7 Toxic Household Plants to Avoid if You Have Pets

Many popular houseplants, especially those known for being easy to care for, are also extremely toxic to our small furry housemates, particularly if our pets love to snack on plants.

Here is a list of a few of the most popular houseplants for green-thumbed pet owners and the symptoms if they are eaten:

Tulips: A favorite around springtime and Mother’s Day, tulips are also a highly toxic plant, especially the bulb. While your pet wouldn’t normally chow down on a tulip bulb since it is below the surface, pets who like to dig may be tempted. Cats and dogs may also have toxic reactions to eating the stem, flower and leaves depending on how much they ingest and how big your pet is. Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and drooling are all symptoms of eating any part of this cheerful plant.

Lilies: Exactly how lilies are toxic to only cats and not dogs is still not well understood, so veterinarians warn that the entire plant is off limits to cat owners. Even the pollen of this sweet-smelling plant can cause symptoms of kidney damage in cats, so no lily in the home is considered safe. Dogs do not react to lilies, so if you are cat-free go ahead and stock up.

Aloe: Aloe vera has been showing up in many houses, both because it is a hardy houseplant and because it is featured in many homeopathic recipes. The problem is that aloe can be toxic due to a yellow, waxy layer of the aloe leaf which is easy to mistake for the edible (and beneficial) inner layer. This yellow substance is a natural stomach irritant, so it can cause vomiting and diarrhea and as well as death if enough is eaten and no treatment is given. If you come across a recipe that calls to give your cat or dog aloe (either applied to the skin or to eat) just skip over it and seek help from your vet.

English ivy: Another easy to care for plant, English ivy is loved for its hardy nature and gracefully trailing dark leaves. It is also toxic to both cats and dogs. The leaves and stems are the most commonly eaten part of this dangerous plant. As many home owners love to put this plant high up on shelves or ledges, your pet may not find them accessible to eat if they are out of reach. Use caution when keeping this pretty climber around your house. The symptoms of pets poisoned by this plant are vomiting, stomach pain, drooling and diarrhea.

Philodendron: This easy to care for house favorite has heart shaped leaves and a unique mechanism to make sure animals do not eat them. The leaves have calcium-based crystals which are released from the plant when they are chewed and can penetrate the soft tissue of the mouth and intestinal tract. Not quite as lethal as other plants on this list, philodendron can still cause vomiting, drooling, pain in the mouth as well as lack of appetite.

Jade: While this peaceful succulent is known for how easy it is to grow from cuttings, the leaves are also extremely toxic when eaten by either cats or dogs. As this plant is mostly leaves, choose to keep this Feng shui helper high on a shelf that your other pets cannot reach. Ingestion of this plant can cause vomiting, depression and lack of coordination.

Pothos: Also known as Devil’s Ivy, this is another plant known for trailing leaves and a hardy disposition. Unfortunately, it is also toxic to cats and dogs, especially if they are older and already in ill health. Pothos makes an excellent hanging plant, so it is possible to enjoy this greenery when high up and out of reach of your furry friends. Pothos causes pain and swelling of the mouth, drooling, vomiting and problems swallowing if ingested.

While this list is just a very small sampling of all the plants to look out for, the ASPCA has a wonderful resource where they provide a comprehensive list of both toxic and non-toxic plants for house pets. Always visit your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your pet may have eaten a toxic substance.

Do you have a favorite plant that is both non-toxic and easy to care for? Let us know about it in the comments!


Written by Lauren Pescarus

Sign up now for our Pet First-Aid & CPR Class!

Top Dog Pet Sitter will be hosting our first local Pet First-Aid & CPR class! This is a perfect time for all pet parents to learn new skills or brush up on old ones.  This in-person 4-hour Pet First-Aid & CPR lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice course will meet on Sat 2/10/18  10am-2pm at the Storage Xxtra Conference room in Villa Rica. 

Practice will be done on stuffed animals and canine & feline CPR mannekins.  As much as we love ’em, please leave your pets at home! 

Cost is only $55 for the course! Certificate of Class Completion will be awarded including two pocket size guides. Light refreshments will be provided. Space is limited so register today!  

Register at http://www.petsafetycrusader.com/shop/classes/pet-first-aid-cpcr-class-villa-rica-ga/

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is fun for humans, but it can be terrifying for our four-legged friends! 
Halloween Pet Safety




Keep Your Pet Inside

Taking Fido along to trick or treat may not be the best idea. Dark streets, houses with strange dogs inside, and kids in costumes may cause too much stress and anxiety for your dog. Leaving him ar home where he is safe and comfortable may be the best decision. 

Leave the Candy to the Humans

Halloween candy is not good for your pet. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and xylitol can be deadly. Be sure to keep all Halloween candy of reach of your pets. 

Proper Identification

When trick or treaters are at the door, you may be too distracted to notice Fido or Fluffy slip outside. Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags or have a microchip in the off chance they get outside. If you are able, keep your pet in a crate or closed room to eliminate the chance that they run out the door while you hand out candy. 

Keep Decorations Out of Reach

Halloween decorations can cause severe illness and death if ingested by your pet. If you have a dog that likes to chew on various items be sure to keep decorations out of their reach. If you have a curious cat that may knock over candles inside your jack o lantern, switch to a battery operated candle to prevent a fire or injury to your pet. 

Stranger Danger

If your pet is not too fond of strangers or tends to lunge at people, it doesn’t know be sure to give your pet a safe place to hide away from the area in which you will be handing out candy. It is better to be safe than sorry. 

Pet Costumes

If you plan on having your pet wear a costume for Halloween be sure your pet is comfortable while in costume. Never leave them unattended while wearing the costume and be sure there are no loose or easily accessible pieces that the pet could chew and ingest. Be sure your pet can breathe, hear, and see properly in the costume as well. 

Having your pet be apart of Halloween can be fun, just be sure to use proper judgment and most importantly be sure your pet is comfortable participating!  Follow these Halloween Pet Safety Tips to ensure the entire family has a safe and fun holiday. 


Written by Julie Gajewski, CPPS. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats. You can find out more about Julie by visiting her website.