If you love plants and animals, you can’t just choose your houseplants based on aesthetic appeal. Other factors need to be considered, depending on what pets you have in your house. Dogs and cats are often affected by the species of plants you have, and some are downright dangerous for your furry friends. Here are a few to avoid if you want to assure the safety of your pets.
Dragon Tree – Also know as corn plants or ribbon plants, these carry a chemical component called saponin, which is toxic to both dogs and cats. If your animals eat these, you may notice loss of appetite, vomiting, increased salivation, and possible depression or lethargy.
Elephant Ear – This popular household plant is gorgeous, but it also contains a poisonous element that can cause several reactions in both dogs and cats, including mouth irritation (causing an excess of saliva), trouble swallowing, and vomiting.
Lilies – A number of strains affect both dogs and cats. The peace lily, also known as Mauna Loa, and the calla lily can cause similar symptoms to the elephant ears in both animals. In addition, cats specifically have issues with the Easter and stargazer lilies. The early signs may not seem to be a big deal – vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite – but if left untreated, cats can experience kidney failure and even die.
Cyclamen – One of the most beautiful flowering plants you can have, it is also one of the most potentially lethal for pets. Vomiting and diarrhea are common reactions, but if your pet ingests the tubers at the root and just below the soil, it may develop an abnormal heart rhythm or seizures and even die.
Jade – also known as a rubber plant or friendship tree, it isn’t clear what the toxic element of the plant is exactly. However, when animals ingest it, symptoms can range from vomiting and depression to ataxia (incoordination) and even a slow heart rate known as bradycardia.
Aloe – Containing aloin, most strains of aloe plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. It can cause vomiting and possibly a reddish tint to urine.
Asparagus Fern – Sapogenin is a steroid that occurs naturally in this plant, as well as several other varieties. Reactions in dogs and cats that ingest the berries include vomiting, diarrhea, and possible abdominal pain. If your pet is repeatedly exposed to a plant containing this agent, he may experience allergic dermatitis, a particular form of skin irritation that causes continuous itching.
Be careful and always check the toxicity of any houseplant you plan to introduce to your home if you have pets. There are over 700 plants that are considered toxic to animals, and you want to avoid these to assure the safety of your furry friends.