6 Popular Houseplants to Avoid When You Live With Pets

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Calling all pet parents—while these houseplants can undoubtedly liven up your home, they can also be quite dangerous for your furry friends.

There's no doubt plants play a vital part in creating a cozy living space. However, it is important to choose your greenery carefully, especially if you have pets around. The next time you're itching to bring a new plant into your home, make sure it's not one of the following six.

1. Aloe

In addition to its medicinal properties, aloe vera is great for indoor air purification because it harvests carbon dioxide at night, actively improving your air quality while you sleep. However, it can also be toxic for household pets, causing vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, and tremors in both dogs and cats.

In addition to its medicinal properties, aloe vera is great for indoor air purification because it harvests carbon dioxide at night, actively improving your air quality while you sleep. However, it can also be toxic for household pets, causing vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, and tremors in both dogs and cats.

2. Pothos

Pothos is low maintenance and can suffer a fair amount of neglect, making it one of the most popular houseplants, and therefore easy to find. However, it does contain calcium oxalates which makes it toxic—if ingested—and should be kept out of reach from both pets and small children. Additional Names include Devil's Ivy, Taro Vine, and Ivy Arum.

Pothos is low maintenance and can suffer a fair amount of neglect, making it one of the most popular houseplants, and therefore easy to find. However, it does contain calcium oxalates which makes it toxic—if ingested—and should be kept out of reach from both pets and small children. Additional Names include Devil's Ivy, Taro Vine, and Ivy Arum.

3. Jade

Jade (shown on the right) is a beautiful and popular household plant. Yet, it  can cause vomiting, a decreased heart rate, and even depression if ingested by pets. If you purchase a jade plant for your home, be sure it is placed out of reach from any animal.

Jade (shown on the right) is a beautiful and popular household plant. Yet, it  can cause vomiting, a decreased heart rate, and even depression if ingested by pets. If you purchase a jade plant for your home, be sure it is placed out of reach from any animal.

Although the popular snake plant is only mildly toxic to pets, it does contain saponins—a natural chemical produced by the plant to protect it from insects, microbes, and fungi. This chemical can cause gastrointestinal upset in pets. Additional common names include golden bird's nest, mother-in-law’s tongue, and good luck plant.

Although the popular snake plant is only mildly toxic to pets, it does contain saponins—a natural chemical produced by the plant to protect it from insects, microbes, and fungi. This chemical can cause gastrointestinal upset in pets. Additional common names include golden bird's nest, mother-in-law’s tongue, and good luck plant.

There are many types of philodendrons, and all are extremely popular low-maintenance houseplants. Although easy to grow and beautiful, they are also toxic to pets, and symptoms of ingestion include oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

There are many types of philodendrons, and all are extremely popular low-maintenance houseplants. Although easy to grow and beautiful, they are also toxic to pets, and symptoms of ingestion include oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Related to the philodendron, the dieffenbachia contains the same oxalate crystals. However, unlike philodendrons, dieffenbachia ingestion usually produces only mild-to-moderate symptoms. If a leaf is chewed, it can cause a oral irritation, intense burning, and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting. Other names include charming dieffenbachia, giant dumb cane, tropic snow, dumbcane, exotica, spotted dumb cane, and exotica perfection. 

Related to the philodendron, the dieffenbachia contains the same oxalate crystals. However, unlike philodendrons, dieffenbachia ingestion usually produces only mild-to-moderate symptoms. If a leaf is chewed, it can cause a oral irritation, intense burning, and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting. Other names include charming dieffenbachia, giant dumb cane, tropic snow, dumbcane, exotica, spotted dumb cane, and exotica perfection. 

Remember: if you think  your pet may have been poisoned by a household plant, be sure to call your vet immediately.

For an even more extensive list of potentially toxic houseplants, visit the Human Society's website here. Additionally, it is important to remember that many plants have multiple names, so we encourage pet owners to take time to research before bringing new greenery into a home.