Are Your Houseplants Toxic for Your Pet?

My cat Penelope loves to eat my houseplants, which means I must be very careful about what plants I have in my house. Many dangerous and toxic plants for animals are present that many people don’t realize are harmful to their pet or pets.

Common plants:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Chives
  • Catnip
  • Lilies
  • Dracaena’s
  • Daffodil

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a great plant to have around, and its health benefits are great for us, but it can be quite irritating to our pets (cats and dogs). If they bite or ingest parts of the plant, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. The gel itself can be edible.


Chives are a common household ingredient for cooking, but it can be dangerous for our pets (cats and dogs). If chives are ingested and left without veterinary care, it can lead to vomiting, Hemolytic anemia (Breakdown of red blood cells), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate and panting.


Catnip can be a fun pastime for cats when used in moderation and dried. However, if the plant itself is ingested in a large amount, it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. It can also make some cats mildly sedated.


Lilies are such a beautiful plant and can be nice in bouquets, but you should be very careful with having them in your home. There are a variety of lilies that you should be aware of: Asian Lily, Calla Lily, Pig Lily, White Arum, Trumpet Lily, Florist’s Calla, and Garden Calla.

Asian Lily affects cats primarily. If they ingest this flower, it can cause vomiting and lethargy. If left without any veterinary care, then the animal can go into kidney failure, which can eventually lead to a painful death.

The other types of lilies can affect dogs and cats. If ingested, they can cause oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling and vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.


Azaleas, also known as rosebay or rhododendrons, can affect both dogs and cats. If ingested, this beautiful plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness, and if left without veterinary care, it can lead to heart failure.


Poinsettias are a lovely plant to have, especially around Christmas time, but they can be toxic to your furry friends. If ingested, it can irritate the mouth and stomach and can cause vomiting

There are a few ways to keep your animals away from plants in your home:

  1. Hang your plants or place them somewhere high up where your pet can’t reach them.
  2. Try to avoid having dangerous plants in your home. Try and keep other plants in your home that aren’t toxic to your animal/animals.
  3. You can place orange peels around the bottom of the plants to keep cats away from them, as they don’t like citrus scents.
  4. You could make a loud noise if they approach the plant. This is one method to make them think the plant is scary, which will deter them from going near it.
  5. My favourite thing to use to distract my cat from eating my plants is cat grass. When she has cat grass, she doesn’t even notice my plants. You can buy already-grown cat grass from most pet stores and some grocery stores.

If your animal ingests a toxic plant:

  • Call your veterinary clinic immediately
  • If after-hours, go to the closest emergency hospital

Written By: Sarah Rogers, VT

References: |