When you decorate your house you may place some plants around. Not only do they look pretty but they bring some life into the indoors. In fact, house plants actually help clean your indoor air and purify the home. Unfortunately, there are many toxic house plants for dogs out there. These indoor plants have various harmful substances inside that could cause your dog to get sick.

     Dogs tend to eat house plants for a variety of reasons and, while the bitter taste helps your dog detect harmful substances, it won’t always stop them. To protect your dog (and your wallet from the vet bill) we have pointed out any harmful houseplants, some safe plants for dogs you can use to replace them, and some products to keep your dog away from the dangerous plants.

Table of Contents

Toxic House Plants for Dogs

Severity: Very High

1. Flame Lily:

     Flame Lilies are unique because of their bright red and yellow colored flowers. However, that is not where their name comes from. The plant is named after flames because it is known to bloom after a fire.

     Originally it was located in many parts of South America and South Africa. Although, now because of its beautiful appearance and medicinal uses you can find it in households as well. It may be beautiful but the colchicine it contains is not. This element makes the whole plant poisonous to your dog. When a Flame Lily is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Salivation
  • Vomiting with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver damage
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Paralysis
  • Death
2. Sago Palm:

     Sago Palm plants are a landscaper’s favorite because they are easy to grow. In turn, this also means that it is a popular indoor plant. A lot of pet owners are unaware that it is a toxic plant for dogs until it’s too late. All of the parts of the plant are dangerous to dogs but the seeds contain the highest amount.

     Aggressive treatment is necessary for dogs who ingested any part of a Sago Palm plant. It is especially harmful to a dog’s liver function. Cases of dogs being poisoned are especially higher in the spring and summer when dogs are outdoors. When a Sago Palm plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Increased thirst
  • Bruising
  • Liver damage
  • Liver failure
  • Clotting disorder
  • Death

Severity: High

1. Brunfelsia:

     Brunfelsia plants have many names including Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, and Lady of the Night. No matter the name each plant has oval-shaped leaves and large flowers with five petals. It may look pretty on the outside but on the inside, there are stimulant toxins called brunfelsamidine and hopeanine. Both of these are actually depressants.

     When a Brunfelsia plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Irritation of the mouth and stomach
  • Muscle cramps
  • Coma
  • Paralysis of the nervous system
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
2. Caladium:

     Caladium plants originate from South American but have become popular in houses and in outside landscaping. This is because of their attractive appearance that many people enjoy. On the plant, there are large leaves that are either pink, red, or/and white. Not only that but they also sometimes produce blooms similar to the calla lily.

     Unfortunately, this Caladium plant is beautiful but harmful. This is because every part of the plant has been found toxic to animals and humans. When a Caladium plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Painful burning and swelling of the mouth and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Possible blocked airways that can lead to death
  • Nausea
  • Head shaking
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering

Severity: Moderate

1. Aloe Vera:

     Aloe Vera is the most widely sold succulent in the world which means you may find it in various homes and gardens. However, it actually originated from the Araba Peninsula and in different tropical climates around the world. This plant is often called “a plant with a purpose” and is used for many medical needs. Most commonly people know of this plant because of its ability to treat sunburn.

     Although, what many people do not know is that there are about 500 different varieties of Aloe Vera. It is a short-stemmed plant with long green leaves making it quite pleasing to the eye. In turn, this is why it is also so popular for decorative purposes. When an Aloe Vera plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Change in urine color
2. Alocasia:

     Alocasia is a plant that belongs to the Araceae plant family which consists of 79 total species. These are mostly known as house plants but originate in Asia and Eastern Himalayas. They are not found all over but instead in their tropical and subtropical regions.

      Inside of the leaves, stems, and roots on every Alocasia plant, there is calcium oxalate. If these parts of the plant are chewed or bitten it will release crystals that will penetrate tissue and irritate the mouth. When an Alocasia plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Mucous membrane irritation
  • Intense burning of mouth, lips, and tongue
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
3. Arrowhead:

     Arrowhead plants are actually related to the philodendron which is another toxic plant on this list. You will most commonly find this plant in dish gardens but it really comes from the tropical areas of Central and South America. This plant is popular to use as house decor or given as a gift because it is easy to care for.

