Top 10 Most Dangerous Plants for Pets

Keep Your Pet Away From These Poisonous Plants

Did you know that some of the plants in your home could be harmful to your furry friend? Most people are completely unaware that common household plants may cause fatal injury or even death to their loving animals. Dogs do, however, have a keen sense of smell that is often perfect for detecting poisonous substances in plants. Although, if your busy lifestyle keeps your pooch cooped up all day in a small room or house, this may be a prime opportunity to snack on that tasty looking houseplant. If you plan on purchasing or adopting a furry friend, or perhaps you already have one, here are the ten most poisonous plants to animals.  


Although striking and colorful, the consumption of lilies may be particularly fatal to cats. The toxins in lilies can attack the liver of your sweet kitty and cause symptoms such as vomiting. If your cat ingests a lily, head straight to the vet for urine and blood testing. The good news is, however, lilies aren’t all that appealing to felines, and mainly only attract hyper-curious, indoor cats who may be stuck indoors for long periods of time. Lilies are not poisonous to dogs of any breed. Cats do feel the need to nibble on grass from time to time, so if you are going to leave your kitty unattended, provide your feline with some wheat grass to distract him/her from potted plants such as lilies.


This plant is an extremely common houseplant and is also very easy to grow. Despite bright green adding decoration to any room, philodendron contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can be toxic to animals. There are two types of philodendron plants: vining and non-vining. It is critical to keep vining philodendron away from the ground, where pets may be able to easily access it. Non-vining plants (stored in a pot), should be kept on higher surfaces as well, such as a windowsill or a shelf.  Philodendron has been proven to be more toxic to cats, although dogs can be affected as well. This plant causes spasms, seizures, pain, and swelling and should be treated by a vet immediately if ingested by any animal.  


Pothos Ivy is also referred to as “Devil’s Ivy” and is commonly used for air purification, as it is best at removing impurities from the air. Pothos is a typical houseplant, that is a perfect trigger for bored pets to toy with. If ingested in small quantities, pothos is not excessively harmful, but it can cause symptoms in cats and dogs such as drooling, choking, swelling of the mouth and tongue, difficulty breathing, and an upset stomach. If left untreated, symptoms may result in renal failure or quite possibly death.  


Also referred to as “English Ivy,” this plant appears to be a beautiful decoration for the outside of houses or perimeters of gardens, which creates a cascading effect when draped over surfaces. Indoor ivy can be hung from baskets, exhibiting a dreamy showpiece for any household room. In addition to decoration, ivy is effective at removing airborne fecal matter from the air, which makes it particularly relevant for households with pets. Ivy foliage has been proven to be more toxic than its berries; if ingested by cats or dogs, symptoms such as diarrhea, hyperactivity, gasping breaths, weakness, tremors, staggering, and vomiting may occur.   

Castor Oil Plant

 If you have never seen a castor oil plant, the sight alone is enough to steer away from any human, let alone animal from the vibrant, spiking-looking plant. Like its name suggests, this plant is nutrient-rich in castor oil, which was once used to treat skin lesions.  The seeds of the castor oil plant are extremely toxic/fatal to most pets. Commonly used in landscaping, found in many plants and gardens, this plant can be a source of trouble for outdoor pets looking for a little entertainment. If ingested by animals, the castor oil plant can cause abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite.  Severe and/or untreated cases may result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and even death.     


Native to the Western Himalayas, this colorful flower has a reputation among many as being extremely poisonous. The Oleander plant produces a sap which contains several toxic elements such as saponins, oleandrin, nerioside, and the most highly toxic chemical of all, cardiac glycoside.  Even a small amount ingested can be fatal to dogs, cats, and even horses. If your pet happens to ingest even part of this toxic plant, watch out of symptoms such as colic, diarrhea, sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbency, and signs of cardiac failure. Call your local vet immediately if signs of these symptoms occur to avoid death from cardiac failure.   

Aloe Vera

This succulent has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, dating all the way back to ancient Egypt. Aloe Vera is a plant generally known to relieve bad sunburns, heartburn, hydrate skin, and even lower blood sugar, but who knew it could be toxic for cats and dogs? If you keep an aloe vera plant around your household for its many benefits, make sure to keep it out of reach of your pets. Ingestion of aloe vera may induce vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, and a change in urine color.


Originally from South Africa, the Caladium plant contains large leaves, varying in colors of pink, red, white, and green. These plants are perfect for decoration within households, or outside landscaping, as their leaves have a particular long-lasting foliage. Also referred to as “elephant’s ears” or “angel’s wings,” all parts of the Caladium plant are considered toxic to animals. Look for symptoms of nausea, vomiting, staggering, head shaking, drooling, and difficulty breathing if your dog or cat happens to get ahold of this poisonous plant.

Morning Glory

Morning glories are beautiful vines with trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors, such as purple, blue, pink, yellow, and white. Although a beautiful spring flower perfect for spicing up your yard, morning glories contain the toxin indole alkaloids, which contain lysergic acid, which can be extremely harmful to dogs. The ingestion of morning glory seeds can go so far as to cause hallucinations in canines. When the toxin lysergic alkaloids react with your dog’s brain, it can cause similar effects to that of LSD! If you notice your pup exhibiting symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia (loss of control of body movements), or anorexia, call a vet immediately.   


It’s not a coincidence that this dark-leaved evergreen has been grown in cemeteries across Europe: consumption of its berries can be fatal. The bark and leaves of this very popular plant is the basis for the cancer-treatment drug, paclitaxel, but general ingestion of any part of the tree (excluding a part of the flesh of the berries) can be extremely dangerous to animals. If your pet consumes part of a yew plant, the central nervous system can be affected, causing trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. Consult a vet as soon as possible before these symptoms lead to cardiac failure or death.

By Haley Sauer|Wed, May 31, 2017