Poisonous Houseplants for Pets

Knowing is half the battle, especially when it comes to keeping your pets safe from toxic houseplants. Beautiful seasonal and year-round houseplants can cause your cat or dog to experience mild irritation, bloody diarrhea or even death. While there are more than 400 toxic houseplants that can sicken your cat or dog, start by learning about commonly found toxic plants to avoid in the home.


Amaryllis is toxic to both dogs and cats due to lycorine and other compounds. Pets display symptoms such as vomiting, tremors, depression, diarrhea, stomach pain and excessive salivation after eating amaryllis. A commonly grown winter houseplant that's easily grown from bulbs, amaryllis bears large trumpet-shaped flowers on thick green stalks.


While begonia tubers are the most toxic, the leaves and flowers can harm dogs and cats as well. Animals may vomit, drool, have difficulty swallowing or experience burning and irritation of the mouth after eating begonia. Insoluble oxalates make begonia toxic to pets, notes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


A houseplant known for its colorful leaves, coleus comes in hues of lime green, red, pink and purple and features bright spotted and striped leaves. This plant causes horses, dogs and cats to experience vomiting and diarrhea--which can be bloody--and to suffer from depression or anorexia after eating its leaves. The essential oils in coleus make it toxic to pets.


Cyclamen contains terpenoid saponins that make it toxic to both dogs and cats. Pets that ingest the leaves or flowers salivate, vomit or have diarrhea. Pets that eat the plant tubers may experience seizures or death. Cyclamen is often sold as a winter houseplant. It features variegated dark and light green leaves and pink, red or white flowers.

Keywords: poisonous plants, toxic plants, toxic plants pets

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.