Is Chinese Evergreen Toxic to Dogs? Key Facts to Know

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Chinese evergreen, also known as Aglaonema, is a popular houseplant known for its attractive and variegated broad silver and green leaves. This evergreen perennial is often valued for its ability to thrive in low light conditions and for its relatively easy maintenance. However, pet owners, especially dog owners, must be cautious as this aesthetically pleasing plant tends to have toxic components that could pose a danger to pets.

Being toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, the Chinese evergreen contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. When a dog chews or bites into this plant, these crystals are released, resulting in potential tissue penetration and irritation in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Common clinical signs of Chinese evergreen poisoning in dogs include oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Chinese Evergreen Overview

Plant Description

Chinese Evergreen, scientifically known as Aglaonema modestum, is a popular indoor plant known for its lush, green leaves with attractive patterns. This plant belongs to the Araceae family and is native to Southeast Asia. Chinese Evergreen is sought after by plant enthusiasts for its low-maintenance nature and ability to thrive in low light conditions.

One of the key characteristics of Chinese Evergreen is its natural tolerance to various environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and light levels. This makes it an ideal plant for those new to indoor gardening or for people with busy lifestyles.

However, it is essential to note that Chinese Evergreen contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, making it toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

Common Species

There are several species of Chinese Evergreen plants found in different regions with varying leaf patterns, colorations, and sizes. Some of the most popular species include:

  • Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen’: Recognized by its striking silver-grey foliage, this species adds a touch of elegance to any space.
  • Aglaonema ‘Valentine’: Celebrated for its pink-tinged leaves, this species brings a splash of color to your indoor garden.
  • Aglaonema ‘Maria’: Featuring dark green leaves with light green markings, this species is known for its dense growth habit.
  • Aglaonema ‘Golden Bay’: identified by its yellow-green leaves with bright yellow highlights, this species is truly eye-catching.

With a diverse array of Chinese Evergreen species available, there is no shortage of stunning options for your indoor plant collection. However, always remember to consider the plant’s toxicity to pets before adding it to your home or giving it as a gift.

Toxicity to Dogs

Toxic Components

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) is a popular houseplant known for its attractive foliage. However, it poses a threat to dogs due to its toxic components. Chinese evergreen contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested.

These insoluble calcium oxalate crystals can cause tissue penetration and irritation in a dog’s mouth and oral cavity when chewed or swallowed. It’s crucial to keep this plant away from pets to prevent any adverse reactions.


When a dog ingests parts of a Chinese evergreen, it may exhibit various symptoms resulting from the irritation caused by the calcium oxalates. These symptoms can include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting (not applicable to horses)
  • Difficulty swallowing

These symptoms can be distressing for both the pet and its owner. It’s essential to seek immediate veterinary care if your dog displays any of these signs after coming into contact with a Chinese evergreen plant.


The severity of a dog’s reaction to the Chinese evergreen can vary depending on the amount ingested or the size of the dog. Some dogs may experience mild gastrointestinal upset, while others could face more severe consequences. In extreme cases, ingestion of highly toxic plants, such as the Chinese evergreen, can even be fatal.

To ensure your dog’s safety, it’s crucial to remove any toxic plants from their environment. In case of ingestion, prompt veterinary intervention is necessary to minimize the risk of serious complications.

Treatment and Prevention

First Aid Measures

If you suspect your dog has ingested or chewed on a Chinese evergreen, it’s important to act quickly. The first aid measure you can take at home is rinsing your dog’s mouth with cool, clean water. This helps to remove as many of the microscopic crystals possible that cause irritation. You can also offer your dog a bowl of water with ice, as this may help to ease the pain. However, it’s crucial to understand that these measures are not a substitute for veterinary care, so seeking help from a veterinarian should be your next step.

Veterinary Care

When it comes to Chinese evergreen poisoning, you cannot treat your dog at home. Once your dog has received initial first aid measures, it’s essential to visit the veterinarian as quickly as possible. The vet will assess the severity of your dog’s condition and formulate a treatment plan accordingly. This may include providing supportive care, administering medications to alleviate the symptoms, and monitoring your dog’s progress.

Preventing Exposure

In order to prevent your dog from being exposed to Chinese evergreen, there are some preventive steps you can take:

  • Keep the Chinese evergreen plant out of your dog’s reach, such as placing it in a room with a closed door or on a high shelf.
  • Ensure all household members and visitors are aware of the potential risks posed by the plant and that they should not offer the plant to your dog.
  • Regularly inspect your home and garden for any potential poisonous plants, and remove them if necessary.
  • Train your dog to avoid chewing on plants, both in your home and outside walks.
  • Consider opting for non-toxic plants when landscaping your garden or decorating your home if you have a curious dog.

By following these suggestions, you can create a safer environment for your dog and minimize the risk of Chinese evergreen toxicity. Remember, always keep a watchful eye on your dog and act quickly if you suspect they’ve been exposed to a toxic plant.

Non-Toxic Alternatives

While the Chinese evergreen is toxic to dogs, there are several non-toxic alternatives you can consider for your home or garden. These plants are safe for your pets and can still add beauty and style to your space.

One non-toxic alternative is the nasturtium. Known for its vibrant red, orange, and yellow flowers, this low-maintenance plant is not harmful if ingested by dogs. Additionally, it provides a boost of vitamin C, making it a healthy option for your pets.

Another safe option is the polka dot plant. This visually appealing plant features spotted leaves in various shades of pink, green, and white. It can add a touch of color to your home without posing a risk to your furry friends.

If you’re looking for an indoor plant, you might consider the spider plant. This popular house plant is known for its long, arching leaves and small white flowers. It’s easy to care for and safe for dogs, making it an ideal choice for pet owners.

Other non-toxic alternatives for your pets include:

  • Boston fern: This lush, green plant adds a touch of nature to your indoor spaces without being dangerous to dogs.
  • African violet: Blooming in a variety of colors, this compact plant is an attractive and safe addition to your home.
  • Maranta (prayer plant): With its striking foliage and unique, folding leaves, this plant is both eye-catching and dog-friendly.

Incorporating non-toxic plants into your home or garden protects your pets while still enhancing your living space. Choose from a wide variety of dog-safe options to create a beautiful and worry-free environment for you and your furry friends.


Chinese Evergreen, scientifically known as Aglaonema modestum, is a popular houseplant that is unfortunately toxic to dogs. The toxicity of the plant comes from its insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause a range of clinical signs in animals who chew or ingest it.

When a dog comes into contact with a Chinese Evergreen, they might experience symptoms like:

  • Oral irritation
  • Pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

These symptoms can become apparent within 3-4 hours after ingestion, and in some cases, consuming a large amount of the plant could cause more severe issues. As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to be vigilant and keep such plants out of the reach of your furry friends.

While Chinese Evergreen is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, it should be noted that many plants may only cause mild-to-moderate symptoms in pets. Nonetheless, it’s always best to be cautious and prevent potential harm by keeping toxic plants away from animals. In case of an emergency or if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

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