Pothos, a popular houseplant that is known for its trailing vines and low-maintenance nature, is known to be toxic to dogs if ingested. In this article, we’ll help you understand the toxicity of pothos and can help dog owners like you take steps to protect their pets and ensure their health and well-being.
What is Pothos
Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is a popular houseplant due to its easy-to-grow nature and attractive foliage. The plant has various nicknames, including Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, and Taro Vine. It is a native plant to the Solomon Islands and thrives in various indoor settings, making it a common choice for home and office decoration.
The leaves of the Pothos plant are heart-shaped and come in various shades of green, sometimes with variegated colors such as yellow or white. The plant can grow into a long, trailing vine, making it a beautiful addition to shelves and hanging baskets. Pothos is known for its ability to purify the air by removing toxins commonly found in homes and offices, providing health benefits for humans.
However, while Pothos is beneficial for humans, it is crucial to note the potential dangers it poses to pets, particularly to dogs and cats. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which are toxic to animals when ingested. The needle-like crystals present in Pothos can cause significant irritation and inflammation in the mouth, lips, and tongue of pets, leading to symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
Toxicity of Pothos to Dogs
Pothos, a common houseplant, is known to be toxic to dogs, as well as cats, horses, and humans. The toxicity of this plant is due to its content of insoluble calcium oxalates, which are mostly found in the leaves of the plant.
Effects on Dogs
When a dog bites or chews on a pothos plant, the needle-like calcium oxalate crystals are released, causing various health issues. The most common symptoms include:
- Oral irritation
- Burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, and lips
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty swallowing
In more severe cases, ingestion of this toxic plant can lead to breathing difficulties due to a swollen tongue. It is essential to monitor your dog closely and contact your veterinarian immediately if you witness your pet consuming any part of a pothos plant.
Although pothos poisoning in dogs is rarely fatal, it can cause significant discomfort and pain for the affected animal. In order to prevent any potential harm, it is advisable to keep pothos plants out of reach from your pets or refrain from having them in your home altogether if you have any concerns about your pet’s safety.
Treatment and Prevention
First Aid Procedures
If your dog ingests pothos, a toxic plant containing calcium oxalate crystals, you should first wash out your dog’s mouth with water. This helps to remove any remaining crystals and prevent further damage to your dog’s mouth and intestines(Dog Discoveries).
After providing first aid at home, it is essential to seek veterinary care for your dog as soon as possible. The veterinarian may also rinse your dog’s mouth with water to ensure all remaining crystals are removed (WagWalking). Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the vet may suggest additional treatments for your pet to recover fully.
Since pothos plants are toxic to dogs, it is crucial to prevent your pet’s exposure to these plants. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk:
- Keep the pothos plant out of reach: Place the plant on a high surface or use macrame hangers to keep them away from your dog’s reach (Houseplant Authority).
- Supervise your dog: Always keep an eye on your pet when they are close to any potentially toxic plants.
- Treat your dog like a toddler: This means being extra cautious and creating a safe environment to prevent any unwanted accidents.
By following these preventive measures, you will reduce the risk of your dog being exposed to pothos or other toxic plants.
Alternative Non-Toxic Plants
For pet owners concerned about the toxicity of pothos plants to dogs, there are numerous non-toxic alternatives to consider for your home. These plants are safe for pets and still offer the same visual appeal and air-purifying benefits that pothos plants provide.
One such alternative is the peperomia plant. The peperomia plant is visually similar to pothos, with its trailing and crawling foliage, but it is a safe option for households with pets. These low-maintenance plants come in various forms, offering different textures and colors to suit various interior design preferences.
Additionally, the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is another non-toxic, pet-friendly plant choice. Known for its cascading, ribbon-like leaves, the spider plant is an attractive option for hanging baskets or high shelves. They are also easy to care for and can thrive under various conditions.
Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) are also a safe option for homes with dogs. These lush, leafy plants add a touch of elegance to any space they occupy. While they may require a bit more attention to maintain their humidity levels, they are worth the effort for their non-toxic qualities and visual impact in your home.
Lastly, consider adding the Haworthia, a small succulent, to your collection. These plants are perfect for tabletops or window sills and have low watering requirements. Their unique rosette-like structure and variety of shades make them an attractive, pet-safe option for any household.
When choosing houseplants, it’s essential to consider the safety of your pets. By opting for non-toxic alternatives like peperomia, spider plants, Boston ferns, or Haworthia, you can enjoy the benefits of indoor plants while protecting your furry friends from potential harm.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.