14 House Plants Poisonous for Dogs

Recent years have seen a boom in ownership of house plants. On social media, we’re bombarded with enviable indoor forests which makes a trip to the local nursery or market particularly dangerous for our wallets and remaining indoor space!

If you do have pets at home, it’s worth keeping on your radar the house plants poisonous to dogs. While a nibble on the leaves of some plants might leave your pet with some irritating symptoms that will soon pass, some plants are potentially fatal and should be treated with the utmost caution. 

Why are some plants poisonous for dogs?

Plants produce a range of different toxins to protect themselves from being eaten by small pests and animals in the wild. Unfortunately, these toxins still affect curious pets.

List of house plants toxic for dogs

Here is a list of 14 common house plants toxic to dogs and symptoms to watch out for if they’re ingested.

Please note that this isn’t a complete list. To be on the safe side, it’s a great idea to do some quick research before adding a new plant companion to your living space.

Close up of green aloe vera plant leaves

Aloe vera

While aloe vera might be handy for humans after a day in the sun, it can be mildly to moderately toxic if ingested by our four-legged friends. It contains purgatives so when eaten, it results in vomiting and diarrhoea. Also look out for sleepiness, tremors and or a change in urine colour if your dog comes into contact with it.

Asparagus fern in white pot against purple and pink background

Asparagus fern

The asparagus fern isn’t likely to cause severe illness in your pooch, as it’s mildly to moderately toxic. If ingested, look out for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea and signs of abdominal pain in your dog. If exposed repeatedly your dog’s skin will become irritated, so it’s best to keep this plant out of high traffic areas.

Close up image of variety of small spikey cactus plants in silver pots on a wooden table

Cacti

While cacti may only be mild to moderate on their ability to be toxic, the main thing to watch out for are the cactus spikes. If ingested, these can create huge discomfort and internal injury when swallowed by your pet. A mistake they’re not likely to make twice.

Close up of top section of Dracaena (dragon tree) plant with man in orange shirt standing behind

Dracaena / Dragon tree

The Dracaena or Dragon Tree poses a mild to moderate risk of poisoning to dogs, due to the saponins it contains. All parts of the plant are potentially dangerous, so after any ingestion, be on the lookout for vomiting (which may contain blood), lack of appetite and more drooling than usual in your pet.

Image of golden pothos or 'devil's ivy' in a small green pot

Ivy

Ivy is a popular indoor plant in its many varieties, including English ivy and Devil’s ivy (also known as pothos). If used as a snack, some ivy varieties contain calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves that cause irritation to the tongue, lips and stomach resulting in drooling, swelling and foaming at the mouth. More severe poisoning may lead to swallowing or breathing difficulties. Other Ivy varieties can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested.

Close up image of Jade plant in white pot

Jade plant

The jade plant or money plant, is a low maintenance plant is popular for its ability to handle extreme neglect, making it a popular choice in Australian homes. Thankfully it’s only mildly toxic to dogs and may cause some nausea and vomiting, resulting in a lethargic dog.

Close up of blooming white lily flower, in green garden

Lilies

Whether grown in your garden, in pots on a balcony or displayed as beautiful cut flowers, treat lilies with caution around dogs. Many varieties can be poisonous to them and may cause diarrhoea, vomiting, decreased appetite, excessive drooling and pawing at the face, due to irritation around the face and mouth. Also be on the lookout for difficulty swallowing. Large ingestion of Lily of the Palace may lead to convulsions. If you’re a lily enthusiast, check with your vet which varieties of lily are sage for your dog, as not all are toxic.

Oleander plant with pink flowers in a garden

Oleander

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants for dogs. Monitor your pets any time they are playing near oleander, including playing in water where oleander leaves may have fallen. If your pet ingests any part of the oleander plant including roots, stem, leaves or flowers, take them to the vet immediately, as contact with oleander can be fatal.

Look for serious symptoms including:

  • Drooling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drowsiness and dilated pupils
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Collapse
Peace Lily plant with white flowers on a light blue background

Peace lilies

Peace lilies have the defence mechanism of calcium oxalate crystals. These are very small but are released from damaged parts of the plant (like after someone has taken a bite). The most obvious symptoms are an inflamed mouth and throat, which presents as a very irritated mouth – so much so your dog may be pawing at it. Also keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive drooling.

Close up of leaves of a heart shaped philodendron plant

Philodendron

There are many plants in the Philodendron family that have become popular recently, including the Swiss cheese plant, heart leaf philodendron and fiddle-leaf philodendron, all of which can be mildly toxic to dogs. They contain calcium oxalate in the leaves so, if someone has been sampling the leaves, you might see symptoms similar to Peace lily ingestion like swelling and pain around your dog’s mouth and tongue, drooling, vomiting and having trouble swallowing.

Close up of the leaves of variegated rubber tree

Rubber trees

Rubber trees have thick, shiny leaves that are moderately toxic to dogs when their leaves or stems are cut (or chewed on!), which exposes their sap, containing caoutchouc. This can lead to irritation and swelling of the mouth and intestinal tract. For larger exposure, vomiting and drooling are also possible symptoms.

Snake plant with green and yellow leaves in grey pot against white wall

Snake plant

Kindly nicknamed ‘Mother-In-Law’s Tongue’, the long, slender green and yellow leaves, as well as the occasional flowers and berries are mildly toxic, should your companion choose to chomp on them. The toxicity is usually only mild, however, but keep an eye out for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, drooling, loss of appetite and swelling around the face and mouth.

Sago palm in a brown terracotta, with the plant shadow on a white wall

Sago palm

This is another plant to use serious caution with. Sago palms can cause serious or fatal sickness in dogs, so take extreme care if you have one in your home if your dog loves to chew. Take care when moving this plant around your home that no fronts or bark fall off, as all parts of the palm are extremely toxic to dogs. Signs of ingestion include blood in the vomit and diarrhoea and poisoning by sago palm can lead to liver failure and death.

Close up of leaves of Zanzibar Gem or ZZ plant

ZZ plant

The ZZ plant, Zanzibar Gem or ‘Never Water Me’ tree are popular low maintenance house plants. They only carry a mild ability to be poisonous to dogs, and symptoms of this include irritation of the mouth and lips and drooling more than usual due to the calcium oxalate crystals in the plant. Sometimes symptoms can progress to vomiting and diarrhoea, so monitor your pet closely if you notice leaves of your ZZ plant are missing.

 

What should you do if your dog has eaten a toxic plant?

If you believe your dog has made a meal out of one of your house plants and is showing potential signs of poisoning, get in touch with your vet straightaway. When visiting the vet, be sure to bring a photo of the plant for identification purposes and an estimate of how much your dog has eaten. Your vet will be able to advise the best options for treatment to get your pooch well again as soon as possible.