poisoning incident and you’re not sure how to deal with the grief, we have an article that you may find helpful. Check it out here: 

Learning To Let Go: Putting Your Guilt Behind You

We hope that you find peace and solace knowing that your dog is in a much better place.


What to do to avoid plant poisoning incidents

Find alternatives The beauty about plants is that there are many alternatives to your favorites. They could be equally as stunning and non-toxic and it’s safer to have around your pets.

Consider fake plants — If you buy plants solely for their ornamental purposes you may want to consider buying fake plants instead. They’re no maintenance and your dog can chomp on them without any negative side effects. If anything, the worst that can happen is that your dog makes a mess of your fake plants and rip it up.

Keep your plants out of reach — Depending on how your house is constructed or how you decorate, you could either hang your plants with macramé hangers or fence them off in your garden. Just make sure that there’s no way for your dog to give them a sniff and chomp.


If there’s one takeaway you get from reading this article, it’s that you need to act quick. Call your emergency veterinarian and poison control center as soon as you suspect that your dogs have ingested these toxic plants.

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