     When Arrowhead plants are younger they are bushy with heart-shaped leaves. This is quite different from when they are older and have climbing stems with arrow-shaped leaves. With all of these leaves, they often fall off and regrow. In turn, this means that even if you put this plant out of reach the plants can still fall and harm your pet if eaten. When an Arrowhead plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Irritated skin
  • Upset stomach
  • Chills
  • Change in urine color
4. Dracaena:

     Dracaena plants consist of 40 different species of woody and shrubby plants. They originate from subtropical and tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Canary Islands. However, today they are most commonly grown as houseplants. This is because it grows best in warmer temperatures and does not need direct sunlight.

     Since the Dracaena plant has such a vibrant green color it really stands out in a room. Places like classrooms, offices, and malls have also been known to use these plants to decorate their spaces. Another reason why it stands out is that every single part of it is harmful to pets. When Dracaena plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Vomiting- sometimes with blood
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Drooling
5. Eucalyptus:

     Eucalyptus plants are specifically known for their oil. In fact, this is why you may find the plant in many households. The oil has many health benefits for humans including antiseptic properties and flavoring.

     Although, when it comes to dogs the eucalyptus oil does the complete opposite. Instead of health benefits, it can trigger lethargy and depression. Even just the smell of the oil can cause a bad mood of your dog. In turn, this means that you have to be careful, especially since every part of the plant is harmful to them. When a Eucalyptus plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
6. Philodendron:

     Philodendron plants have large green leaves that come in a variety of different shapes. This plant and its leaves are a common household plant because it is easy to maintain. However, what many people do not realize is that it is a toxic plant for dogs. These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause problems after being ingested. Not only are the crystals toxic but the entire plant is dangerous for pets as well.

     When a Philodendron plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

Severity: Low

1. Gardenia:

     Gardenia plants are more commonly known as the cape jasmine. Although, what many do not know is that there are more than 140 species of this plant. Some of these are grown indoors as houseplants while others are grown outside either wild or in gardens. No matter where they are located you will definitely notice one thing. The flowers on this plant are one of the most fragrant flowers in the world.

     Something on this Gardenia plant that is less noticeable is the harmful berries. This part of the plant is the most dangerous because they have the most toxins. There are many side effects of the plant that vary depending on what part of the plant your dog ate. When a Gardenia plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Mild vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite loss
  • Sweating
2. Jade:

     Jade plants are succulents that come in various colors, styles, and sizes. They could either be white, pink, orange, or light purple. Not to mention they can also grow up to 6 feet tall. No matter their appearance they will all have tiny star-shaped flowers that bloom in the springtime. Since it does not need a lot of care it is popular as a houseplant.

     This could be a big problem because dogs seem to find the Jade plant’s leaves tasty. When they chew on these leaves they can be ingesting harmful toxic substances. When a Jade plant is ingested by your dog these symptoms can occur:

  • Nausea
  • Hiding
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Aggression

Safety Tips

     Many house plants have beneficial roles in our home environment. They can add décor, purify the air, or provide medicinal properties. However, even the most common house plants can be toxic to your pets. Harm can occur from:

  • eating or touching the leaves
  • ingesting parts of the plant such as berries, blossoms, or the roots
  • skin contact with sap or juice
  • eating the soil
  • drinking water from the plant tray.

     Just because certain plants are potentially dangerous does not  mean that you cannot have them in your home. As long as you take the right precautions and follow the basic safety measures you can enjoy the plants peacefully. Some ways you can protect your pet from toxic plants include:

  • Keep the plants out of reach or in rooms where pets are not allowed
  • Maintain plants regularly and make sure leaves or dirt are cleaned up
  • Label plant pots with the name or whether they are toxic
  • Wear gloves or wash hands right after handling the plants
  • Do not throw away any plant clippings where it is easily accessible
  • Keep fresh water for pets so they do not drink out of the plant tray
  • Hang toxic plants outside where pets can not reach

3 Products to Use to Help Protect Your Pet

Plant Hangers

     One way to definitely make sure your dog can not ingest toxins is to put the whole plant out of their reach. You could do this by putting it in a room where they are not allowed. However, that may hide your plants and make them want to try and break in even more. Another option you could use is a plant hanger. With a hanger, you will be able to show off your plants while still keeping your dog safe.

