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5 Houseplants That are Dangerous to Canines

Updated on November 11, 2020
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Clovis is a Veterinary Assistant and Safety Certified Groomer.

Curiosity Kills the Cat, and Sometimes the Dog

There is certainly no doubt that our beloved canine counterparts are quite intelligent. As a matter of fact, they're about as smart as your average two-year-old! If you've ever met a toddler, you know that their little developing brains are soaking up every minute detail of the things they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Sensory stimulation is just as fascinating for your dog as it is for a small child. When they see a new object or something that's brightly colored, it's only natural that they'd want to touch it or put it in their mouths.

Yes, our canines behave just like the typical tot, which is why it's so important to be extra cautious with toxic household plants.


These bright red, soft, and attractive plants aren't just alluring to humans; dogs have a liking for them as well! You'll see this flamboyant flower more often around Christmas time and the holidays in general. While they may not necessarily kill your pet, they could make your dog or cat very ill. The trouble is that there is presently no cure for poinsettia poisoning, so it's essential that you keep any live flowers out of reach of your pets to err on the side of caution.

The Poinsettia goes by other names, such as "lobster flower" or "flame-leaf flower" because of the crimson petals. However, this plant also comes in a variety of other colors such as yellow, white, and a shade of light orange. Keep in mind, the color doesn't make much of a difference, anyway; your dog can still become ill from ingesting any kind of poinsettia.

Watch Out for These Symptoms:

  • Nausea and excessive drooling
  • Dermatological reactions, skin inflammation
  • Mild to extreme diarrhea

If possible, use faux poinsettia substitutes to keep your dog from consuming the sap that the real plant produces. For outdoor gardeners, set up a barrier between the plant and your dog; you'll thank yourself later. Use tall fixtures to keep your dog from attempting to pull your poinsettias down.


Aloe Vera and other succulents are quite popular as decorative household plants. They hardly need to be watered, and they generally don’t get very big unless you give them enough room to do so.

The downside is that they aren’t necessarily suitable in home with pets, this includes the feline variety.

Specific Succulents to Avoid and Associated Symptoms

  • Aloe Vera- While they can still consume the gel in small portions, the rough outer skin of the aloe vera plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea
  • Jade- The jade succulent induces more severe symptoms in dogs such as irregular heartbeat, pain in the abdomen, and on rare occasions muscle paralysis and seizures
  • Silver Dollar- Mild gastrointestinal issues are about all you have to worry about, but you should still try to keep it away from children and pets

There are some succulents such as Blue Echevarria that aren't toxic to pets, and they still look beautiful around the home!

Cactus Plants

Cactus plants should be kept away from dogs for obvious reasons. Even if they're a smaller version, you're in for a world of trouble should your pet decide to chomp down on one. Most of the time they aren't poisonous, but if there are enough pines stuck in tight places you could end up with a hefty vet bill!

There is one cactus that appears more like a flower, but it's definitely one to keep out of reach of your dog. It's called the Christmas Cactus, and it while it probably won't kill your pet, it will make them ill and uncomfortable. It's mainly the fiber material that you should be wary of such as the stems and branches.

Watch Out for These Symptoms

  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Lack of interest in food

When our dogs eat something they shouldn't, it takes a little while to get back to normal. So give it a day or two to clear up if the side effects aren't too severe.


While Oleander is exceptionally beautiful, it is also quite dangerous to a number of animals, not just canines. This plant is highly poisonous to cats, goats, horses, rabbits, dogs, and sheep. Unlike the other items on this list, the side effects of ingestion are much worse than just simple gastrointestinal problems. Oleander contains a chemical cardiac glycoside, which exists in every single part of this plant.

Symptoms of Oleander Poisoning

  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Salivating excessively and nausea
  • Abnormal blood sugar and heart rate
  • Dilated pupils

If your dog eats Oleander, it is in their best interest to get them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.


Last but not least, the Gardenia is not the worst thing that could ever happen to your dog. Depending on how much he or she eats, these white flowers are more likely to cause an upset tummy than anything else. It's unlikely that Gardenias will kill your dog, but guinea pigs and domesticated rodents can die if they consume too much. Aside from a minor case of vomiting and loose bowels, your pup should be back to normal within a day or two.

Cat owners should be extremely cautious when keeping Gardenia in the home! If your feline friend decides to chow down on any part of this plant, you'll have to induce vomiting.

Do you have any of these plants in your home?

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The List Goes On for Plants That are Toxic to Canines

This is just a small portion of the more common houseplants you'll find, but the SPCA has provided a fully detailed explanation of nearly all of them. If you own any of them, just try to keep the foliage as far away from your dog as possible. The only time you may have an issue is with cats or athletic canines that can jump on top of cupboards and cabinets.

Ultimately, you just want to be as cautious as possible with plants that are poisonous to dogs. Truthfully, it's best not to have them in the home.


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