Shiba inu dog near indoor house plants toxic to dogs indoor house plants poisonous to dogs zz plant snake plant ficus

What Plants Are Toxic To Dogs? 19 Popular Indoor House Plants That Are Poisonous To Dogs

An estimated 33.1 million households (27%) in the United States, 66% of Americans had indoor plants and 7 in 10 millennials considered themselves a plant parent in 2019, according to data. That number has likely only gone up, as it was already following an upward trend and houseplant demand rose 18% during the height of the pandemic, according to the same data.

If you're both a dog mom or dad and a plant mom or dad, you're not alone. Plants have been shown to be air purifiers, mood lifters, productivity boosters and overall beneficial for mental health. But many are dangerous to our canine companions. Here are 19 popular houseplants that are toxic to dogs and safe alternatives to try instead.

1. Aloe vera

aloe vera plant houseplant indoor plants

Although the inner parts of Aloe vera plants are safe for dogs (the gel can be used topically on skin and fur, while the juice is safe for drinking), chewing on the plant can be dangerous. The plant contains toxins called saponins (a natural chemical produced by plants for protection from insects, microbes, and fungi) and anthraquinone glycosides that can cause gastrointestinal issues when ingested. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy.

Non-Toxic Alternative: Haworthia (or Zebra Plant)
  • Get a similar look to Aloe with Haworthia, a succulent that also has soft spines.

2. Asparagus Fern

Sprenger's asparagus Asparagus aethiopicus asparagus fern plant houseplant indoor plants

Though its name indicates otherwise, the Asparagus fern is actually a relative of lilies, which are known to be dangerous to dogs. This means it has similar toxicity as lilies. Ingestion of or repeated exposure to asparagus fern can cause diarrhea, vomiting and skin irritation.

Non-Toxic Alternative: Boston Fern
  • For a similar, spread out fluffy look, try a Boston fern.

3. Bird Of Paradise

Bird of paradise flower plant Strelitzia houseplant indoor plants

This tropical houseplant is named after the animal called Birds-of-paradise, thanks to a beautiful flower that resembles the bird's plumage. That flower, though, is the most toxic part of this plant. That being said, ingesting any part of a Bird Of Paradise can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and requires vet care.

Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Banana Palm
  • For a similarly tall plant with large leaves, try a Banana Palm.
Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Bromeliad
  • For a similarly colorful flower, though at a much smaller size, try a Bromeliad.

4. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen Aglaonema plant houseplant indoor plants

The Chinese evergreen may be easy to care for, but won't be easy on your dog. This plant is related to the Peace Lily and also contains calcium oxalate crystals. Ingesting it can cause swelling, mouth pain, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing.

Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Calathea Exotica
  • For a similar size and variegated look, try a Calathea plant.
Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Polka Dot Plant
  • For a similar size but a more colorful look, try a Polka Dot Plant.

5. Corn Plant

corn plant Dracaena fragrans plant houseplant indoor plants

Corn plants are part of the Dracaena family, which contain the toxic substance saponin. If ingested, this compound can cause intestinal irritation such as vomiting (sometimes bloody), diarrhea and loss of appetite. It also causes other symptoms such as excessive saliva or drooling, weakness, ataxia and depression.

Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Money Tree
  • For a similar size (corn plants can grow to eight feet tall) and a visible trunk, try a Money Tree.
Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Cast Iron Plant
  • For a similar look but smaller size (up to two feet), try a Cast Iron Plant.

6. Dracaena Marginata

Dracaena Marginata madagascar dragon tree plant houseplant indoor plants

Dracaena Marginata, also known as the Madagascar Dragon Tree, also contains saponins, unsurprisingly. As aforementioned, they can cause intestinal irritation when ingested (such as vomiting (sometimes bloody), diarrhea and loss of appetite). It also causes other symptoms such as drooling, weakness, ataxia and depression.

Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Windmill Palm or Majesty Palm 
  • For a similar size (dracaena marginatas can grow to six feet tall) and look, try a Chinese Fan Palm, Lady Palm or Bamboo.
Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Ponytail Palm 
  • For a tall and similar but droopier look, try a Ponytail Palm.

7. Dumb Cane

dumb cane Dieffenbachia plant houseplant indoor plants

Dieffenbachia, or Dumb Canes, are tall plants (they can grow up to five feet) that contain calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves. This can cause symptoms of poisoning when ingested. These include mouth and tongue irritation, pain and burning; swelling; drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing (in rare cases) and death (in rare and severe cases).

