Is Philodendron Toxic to Dogs? Essential Facts for Pet Owners

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Philodendrons, popular and attractive houseplants, are often admired for their lush foliage and resilience. However, it’s important for pet owners, especially dog owners, to be aware of the potential risks these plants pose to their beloved furry companions. Knowing the level of toxicity and what to watch out for can be critical in ensuring the safety and well-being of our pets.

The philodendron plant contains a toxic substance known as calcium oxalate. When ingested by dogs, calcium oxalate can cause a variety of unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms. These may include oral pain and irritation, swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. While it’s reassuring to know that philodendron toxicity is generally mild, it can still cause significant discomfort and distress for your pet, depending on the dog’s health status and the amount ingested.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the plants in your home and their effects on your dog’s health. Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of philodendron poisoning can allow for timely intervention and treatment, ultimately preventing any lasting harm to your furry friend. By taking the necessary precautions, you can create a safe and happy living environment for both you and your pet.

Is Philodendron Toxic to Dogs?

Yes, philodendron plants are toxic to dogs. The primary toxic component in philodendrons is insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are present in all parts of these plants. When dogs chew on or ingest any part of a philodendron, they can be exposed to these crystals, causing various health issues.

Symptoms of philodendron poisoning in dogs include:

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

The severity of the symptoms depends on the dog’s health status and the amount of plant material consumed. It’s essential to monitor your pet closely and quickly take action if you suspect philodendron poisoning.

If your dog has been exposed to a philodendron plant, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary assistance. The vet will assess the situation and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include medication to alleviate the symptoms, inducing vomiting, or administering IV fluids.

To prevent philodendron poisoning in dogs, it’s crucial to keep these plants out of reach. Ensure the plants are inaccessible, whether by placing them in a separate room, using a pet gate, or hanging them at a high and secure location.

Popular philodendron varieties, such as heartleaf philodendron, philodendron ‘Brasil’, and philodendron ‘Micans’, are all toxic to both dogs and cats. In landscapes where philodendrons are commonly found, be cautious and supervise your dog during outdoor activities to avoid any potential ingestion of these toxic plants.

Symptoms of Philodendron Poisoning in Dogs

Philodendron plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause a range of symptoms when ingested by dogs. In this section, we will explore some of the most common symptoms of philodendron poisoning in dogs.

Oral Irritation

When a dog chews or ingests a philodendron plant, the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals can cause significant oral pain and irritation. The dog may experience swelling of the lips, tongue, and other parts of the mouth, possibly even blisters in severe cases source. This irritation can lead to the dog pawing at their mouth and demonstrating obvious signs of discomfort.


In many cases, dogs that have ingested philodendron may experience vomiting. This is a common symptom of the plant’s toxicity and a clear sign that the dog has consumed a poisonous substance. Vomiting may occur due to the irritation of the mouth and throat, as well as the gut’s reaction to the toxic plant source.

Difficulty Swallowing

As a result of the oral irritation caused by the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in the philodendron, the dog may have difficulty swallowing. The swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips can lead to an obstruction in the throat, causing the animal significant discomfort when attempting to swallow source.

Excessive Drooling

One of the most noticeable symptoms of philodendron poisoning in dogs is excessive drooling. This is a result of the irritation and pain in the mouth, as well as the body’s natural reaction to the toxic substance. It may also be a sign that the dog is in distress and attempting to flush out the toxins from its mouth source.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Veterinary Diagnosis

When suspecting that a dog has ingested a philodendron, it’s essential to bring them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The clinical symptoms of philodendron poisoning in pets typically include:

  • Oral pain and irritation
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and other parts of the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing

These signs are caused by the calcium oxalate crystals found in philodendrons, which can irritate a dog’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract. A veterinarian will likely make the diagnosis based on the observed symptoms, a history of exposure to the plant, and possibly a physical examination of the pet’s mouth.

Treatment Methods

For philodendron poisoning in dogs, the primary goal is to provide supportive care and alleviate the pet’s discomfort. The following treatment methods are commonly used:

  • Rinsing the mouth: The veterinarian may rinse the dog’s mouth with water or a mild saltwater solution to remove any plant material and reduce irritation.
  • Administering pain medication: The dog may be prescribed a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate oral pain and swelling.
  • Monitoring: The vet will likely monitor the dog’s condition, ensuring they don’t experience any worsening symptoms such as vomiting or difficulty breathing.
  • Hydration: If the dog is excessively drooling or struggling to swallow, they may require intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.

The prognosis for philodendron poisoning in dogs is typically good if they’ve only ingested a small amount of the plant. In most cases, the pain and discomfort caused by the calcium oxalate crystals subside within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. However, timely veterinary intervention is still crucial to ensure the dog’s well-being and recovery.

Preventing Philodendron Exposure

Pet-friendly Houseplants

To create a safe environment for your pets, consider introducing pet-friendly houseplants that pose no harm to your dogs or cats. Some popular non-toxic options include:

  • Spider plants
  • Boston ferns
  • Areca palms
  • Ponytail palms
  • Calathea
  • Bamboo

These houseplants are not only safe for your pets but also provide beautiful visual appeal as well as improve indoor air quality.

Philodendron Alternatives

If you love the look of philodendron plants but worry about their toxicity to dogs and cats, consider these visually appealing and pet-safe alternatives:

  • Maranta (prayer plant): Known for their striking foliage, maranta plants closely resemble philodendron leaves and are non-toxic.
  • Peperomia: Peperomia plants come in various shapes and colors, offering a similar aesthetic to philodendrons without the risk of toxic exposure.
  • Aspidistra (cast-iron plant): Aspidistra plants have sturdy, dark green leaves that can easily blend in with a collection of philodendrons, making them a perfect non-toxic substitute.

Remember to always research the safety of any plant you bring into your home to ensure the wellbeing of your pets.


Philodendron plants possess a level of toxicity that can be harmful to dogs. The primary toxic component in these plants is calcium oxalate. When dogs ingest or chew on philodendron leaves, they may experience a range of symptoms, such as:

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

Although philodendrons are considered mildly toxic to dogs, they can still cause significant discomfort and distress in pets. The severity of these symptoms largely depends on the dog’s overall health and the amount of plant material consumed. As pet owners, it’s crucial to monitor your dog and seek immediate veterinary care if you suspect your dog has ingested any part of a philodendron plant.

While it’s important to understand the risks and dangers of having philodendrons around dogs, it’s equally important to practice proper safety measures when keeping these plants in your home. Consider placing the plants out of reach for your pets or having a designated area for your plants where your dogs cannot access them.

In summary, philodendron plants pose a risk to dogs due to their calcium oxalate content, which can cause a variety of adverse symptoms if ingested. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to take necessary precautions and address any issues promptly to ensure the wellbeing of your furry companions.

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