Both dogs and cats may chew house plants and possibly ingest them. While not every part of every plant is poisonous, and the degree of toxicity varies, there is no reason to expose your pets to hazardous plants that can make them sick or even kill them. Be informed about toxic plants and safe plants, so you can enjoy both healthy pets and plants in your home.
All members of the Liliaceae family are toxic. This includes potted lilies of all kinds. Seasonal Easter lilies, daylilies and the popular Stargazer lilies, which are used as cut flowers, are toxic only to cats. Other lilies, such as Calla lilies, are toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingested lilies can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, kidney failure and possibly death in pets.
Common Indoor Bulbs
Daffodils, narcissus, hyacinth and lily of the valley are some common Liliaceae bulbs that people force into bloom indoors in the springtime. They are toxic to dogs and cats, with the greatest concentration of poisons in the bulbs. These can present a special hazard to pets, since the bulbs of forced flowers are exposed and easy for pets to access. Mild symptoms of ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea and drooling. Pets who eat large amounts of bulbs may suffer convulsions, tremors, heart arrhythmias and low blood pressure.
Aloe is a lily, but most people do not identify it as one. It is also a succulent plant, tempting for both dogs and cats that like a rubbery chew. While aloe sap is known for its healing properties for humans, the toxic saponins it contains cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, tremors and a change in urine color in dogs and cats.
Asparagus ferns are also part of the lily family. They are toxic to both dogs and cats. The berries contain potent sapogenins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Contact with the plant may cause skin irritation in both dogs and cats.
Araceae Family (Dumb Cane)
The insoluble calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzymes in all members of the Araceae family are toxic to pets. Plants in this family include all types of dieffenbachia, pothos and philodendron. The toxins will cause both dogs and cats to have intense mouth irritation and/or numbness, including the gums, tongue and lips. Excessive drooling is the body's reaction as it tries to wash the toxin from the pet's mouth. The pet may have trouble swallowing, and vomiting may occur.
Another house plant member of the Araceae family is commonly called the Peace Lily, although it is not a lily. Symptoms of ingestion are the same as for any Araceae plant.
Members of the Agavaceae family, such as dracaena, are toxic to both dogs and cats. Chewing or ingesting these plants causes loss of appetite, drooling, lethargy and vomiting, sometimes with blood. Cats may have dilated pupils after eating this plant.