Are Your Household Plants Endangering Your Pet?

5 May 2017
 Categories: , Blog

You'd never purposely put your pet in harm's way, but sometimes what you don't know can be dangerous. If you have a green thumb, you probably enjoy growing plants in containers or in your yard. But when you have pets, it's important to be aware that some common household plants can pose a real danger to your furry friends. Take a look at what you need to know about a few of the plants that can be perilous to your pet.


Aloe is a very useful plant for humans. Not only is it decorative and easy to grow, the gel-like substance inside of the aloe leaves can be used to soothe minor burns and sunburns, and to make homemade creams and lotions. However, the plant is less helpful to your pet.

Most species of aloe contain an agent called aloin. Aloin is yellow and bitter, and it can be toxic to both cats and dogs. Aloe poisoning can cause diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, shaking or trembling, and reddish urine. It can take several hours for symptoms to appear, so if you know that your pet has ingested aloe, it's important to take them to the vet, even if they aren't showing any symptoms yet. Bring what's left of the aloe plant with you as well – it will help your vet determine how much your pet might have ingested.

Elephant Ears

Elephant ears, also known as caladium, taro, or malanga, are often used in landscaping because of their ornamental value. They have large, arrowhead-shaped leaves that somewhat resemble the shape of an elephant's ear, hence the name. The plant's leaves may be all green, or they may be streaked with shades of red, pink, and white.

Elephant ear plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are an oral irritant. They can cause a severe burning sensation in the mouth and throat when swallowed. This can cause drooling, choking, swelling, and difficulty swallowing. Once swallowed, the plant can cause digestive issues at well, like nausea and vomiting. The plant can cause kidney and liver damage, and large doses or untreated exposure can be fatal.


Lilies are tall perennial flowers that grow from bulbs and produce large, prominent flowers. There are many varieties of lilies, including the Easter lily, the stargazer lily, the peace lily, and the calla lily. Some, like the Easter and stargazer lily are not known to be toxic to dogs, while others, like the peace lily, are toxic to dogs. All varieties of lily are toxic to cats.

Symptoms of lily poisoning usually include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Some varieties of lily, including the peace lily and calla lily, also cause oral irritation that can result in excessive drooling, swallowing difficulties, and vomiting. If left untreated, lily poisoning can lead to kidney failure and possibly death.

You don't have to choose between your pets and your plants, but you do need to know which plants should be kept far away from your pet. If you suspect your pet has ingested a dangerous plant, don't wait to take them to the animal hospital for emergency treatment.