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Pet safety: 10 Toxic houseplants to be wary of this summer

Summer is well on its way, and many are feeling green fingered and ready to spruce their homes up for the good weather. But be warned, some of the most common houseplants can actually be toxic, not only to humans but to our pets too!

With global Google searches for ‘plants toxic to pets’ rising by a whopping 72% in the last month alone, London rubbish removal company, Clear It Waste, sought to discover which popular houseplants are the most harmful to us and our furry friends.

Highly toxic houseplants

Pathos (Devil’s Ivy) – 12,000 monthly searches

Pathos (Devil’s Ivy)
Pathos (Devil’s Ivy)

Pathos, or Devils Ivy as it’s more commonly referred to, is an extremely popular houseplant because of its attractive drape and ease of care. It’s a great houseplant for kitting your home out on a budget. Like the Peace Lily, it’s safe to touch, but toxic to both cats and dogs when consumed. Ingesting any part of Pathos can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting and in some severe cases, liver failure.

Peace Lily – 36,000 monthly searches

Peace Lily
Peace Lily

The Peace Lily not only has detoxifying qualities for the home, but it’s also beautiful to look at. Considered one of the most popular flowering houseplants with its dark leaves and low maintenance, it’s a charming spring/summer décor addition to your home. But be warned, it’s toxic to cats and dogs. If consumed, Peace Lily can cause irritation to the throat and mouth.

Caladium (Elephant’s Ear) – 2,100 monthly searches

Caladium (Elephant’s Ear)
Caladium (Elephant’s Ear)

Known for its bright aesthetic colours and velvety to the touch leaves, Elephant’s Ear is great for adding a touch of sass and vibrance to your home. But be cautious when around your cat, dog and children, as it can cause swelling, eye pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting if eaten.

Calla Lily – 18,000 monthly searches

Calla Lily
Calla Lily

Although this plant is typically cared for outdoors, it’s becoming increasingly fashionable to stylise indoor spaces with. However, like its family counterparts, this lily is harmful to humans, dogs and cats when ingested because of calcium oxalate crystals which can cause swelling and pain when swallowed.

Sago Palm – 2,300 monthly searches

Sago Palm
Sago Palm

These houseplants are super fun additions to the home because of their spiky and ancient look. But don’t be fooled, they’re highly toxic when ingested and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and in the worst cases, liver failure.​ Sago Palms are poisonous to humans, dogs and cats.

Moderately Toxic Houseplants

Philodendron – 14,000 monthly searches

Philodendron
Philodendron

This spectacular looking house plant originated from the South American rainforests and most certainly deserves its Greek name of ‘loving tree’ thanks to its heart-shaped leaves. But be wary that it’s potentially harmful. If ingested it can cause immediate pain and burning sensations, as well as swelling of the mouth, throat and tongue.

Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue) – 32,000 monthly searches

Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue)
Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue)

This plant is primarily known for its long sword-like leaves and for being a slow-growing plant, making it incredibly low maintenance. Whilst the Snake Plant may be among the top plants named by NASA to be useful for its air-purifying qualities. It is moderately harmful to humans and pets and if swallowed can cause nausea and vomiting.

Dieffenbachia – 4,900 monthly searches

Dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia

Dubbed as the Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily, it is one of the easiest indoor houseplants to care for, whilst being one of the most common. This tropical shrub has beautiful hues of cream, yellow and white making it the perfect plant to brighten your home. But be warned this popular plant contains oxalates which can cause swelling and drooling, if swallowed. As well as irritation, swelling, and redness if it comes into contact with skin or eyes. Dieffenbachia can be dangerous to your cats and dogs, as well as yourself.

Arrowhead – 1,300 monthly searches

Arrowhead
Arrowhead

Related to the Philodendron plant, the Arrowhead is relatively easy to care for. Bushy in its appearance and with heart-shaped leaves, this plant is mild in toxicity to humans and animals, but can cause skin irritation, an upset stomach and vomiting.

English Ivy – 5,700 monthly searches

English Ivy
English Ivy

English Ivy is probably one of the most well-known plants, probably for its pointed leaves and delicate tree-climbing abilities. It is also famous for causing weakness, vomiting, throat swelling, dermatitis, rash, and ataxia, to both humans and animals.


Article written by Natasha | natasha@journalistic.org

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