10 Household Plants Poisonous For Pets


By Dr. Jess Trimble


I know I’m not the only one who loves a good decorative houseplant, but can you recognize which types are toxic and potentially deadly to your fuzzy family member? No worries, we’re always here to help. Any plant may cause pets to have some degree of tummy upset, but some are more dangerous than others. Here we have put together a list of popular and pretty houseplants that should always be out of reach of pets.

1. LILIES

One of the most beautiful flowers is actually extremely toxic to cats. Ingestion of any part of the plant, including the pollen, can result in severe kidney damage and death. If you have a cat in your home, we recommend avoiding lilies altogether.

2. CHRYSANTHEMUMS

These pretty flowers contain pyrethrins. If ingested they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort as well as drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. If enough of the plant is consumed, your pet may experience depression and loss of coordination.

3. ALOE

Great for sun burns, not so much for your pets. The aloe plant is toxic to both dogs and cats. Aloin is the toxin in this plant and can cause vomiting and/or reddish urine.

4. TULIPS

Once ingested, these flowers can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation- the bulbs are particularly dangerous. Effects also include loss of appetite, shut down of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

5. AZALEAS

We agree – those pink flowers are SO pretty. The problem is that azaleas (and other plants from the rhododendron family) contain substances known as grayantoxins (also known as Mad Honey). These cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhea and weakness in pets. Severe azalea poisoning can ultimately lead to a coma and death.

6. MARIJUANA

Whether you’re excited by legalization or not, the ingestion of cannabis is a nightmare for pets. It can cause depression of the central nervous system and coordination issues, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate. In severe cases, it can cause seizures and liver failure.

7. AMARYLLIS

This is a common garden plant popular around Easter, and all throughout Spring time. This species contains toxins that cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, drooling, anorexia and tremors.

8. JADE PLANT

Jade plant (baby jade, dwarf rubber plant, jade tree, Chinese rubber plant, Japanese rubber plant or friendship tree) is toxic to cats and dogs. The toxic agent in this plant isn’t particularly identified but ingestion causes vomiting, depression, loss of coordination and in severe cases, slow heartbeat.

9. POTHOS

If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant causes mechanical irritation and swelling of the tongue and lips, along with other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Stay away from the satin pothos (also known as the silk pothos), particularly. 

10. HEARTLEAF PHILODENDRON

The heartleaf philodendron (a.k.a. horsehead philodendron, cordatum, fiddle leaf, panda plant, split-leaf philodendron, fruit salad plant, red emerald, red princess or saddle leaf) is a very common and easy-to-grow houseplant that is toxic to both dogs and cats. This plant contains a chemical that irritates the mouth, tongue and lips of animals. A pet that ingests this plant may also experience increased salivation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

These ten plants are amongst the most popular choices for house plants (…and other activities), but by no means is this a comprehensive list! Other plants to avoid around the house if you have pets include the oleander, English ivy, clyclamen, peace lily, schefflera, and the autumn crocus. Before hitting your favorite nursery, please search the ASPCA’s plant database, or consult your vet.