Article by Mark Mac Hattie

You come home after a long day and open your door to a scene reminiscent of a horror movie. It looks like the undead has risen in your home, soil is scattered everywhere, bits of plants all around the room, and a very guilty, yet proud pet sitting in the middle of the mess.
That’s right. Old Fido has destroyed another one of your houseplants and like any diligent parents, you pick them up off the floor, give them a hug, perhaps a little warm kiss and throw them in the bin. The plant, of course, you throw the plant in the bin and immediately google if this plant will affect your pet in any way. They’ve been naughty, but they don’t deserve to suffer like that.

Your face turns pale with horror as you read through the content and realise that half the plants in and around your home can easily take out one of your pets. What should you do? Get rid of them? I mean, they’re always there when you get home and you have become attached to them, but they can find a good home at the shelter, right?

Kidding! Your pets and plants can (and should!) stay put.

First of all, most pets never attack or willfully eat plants. It is not in their diet and they would potentially only destroy a plant if they are frustrated, have a mineral or vitamin deficiency or there is something in the pot, like a bug or something that they are after. Otherwise, the fatality rate of house plants killing off pets is fairly low.

Here is a list of 10 plants in your home that are toxic when consumed by our 4 legged friends:

1. Aloe vera

Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, tremors, and change in urine color.

2. Lilies (all varieties)

Severe vomiting, diarrhea, drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possible seizure.

3. Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

Oral irritation, vomiting, drooling.

4. Monstera deliciosa (Delicious Monster / Swiss Cheese Plant)

Oral irritation and burning in any part of the mouth, drooling and vomiting.

5. Asparagus fern

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

6. Moth Orchid

Diarrhea and vomiting.

7. Cornstalk Plant

Vomiting, depression, anorexia and hypersalivation.

8. Fiddle Leaf Fig

Dermatitis with skin contact and oral irritation, salivation and vomiting.

9. Snake Plant

Extremely toxic to pets. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

10. Peace Lily

Irritation, intense burning of the mouth and drooling.
Although these plants are toxic, I have witnessed a dog eat three of these on the list, 2 of them less than 24 hours apart, and they showed no symptoms and ended up being fine.

I would monitor my pet’s behavior and the first sign of symptoms, take them to the nearest vet and keep a sample of the plant to show the vet.

The ideal remedy would be to ensure that your plants are a safe distance from your fur baby’s reach, so look into installing some shelving or place your plants on high pedestals for an all-round happy home.

We hope the hints and tips in this blog will help you to understand the plants in your house to keep your fur babies safe.

“As is imitation to flattery, so is a landscape designer to nature. Being an avid user of the Mediterranean palette, whether it be plants, colours or textures, my mythical paintbrush is dipped in regions and I paint in themes.”



N.D. Landscape Design, B.Tech Landscape Design  Master's of Landscape Architecture

065 805 7346  | 021 300 3398

mark@contoursgroup.co.za | hello@contoursgroup.co.za


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