Non-Toxic Alternative: Calathea Makoyana
  • For a taller plant with a similar variegated look, try a Calathea plant (which grows up to two feet tall).

    8. Elephant Ear

    elephant ear plant Colocasia Alocasia Caladium houseplant indoor plants

    Elephant Ears - which come in the Colocasia, Alocasia and Caladium varieties - are a type of Philodendron, a toxic plant in the Araceae family. They have spectacular foliage, but that is what makes them toxic to dogs. Their leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves that can cause oral irritation among other issues. Symptoms include mouth, tongue and lip pain and swelling; drooling; vomiting; difficult swallowing and breathing; and death (in severe cases).

    Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Banana Palm
    • For a similar size (Elephant Ears can grow up to eight feet) and large foliage, try a Banana Palm.
    Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Polka Dot Plant
    • For a similarly colorful look of the Caladium variety (though in the much smaller size of 12-18 inches), try a Polka Dot Plant.

    9. Eucalyptus

    eucalyptus globulus plant houseplant indoor plants

    Most of the time, Eucalyptus is dried or preserved when being used in decor. But dried or alive, the plant (including Eucalyptus essential oils) can be toxic to dogs. Ingesting it can cause symptoms such as excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and depression.

    Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Peperomia (also known as Baby Rubber Plant and AmericanRubber Plant)
    • For a similar look, but smaller size(Eucalyptus plants can grow up to eight feet and beyond), try a Peperomia.
    Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Button Fern
    • For a similar look to the leaves, but a more dangling silhouette, try a Button Fern.

    10. Fiddle Leaf Fig

    fiddle leaf fig Philodendron bipennifolium plant houseplant indoor plants

    The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant, named for it's fiddle shaped leaves, is a beautiful tree that can grow to be six feet tall or more. It's popularity has skyrocketed over the last several years, but unfortunately it's toxic to dogs. The plant is a Philodendron, so it contains insoluble calcium oxalates. If ingested, it can cause mouth, tongue and lip burning, irritation and pain as well as excessive drooling, vomiting, gastrointestinal irritation and pain, and difficulty swallowing.

    Non-Toxic Alternative: Banana Palm
    • For a tall plant that has a similar look and large foliage, try a Banana Palm.

    11. Ivy

    ivy Hedera plant houseplant indoor plants

    Ivy is often seen climbing up trees or house and garden walls. Its cascading look is beautiful but can be dangerous to your canine companion. Many varieties of ivy leaves contain toxins, such as triterpenoid saponins and polyacetylene compounds. When ingested, these can cause abdominal pain and irritation, vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling.

    Non-Toxic Alternative: Swedish Ivy
    • For a similar cascading look, try Swedish Ivy (which is not actually an ivy).

    12. Jade Plant

    jade plant Crassula ovata houseplant indoor plants

    The Jade Plant is a hardy succulent that is often seen in small sizes but can grow quite a bit. Unfortunately, it is toxic to dogs, though the exact toxic compounds are unknown. When ingested, symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation and distress (like vomiting and abdominal pain), lethargy, weakness, depression, a slow heart rate or heartbeat irregularities (rare), uncoordinated or impaired muscle movements (rare) and convulsions (rare).

    Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Peperomia (also known as Baby Rubber Plant and American Rubber Plant)
    • For a similar look and larger size, try a Peperomia (which can grow up to 11 inches.
    Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Echeveria
    • For a smaller succulent, try an Echeveria (which can grow up to 11 inches.

    13. Monstera

    Monstera deliciosa philodendron Swiss cheese plant houseplant indoor plants

    Like the Elephant Ears, Monsteras are a type of Philodendron, which are toxic to dogs. This is because its leaves contain sharp calcium oxalate crystals. If ingested, they can cause mouth and tongue pain, irritation and swelling as well as vomiting, drooling, difficulty breathing. In severe and rare cases, they may even be fatal.

    Non-Toxic Alternative #1:Areca Palm
    • For a large, tropical look (Monsteras can grow up to 15 feet), try an Areca Palm.
    Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Staghorn Fern
    • For a similar split leaf look, though smaller (growing between two and three feet tall), try a Staghorn Fern.

    14. Peace Lily

    peace lily Spathiphyllum flower plant houseplant indoor plants

    Peace Lilies are characterized by deep green, glossy leaves and beautiful, white lily flowers. But they are quite toxic to dogs due to the calcium oxalate crystals they contain. Ingestion of and even contact with the plant can cause mouth pain and irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing and vomiting (if ingested).

      Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Cast Iron Plant
      • For a similar look in terms of foliage as well as size, try a Cast Iron Plant (Peace Lilies can grow between one and four feet tall, while Cast Irons grow two to three feet tall)
      Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Orchid
      • For a white flowering plant, try an Orchid.

      15. Pothos

      pothos Epipremnum aureum Araceae plant houseplant indoor plants

      The cascading Pothos plant is closely related to the Philodendron, meaning it too has toxic properties to dogs. Specifically, the leaves contain sharp calcium oxalate crystals. When ingested, these compounds can cause mouth and tongue pain, irritation and swelling as well as vomiting, drooling, difficulty breathing (though rare). In severe and rare cases, they may even be fatal.

      Non-Toxic Alternative #1:Raindrop Peperomia (also known as Baby Rubber Plant and American Rubber Plant)
      • For a similar look, with fewer cascades, try a Raindrop Peperomia.
      Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Hoya
      • For a similar leaf shape and cascading look, try a Hoya (these plants have waxy foliage, which will differ from the Pothos leaves).

      16. Rubber Tree Plant

      rubber tree plant Ficus elastica rubber fig rubber bush rubber tree rubber plant Indian rubber bush Indian rubber tree houseplant indoor plants

      The Rubber Tree or Ficus elastica (not to be confused with the Baby or American Rubber Plant) are large plants that can grow up to 10 feet tall. They have beautiful leaves that are green or maroon and sometimes have white, cream, yellow, or pink markings. Also called a Rubber Fig, these plants contain toxic compounds, particularly in their sap. These can cause irritation to dogs when ingested or with contact to the skin. Potential symptoms include skin irritation or dermatitis, mouth and tongue pain and irritation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression and decreased appetite.

      Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Calathe
      • For a similar silhouette, though smaller size (up to two feet), try a Calathea.
      Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Peperomia (also known as Baby Rubber Plant and American Rubber Plant)
      • For a similar waxy leaf, though smaller (up to 11 inches), try a Peperomia.
      Non-Toxic Alternative #3: Cast Iron Plant
      • For a similar silhouette, still smaller but slightly larger than the other options (up to three feet), try a Cast Iron Plant. 

      17. Sago Palm

      sago palm Cycas revoluta plant houseplant indoor plants

      The Sago Palm is an exotic, tropical palm. But every part of the plant is toxic to dogs (from the seeds and roots to the trunk and leaves). It's high toxicity lands this palm a spot on the Pet Poison Helpline’s Top Terrible Toxins list. It contains the toxic compound cycasin. Mild toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy while more serious toxicity can cause seizures, liver failure and death.

      Non-Toxic Alternative #1: Canary Island Date Palm
      • For a very similar look but larger size, try a Canary Island Date Palm (grows up to six feet tall).
      Non-Toxic Alternative #2: Majesty Palm
      • For a similar tropical aesthetic but slightly smaller size (though still smaller than the Sago Palm), try a Majesty Palm (grows up to five feet tall).

      18. Snake Plant

      snake plant Mother-in-Laws Tongue Sansevieria Good Luck Plant Golden Bird's Nest Dracaena trifasciata houseplant indoor plants

      The Snake Plant is also known as Mother-in-Laws Tongue, Good Luck Plant, Golden Bird's Nest and Sansevieria. This plant has an intriguing look with its pointy, vertical leaves (though some do flare out a little). But this plant is toxic to dogs, thanks to the saponins it contains. If ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tongue or throat numbing and swelling, excessive drooling and loss of appetite.

      Non-Toxic Alternative: Spider Plant
      • For a similar spiky look, though more flared or draping, try a Spider Plant.

      19. ZZ Plant

      zz plant Zamioculcas zamiifolia houseplant indoor plants

      The ZZ Plant's name comes from it's scientific name, Zamioculcas zamiifolia and is popular for its ability to survive most conditions. But all parts of this hardy plant are toxic to dogs if ingested. This is because it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause mouth pain, irritation and swelling as well as vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory issues.

      Non-Toxic Alternative: Peperomia (also known as Baby Rubber Plant and American Rubber Plant)
      • For a similar look and fleshy leaves, but smaller size (up to 11 inches), try a Peperomia


      For a bunch of pet-friendly options available for purchase, check out Rooted on Amazon!

      Back to blog

      Leave a comment

      Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.