12 Houseplants That Are Dangerous to Dogs (and Cats!)

By Daniela Lopez, January 2016, Updated September 2019

This inforgraphic is a good reminder that we should consider our dogs when picking plants for both inside and out. According the ASPCA, their poison control hotline receives around 150,000 calls annually from pet owners needing assistance with possible poison-related emergencies. This inforgraphic is based on a list of toxic plants from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's most common causes of emergency calls and Texas A&M ’s “Common Poisonous Plants and Plant Parts”. The infographic gives you a break down of the risks to your dog (and cat!) and warning signs to look out for.

How your favorite plants could harm your dog and cat.

The ASPCA poison control hotline receives approximately 150,000 calls per year from pet owners seeking help with accidental poisoning.

About a quarter of all pets poisoned by non-drug products are poisoned by plants.

9 out of 10 poisonings happen a while the pet is home. Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog's or cat's body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can range from vomiting to death. so, when buying plants for your home, opt for those that won't cause problems if your pet happens to nibble on them.

The list is broken into three categories of where you will find these plants: garden and wildflowers; trees and shrubs; indoor house plants.

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CASTOR BEAN
Ricinus Communis: Castor Oil Plant, Mole Bean Plant, African Wonder Tree, Castor Bean.

The beans contain Ricin–a highly toxic component that inhibits protein synthesis.

Clinical Signs: Oral Irritation, Burning Of Mouth/Throat, Fever, Difficulty Breathing, Increased Thirst, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Dehydration, No Appetite, Sweating, Loss Of Coordination, Kidney Failure, Coma, Death.

CALADIUM
Caladium Hortulanum (Araceae): Malanga, Elephant's Ear, Stoplight, Seagull, Mother-In-Law Plant, Pink Cloud, Texas Wonder, Angel-Wings, Exposition, Candidum, Fancy-Leaved Caladium.

These plants contain insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate. Chewing or biting into plant material releases the crystals that penetrate tissue resulting in injury.

Clinical Signs: Oral Irritation, Burning Of Mouth/Throat, Excessive Drooling, Vomiting, Difficulty Swallowing, Difficulty Breathing.

LILIES
Lilium Or Hemerocallis: Easter, Day, Lilium, Asiatic, Japanese, Stargazer, Tiger, Amaryllis, Rubrum, Red Lily, Western and Wood Lilies

Toxic to cats. Eating small amounts of any part of this plant can cause dangerous symptoms and lead to death from kidney failure.

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, No Appetite, Lethargy, Depression, Diarrhea, Dehydration, Kidney Failure, Death.

DUMBCANE
Dieffenbachia (Araceae): Charming, Giant Dumb Cane, Tropic Snow, Exotica, Spotted Dumb Cane, Exotica Perfection, Dieffenbachiam

Avoid contact of the plant sap with the skin or eyes. It will cause damage to the cornea. While poisonous, Dumbcane rarely kills humans or animals. In rare cases, these plants may cause swelling severe enough to block the airways of pets and even humans. The entire plant contains insoluble calcium oxates and proteolytic enzymes.

Clinical Signs: Oral Irritation, Burning Of Mouth/Throat, Excessive Drooling, Vomiting, Difficulty Swallowing, Difficulty Breathing

ROSARY PEA
Abrus Precatorius: Prayer Bean, Buddist Rosary, Indian Bead/Licorice, Love Or Lucky Bean, Seminole Bead, Weather Plant, Jequirity, Crab's Eye, John Crow, Akar Saga, Gidee Gidee, Or Jumbie Bead.

Because of the seed's outer hard coat, the vast majority of ingestions cause only mild symptoms. Deadly effects can happen if the seeds are crushed and then ingested.

Clinical Signs: Severe Vomiting, Diarrhea, Fever, Tremors, High Heart Rate, Shock, Death.

LARKSPUR
Delphinium Consolida

Larkspurs tend to become less toxic as they mature. The alkaloids in these plants cause neuromuscular blocking because they inhibit a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Clinical Signs: Constipation, Muscle Tremors, Colic, Excessive Drooling, Stiffness, Weakness, Respiratory Paralysis, Cardiac Failure, Death.

FOXGLOVE
Digitalis Purpurea

Foxglove is most toxic just before the seeds ripen. This plant is so poisonous that ingesting only .5 gram dried or 2 grams of fresh leaf is enough to kill a person.

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, Weakness, Diarrhea, Cardiac Arrhythmias, Cardiac Failure, Death.

AUTUMN CROCUS
Colchicum Autumnale: meadow saffron, naked ladies, naked boy, son-before-the father wildflower

Contains colchicine and colchiceine, the former being the more toxic and more harmful. The symptoms of colchicine poisoning resemble those of arsenic-- no antidote is known.

Clinical Signs: Oral Irritation, Bloody Vomiting, Excessive Drooling, Diarrhea, Bone Marrow Suppression, Multi-Organ Damage, Death.

SAGO PLAM
Cycas Revoluta: Coontie Palm, Cardboard Palm, Kind Sago, Japanese Sago Palm, Zamias

The "Sago Palm" is a cycad, not a true palm, and all parts of the plant are poisonous to pets, especially the seeds. The ASPCA estimates a fatality rate of 50% to 75% when ingestion of the Sago Palm is involved.

Clinical Signs: Vomiting, Lethargy, Black "Tarry" Feces, Jaundice, Increased Thirst, Bruising, Coagulopathy, Hemorrhagic Gastritis, Liver Failure, Death.

BLACK LOCUST
Robinia Pseudocacia (Fabaceae): False Acacia Tree

The entire Black Locust Tree is poisonous to pets but especially the bark and shoots. Can also harm humans.

Clinical Signs: Kidney Failure, Nausea, Weakness, Depression, Death

YEW
Taxus Baccata: Japanese Yew, English Yew, European Yew

A dog could consume a potentially lethal dose of Yew while simply playing with the Taxus species branches or sticks (2.3g of leaves or about 11.5mg of taxine alkaloids is lethal). All parts of the Yew plant are toxic with the exception of the Yew berries.

Clinical Signs: Sudden Death, Dyspnea, Seizures, Muscular Tremors, Difficulting Breathing, Cardiac Failure.

OLEANDER
Nerium Oleander: Rose-Bay

Controlled experiments have shown 10-20 leaves can be lethal for a 1,500lb cow. All parts of the Oleander contain a highly toxic cardiac glycoside much like digitoxin, but more often animals are poisoned by consuming the leaves.

Clinical Signs: Colic, Diarrhea, Sweating, Muscle Tremors, Recumbency, Difficulty Breathing, Cardiac Failure, Death.

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