Which House Plants Pose the Greatest Threats to Your Dog or Cat?

Anyone who’s owned a dog or cat can attest to the fact that our pets also love plants–in fact, they’re often just as interested in them as we are. However, some plants pose a tangible danger to the health and wellbeing of pets. Before putting plants and pets into the same space it’s important to make sure that everything is safe. While most houseplants are pet safe, there are a few in particular which pose a real threat to pets. It is important to reference the ASPCA toxic plants list prior to adding a new plant into your house. If you think your pet may have ingested a toxic plant, please contact the ASPCA poison control hotline or call our pet urgent care center. It is very helpful to know the name of the plant, or at least have a picture of it.

Aloe Vera

Many people grow aloe vera for its medicinal benefits. Aloe provides a wide variety of benefits to one’s skin when applied topically. And this does hold true for dogs and cats as well. However, a pet tends to interact with plants by chewing. When a pet eats aloe leaves they’re ingesting poisonous anthraquinone glycosides. While this probably won’t prove fatal it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremmors and associated discomfort.


A dog may experience some discomfort if it eats lilies. However, cats face a far greater danger from this beautiful flowering plant which can be lethal. While some types of lilies may cause non life threatening gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, other types of lilies may cause acute kidney failure. Ingestion of any part of the plant, along with exposure to its pollen may put your cat at risk of kidney failure. If there is any concern with possible exposure or ingestion, it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately.

Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are a popular houseplant due to the fact that they produce a delicious fruit. However, the leaves of a tomato plant are also full of something quite distinct from a tomato’s juicy tastes. The tomato plant’s leaves and stems contain solanine. This substance is toxic to both dogs and cats. If pets eat a tomato plant’s greenery then they might suffer from nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and lethargy.


Scallions are a popular houseplant due to a combination of easy cultivation and a delicious end result. However, it’s important to note that scallions are part of the onion family. And onions are highly toxic to both cats and dogs. What’s even worse is that scallions tend to attract dogs and cats in the same way that grass might. Onion ingestion may cause damage to red blood cells, which may cause bloody urine, anemia, lethargy and loss of appetite. If you have any suspicion that your pet has eaten scallions then it’s imperative that you contact an urgent care clinic as soon as possible.


The beautiful flowers of a cyclamen can brighten up any home. However, it also poses a significant danger to pets. The plant’s roots are the most toxic element for pets. However, eating any of it can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and drooling. If a pet eats a larger volume of the plant, then it may even prove fatal.


There are many different types of ivy found in people’s homes. Various different types of ivy have different risks and chemical compositions. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution and assume all forms of ivy are a potential threat to your pets. Signs of ivy mild poisoning are nausea, hypersalivation and vomiting. However, if a pet eats a larger volume or nibbles on a particularly toxic strain clinical signs may be much more serious.

Creating A Safe Environment for Family Pets

In general, it’s best to err on the side of caution. One should try to create a living space that’s amenable to your own aesthetics while still safe for your cats and dogs. Part of this entails keeping these plants out of one’s home or even home garden. However, it’s usually a good idea to keep all houseplants out of a family pet’s reach.


More Posts

Angelika Demers, CVT

Clinical Supervisor

Angelika started her animal health career in 2014 when she attended the University of Maine Augusta, Bangor campus, for Veterinary Technology. She graduated in early 2018 and became a Certified Veterinary Technician later that year. Her internship, and first veterinary field job, was at the MSPCA Angell in Boston, where she discovered her interest in emergency medicine. Throughout the years, she has continued to advance her knowledge in the field of emergency medicine, but also in cultivating relationships with patients and clients alike to offer the best quality care. Outside of work she likes hanging out with her cat, Mew, spending time outdoors, watching game shows, and photography.