We often talk about the benefits of house plants for indoor air quality. If you're a pet owner, you might not know that some of the most common plants can be harmful (and even fatal) to Fluffy or Fido. To avoid unexpected vet visits, I've compiled a list of some of the most common toxic plants for cats and dogs.
I was shocked reading this list because I have many of these plants either indoors or out and have not personally encountered any problems. But in the interest of safety, I wanted to share the information with you so you can take your own pet's habits into consideration and judge for yourself.
The following plants are toxic to both cats and dogs (unless otherwise noted) along with clinical signs of poisoning:
• Aloe Vera: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine color.
• Asian Lily: Vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, kidney failure, and death is possible. Cats are only species known to be affected (toxic to cats only).
• Asparagus Fern: allergic dermatitis with repeated dermal exposure. Berry ingestion could result in gastric upset (vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.)
• Begonia: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing. Tubers are the most toxic.
• Baby's Breath: Vomiting, diarrhea
• Calla Lily: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
• Corn Plant: Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils (cats).
• Cycads (Sago Palm, Fern Palm): Vomiting (may be bloody), dark stools, jaundice, increased thirst, bloody diarrhea, bruising, liver failure, death. 1-2 seeds can be fatal.
• Daffodil: Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias. Bulbs are the most poisonous part.
• Geranium: Vomiting, anorexia, depression, dermatitis.
• Jade Plant: Vomiting, depression, ataxia, slow heart rate (rare.)
• Pencil Cactus: Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing vomiting, but generally over-rated in toxicity.
• Ribbon Plant (Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Dracaena, Dragon Tree): Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils (cats).
• Tulip: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, hypersalivation. Highest concentration of toxin in bulb.
The above is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but plants I've encountered pretty often without knowing their toxicity. For a full listing of toxic plants for pets, please see ASPCA's searchable database.