Having pets imposes constraints to keep them safe. A well-known saying is that you live with your cat and not the other way around! The choice of houseplants is part of it: some of them are toxic for dogs and felines and can put them in serious danger, without us even knowing it. Here we present some of the most common ones.
1/ The ficus
This species of green shrubs is widely used indoors for its ease of maintenance and its resistance. It includes different subspecies such as ficus benjamina, ficus elastica and ficus lyrata, which are often grown in houses… And all of them are toxic for pets and especially for cats. Poisoning often occurs when the animal chews the leaves. Vomiting, diarrhea and hypersalivation then occur. For cats, this can cause edema and kidney problems.
2/ Lilies (tulips, hyacinth, lilies, daffodils…)
This family of plants, very numerous and very appreciated for their beauty, is unfortunately dangerous for our furry friends. As for the ficus, it is with the ingestion that these plants are dangerous, even if the majority of the species of liliaceous will cause only irritations. However, one must be wary of other species, such as lily of the valley, which can cause much more serious heart problems.
The cyclamen is used because it is one of the plants that bloom indoors in autumn and winter. Its sap is just irritating but its rhizome (its root) can be deadly for animals. It produces gastro symptoms and a destruction of red blood cells which can lead to their death.
4/ Some cacti and succulents
If some cacti are safe for animals, apart from their spines, some species can be more controversial, like the Christmas cactus which can cause allergic reactions in cats. Others are toxic, or the candelabra cactus whose sap, a kind of latex, causes burns in contact with sensitive parts of our animals (mouth or eyes). Among the succulents, it is the jade tree and the aloe that we must beware of.
5/ The azalea or the rhododendron
These plants are so pretty and are often kept indoors in pots, but they are very dangerous for all our pets, and even deadly in some cases. Any part of the plant is toxic even in small doses. It causes vomiting at low doses, convulsions if eaten in larger quantities, then paralysis and coma.
6/ Araceae (philodendron and dieffenbachia)
The Araceae family contains many plants whose consumption causes vomiting, irritation and hypersalivation in pets in the least severe cases, but the sap of these plants can also seriously irritate the stomach to the point of causing ulcers.
Our companions usually know which plants are safe to approach, thanks to their instinct. For their safety, it is best to be informed of the toxicity of certain plants and to teach them to stay away from them if they are in your home. If, despite your vigilance, your pet ingests one of these plants and you notice symptoms of poisoning, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible: for it to be the least serious, it is the speed of intervention that matters!