     The only thing you have to keep in mind while looking into hangers is the plant. If the plant you are trying to hang sheds or has long stems then it is not an ideal solution. Your dog will still be able to pick up things off the ground or bite off the long stems. This item works best for plants that stay intact and do not reach down.

     Since many houseplants are used as decor you may be interested in a hanger that also adds some style. With a macrame hanger, you can choose the color, design, and accessories to fit your ideal look. No longer will your plant be an afterthought. Instead, it will be a statement piece that guest will love.

Here is a macrame plant hanger from Mkono that we recommend. It comes is three different color varieties with each one having a boho vibe. Plus, it will cost you less than $10.

    However, if you are not interested in all the braids and the beads then we have something for you too. This second plant hanger by Mkono will please any minimalist lifestyle. It’s clean, simple, and provides great function to keep your dog safe. However, just keep in mind that the ceramic pot is already attached. 

Plant Covers

     If your plant is too heavy to hang or you do not like how it looks then a plant cover may be right for you. Having something cover your plant will allow you to block your pet from getting to it. In turn, this means that you will still be able to keep it on the ground or table you prefer.

     There are 2 things you will have to keep in mind while looking at plant covers. First, you need to make sure that the plant does not have long stems or leaves. If they do then the toxic element might poke out of the barrier and into your dogs reach. Another thing is the sturdiness of the cover. If your dog can easily knock it over then it is not useful. We recommend using something sturdy to stick into the soil or onto the pot that will help hold the cover down.

     When it comes to plant covers you may be worried about its appearance. However, with unique shapes, materials, and colors that is no longer an issue. Instead of looking like a cover it will now look like a fashionable decor item.

     Here is a plant cover from Gardener’s Supply Company that we recommend. It’s appearance is both stylish and functional. It will work for both the indoors and outdoors. However, if you have a dog who tends to destroy things, it may not do much to get it their way. Instead, use it as a barrier for more gentle dogs.

Spray Deterrent

     Are you not a fan of moving or covering your plant? Then you may want to try a spray deterrent. With a spray, you can use specific items like lemons to make your plants taste bitter. In the end, this will deter your pet from wanting to chew or eat it again. Using this spray will allow you to free your plants and also your mind from worry.

     Although, before you purchase a spray deterrent there is one thing you need to check. Will its ingredients harm your plants or pets? With unnatural or toxic chemicals using the spray could make your pet sick. Not to mention it could also kill your plants. Make sure that the one you are going to use has a natural and safe ingredient list and seal of approval.

Here is a natural spray deterrent from Bodi Dog that we recommend. It works like an anti-chewing spray and comes in three sizes: 4oz, 8oz, and 17oz. Not only is it USA-made, but the ingredients are all-natural.

For Plants in a Garden

When the toxic plants are outside they are in a completely different setting and in contact with different elements. Ultimately, this means that products and tips, like hanging a plant or covering it, may not work in an outdoor area. To learn about products and tips specifically geared for outside gardens, check out this article

House Plants that are Safe for Dogs

     If you are looking to spice up your home or garden but do not want any toxic plants, we have got you covered. After taking the time to research we have found plants that will add décor to your home without harming your pet. Here are a few safe plants that we recommend:

  1. Purple Basil – This plant is gorgeous and will provide you with an essential spice. Your dog can also enjoy this plant without any harm.
  2. African Daisy – These flowers are available in a wide range of color and will provide your home with a pop of color all summer long. They smell great and they are 100% safe for pets.
  3. Rosemary – This plant provides homes with décor and culinary uses. It is pet safe and looks great indoors or outdoors and also smells great!
  4. Polka Dot Plant – These make a great house plant because they can survive in shade and warm temperatures. They have a bright pink color that looks beautiful with a polka dotted texture. If your pet decides to go in for a tasty treat, it is completely harmless.
  5. Canna Lily – A tropical and beautiful plant that will add a fun look to your home or garden. They have red blooms but make sure to put them somewhere the sun hits for a healthy look.