A Field Guide to Poisonous Plants

A Field Guide to Poisonous Plants

Plants can offer a lot of benefits when placed indoors, including adding life to a room, cleaning the air, and regulating humidity. But, while they look great in your home, you may not know some popular house plant species pose a threat to your furry friends.

Many people are unaware that the plants they have in their homes are actually toxic to their pets and children. While there are plenty of plants that are totally pet-friendly, there are some common houseplants that you should avoid or keep out of reach from your pets.

Here are six house plants you should handle with care or simply avoid as a pet parent in order to keep your pup safe and healthy.


philodendron plants toxic to dogs

Known for their resilience and tolerance for low light, philodendrons are a very popular houseplant for hanging. Their green and leafy appearance looks elegant trailing from bookshelves, nightstands, and virtually any platform. The philodendron family is quite large, allowing for plant lovers to find the shape and size leaf they’re looking for.

Although their durability and vibrant green color make them a popular houseplant, their leaves contain a toxin called calcium oxalate, which can cause inflammation in the mouth and throat. Since they aren’t toxic enough to cause any major sickness or damage, we advise using them in your household with caution. Try to place them in higher spots where your pup can’t reach them, or in rooms they aren’t allowed in.

Japanese Yew

Japanese Yew plant toxic to dogs

Japanese Yew plants are beautiful evergreen plants that grow anywhere from 2 to 50 feet tall depending on their container. They grow bright red berries at their center, making them a perfectly festive plant for the holiday season.

But beware: every part of the Japanese Yew, including the berries, is extremely toxic to people and pets. The plant contains toxins called taxine A and B, which can be potentially fatal to dogs, cats, and people if ingested. Unlike the philodendron, you should avoid this plant at all costs if you have pets or children because of its deadly toxins.

Lily of the Valley

poisonous plant lily of the valley

As an odd member of the asparagus family, Lily of the Valley has medium green leaves that arch about 5 to 10 inches long with small white flowers in the middle of the plant. 

But don’t let the delicate appearance fool you一this floral plant is highly toxic to both people and animals when ingested. The entire plant contains cardiac glycosides which can have negative effects on the heart causing illness and occasionally death. Although it’s only toxic when ingested, we still recommend not to use it as a houseplant if possible, especially if your pup is a chewer.


poisonous tulips to dogs

Generally red, pink, yellow, or white, these brightly colored flowers usually become popular around springtime as table centerpieces or in outdoor gardens, but their fun colors can be deceiving. 

These flowers are highly toxic and can cause sickness when ingested by pets or people. Its toxic properties are most prominent in the bulb, where it holds Tulipalin A and B. While it has toxic properties, your pets will be okay with this plant in the home as long as you keep it out of reach. If you choose to grow it in a garden, make sure you place some kind of barrier surrounding it so your dog can’t get in.

Sago Palm

Sago Palm dangerous to dogs

The Sago Palm is a popular palm tree-looking houseplant known for its large and feathery foliage and low maintenance care. These slow-growing plants are native to China and Japan and are popular due to their tropical fronds and low maintenance care requirements.

While it looks like a fun and exotic addition to your living space, take extra caution around pets and children. This palm is extremely toxic with only a 50% survival rate. The entire plant contains cycasin, which causes severe liver failure in dogs when ingested. For this reason, we suggest you keep these out of your home and as far away from your pups as possible!


rhododendron poisonous

The rhododendron’s beautiful clusters of bright colored flowers are a telltale sign of spring with large green leaves that often stay green throughout the year. These shrubs look great outside of the home or in a small pot in the living area.

While we can’t deny their beauty, rhododendrons are highly toxic to dogs. Any part of the plant when ingested will require your dog to be taken to an emergency vet clinic. If untreated, the poisoning can be fatal. We suggest you keep these completely out of your dog’s way because even a dead leaf that falls from the bush can contain active toxins.

toxic plants to keep away from dogs

While these are some of the more popular toxic houseplants, there are hundreds of others that could cause damage to your furry friends. Make sure to double-check that everything you’re putting in your pet’s living space is healthy for you and them. This includes plants, candles, essential oils, and other home goods. 

While not all plants are toxic to dogs, some scents and pollen can more easily irritate their airways. If your dog suffers from allergies, keep an eye on them when introducing new plants or scented candles and essential oils into your home. To see which essential oils you should avoid, click here.

As fall approaches, your dog’s allergies are likely going to increase whether or not you have plants in the house. For this, we suggest giving them an allergy supplement like the PupGrade Itch & Allergy Chew. This tasty supplement contains nutrients to treat dry and itchy skin, digestive problems, and all-over inflammation. Click here to get yours!

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