5 Most Dangerous Houseplants For Pets

Filling your home with natural plants has hugely grown in popularity in recent years. Many of us seek that feeling of bringing the outside in, wanting nature to be beside us as we live.

Creating a home full of houseplants has many benefits, including reducing stress levels and cleaning the air we breathe.

However, although some plants may look beautiful, smell divine and be non-toxic to humans, many are not so suitable for our pets. 

The symptoms of touching or ingesting toxic plants vary widely from vomiting and diarrhea to coordination problems, breathing difficulties, seizures, and even death.

So, before you buy, do some research and check that what you are buying is safe for your furry friends.

If you need a quick guide, here are the 5 most dangerous houseplants for pets that you might want to avoid.

1. Sago Palm

The Sago Palm is a magnificent addition to any room. Part of the Cycad family, Sago Palms are green, leafy, and very calming and are more than happy sitting in a pot in a bright room without too much moisture.

Sago Palms are also perfect for your home because they are mess-free, slow-growing, and will only reach heights of 2 ft when fully matured.

However, Sago Palms in their natural form are toxic to pets and humans. Every part of this plant is poisonous if eaten.

Unfortunately, despite its toxicity, the Sago Palm is rather tasty to your pet, and the most toxic part – the seeds – are the easiest for them to nibble.

The effects of ingesting Sago Palm can begin in less than 20 minutes. Initially, the plant will cause vomiting and diarrhea, but then they may experience neurological symptoms, such as wobbling, difficulties with coordination, and seizures.

After a day or so, the effects of liver damage may begin to show.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a great plant to have handy in your home. Inside its long, succulent leaves is liquid gold, a gel with incredible health benefits.

Most notably, Aloe Vera is used to treat skin complaints, such as sunburn and minor wounds; however, it also has antibacterial properties and antioxidants that protect your body’s cells.

Aloe Vera is well known for its sharp, fleshy leaves that sprout from the base of the very short stem. It is easy to keep, needing a light space void of direct sunlight.

It also doesn’t need much water to maintain its health; underwatering is, in a way, much better than overwatering for this succulent, although over time, it would grow yellow and limp.

Although adult humans can ingest Aloe Vera and reap its rewards, your children and pets cannot.

Your pet will experience diarrhea and vomiting in mild cases, but moderate and severe cases may result in tremors and can lead to death if not treated promptly. It will depend on how much of the plant they put in their mouths.

3. Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese Evergreen is an Asian shrub that, in its natural environment, would be found in the bright dappled light of the ground of the humid rainforest.

It is, however, more than happy in a pot inside your home, so long as it is away from direct sunlight.

The Chinese Evergreen produces flowers, although it is mainly grown and displayed for its large luscious green foliage with distinct silver patterning.

The Chinese Evergreen can cause issues for humans and animals.

Problems occur when the flesh of the leaf becomes damaged or broken, and the juice inside escapes onto your skin. The area will develop a painful rash; this will likely affect human skin more because a pet’s fur will provide protection.

Brushing past the leaves of this plant will not cause a problem so long as the plant is whole and healthy. 

If your pet chews or ingests the leaf of the Chinese Evergreen, they will experience swelling of their mouths and tongs, making it difficult to swallow. In rare cases, they may experience severe difficulty breathing.

4. Mistletoe

Bunches of mistletoe are most commonly associated with Christmastime, with many households hanging small arrangements for couples to have a cheeky kiss underneath.

Mistletoe has long been connected to this time of year, mainly because it is one of the few plants that can still produce berries in the deepest of winter – linking it to love and fertility. 

Mistletoe is a hemiparasitic evergreen, which means it grows only on other trees, is partially reliable on this tree to survive, and will tap into the tree roots and shoots.

It can’t grow on any tree but will happily stay on suitable species of the Rose family, along with apple and hawthorn.

Birds love mistletoe mainly because it is an excellent food source through the deepest and darkest months.

All parts of the mistletoe plant are poisonous for humans and animals, and the consequences of ingesting it are likely to be pretty similar for both, although children and pets are likely to come off a little worse.

Symptoms such as fever and hallucinations, vomiting and diarrhea, slowed heart rate, and drowsiness is common. 

5. Lily

Lily is one of the favorite choices for indoor houseplants. They’re colorful, beautiful, delicate, and extravagant.

They often have large and bright petals with a great deal of pollen, a treat for bees and other pollinators in the wild. 

Some varieties, such as the Peace Lily and the Oriental Lily, work well in pots on a bright shelf or sill. Others, such as the Asiatic Lily, which have long stems and bloom for longer, are the perfect cut flowers to give as gifts or fill vases.

Lilies can be incredibly toxic despite their beauty, and the severity depends on the variety.

For humans, Lilies aggravate allergies and cause skin irritations, including burning.  If eaten, the most likely symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, and sometimes insatiable thirst.

Some Lily varieties are particularly harmful to cats, including the True Lily and the Day Lily. Lily varieties such as Peace Lily and Calla Lily are the most toxic for dogs.