Is Split Leaf Philodendron Toxic to Dogs? Find Out Now

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Split leaf philodendrons, scientifically known as Philodendron bipennifolium, are popular houseplants appreciated for their lush foliage and easy maintenance. However, many pet owners may be unaware that these attractive plants can pose a threat to their furry companions. It is important for dog owners to be informed about the potential dangers of these plants, as they are toxic to both dogs and cats.

The toxicity of split leaf philodendron arises from the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant. When ingested by dogs, these crystals can cause a range of symptoms such as oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. Apart from dogs, other household pets, including cats, birds, and even humans, can experience similar adverse effects on coming into contact with these plants.

In this article, we will further discuss the potential risks associated with split leaf philodendrons, steps for prevention, and what to do if your pet comes into contact with the toxic elements of the plant. By raising awareness about this issue, pet owners can better safeguard their pets’ health and wellbeing while still enjoying the beauty of these plants in their homes.

What Is a Split Leaf Philodendron?

Split leaf philodendron, scientifically known as Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum, is a popular tropical plant native to Central America. It is often mistaken for a member of the Philodendron genus, but actually belongs to the Thaumatophyllum genus, which is a part of the Philodendron tribe. The plant is admired for its large, glossy, lobed green leaves that extend from long petioles, making it an attractive addition to indoor spaces.

Interestingly, the true split leaf philodendron is self-heading, meaning that its sturdy stems can support the plant and keep it upright without the need for external structures. This characteristic sets it apart from the Monstera plant, which is a climbing species that relies on strong aerial roots for support. Despite sharing similarities in leaf shape and appearance, the split leaf philodendron and Monstera deliciosa are separate plant varieties.

While split leaf philodendrons can be beautiful additions to any indoor environment, it is essential to be aware of the potential hazards they present to pets, particularly dogs. The leaves of the split leaf philodendron contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause serious health issues if ingested. Common symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, swelling of the throat, and irritation. As such, it is crucial to keep these plants out of reach of pets and wear gloves when propagating or repotting them to protect oneself from the irritant.

Toxicity to Dogs

Symptoms of Ingestion

The Split Leaf Philodendron, also known as Philodendron bipennifolium, is indeed toxic to dogs. When a dog ingests this plant, it may experience several symptoms due to the insoluble calcium oxalates present in the plant. These symptoms include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

Moreover, the needle-like raphides in the plant can penetrate the dog’s oral cavity and release a toxic histamine, causing pain and swelling.

Emergency Treatment

If you suspect that your dog has consumed a Split Leaf Philodendron, it is essential to act promptly. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Assess the situation: Check for visible symptoms like drooling, swelling, or signs of distress. Note down any particulars about the plant your dog ingested.
  2. Remove the remaining plant particles from the dog’s mouth: Using a cloth or towel, gently remove any remaining plant material from your dog’s mouth and face. This helps prevent further ingestion and irritation.
  3. Seek veterinary assistance immediately: As split leaf philodendron toxicity can be dangerous, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian, an emergency animal clinic, or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible. Provide them with the relevant information you noted earlier.

Your veterinarian might recommend inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, or other treatments based on your dog’s specific condition. It is vital to follow their advice closely to ensure your dog receives proper care and recovers quickly.

Preventing Exposure

Safe Plant Alternatives

Choosing non-toxic plants is an essential step in protecting your precious pets. There are various safe plant alternatives that can make your home look beautiful while keeping your dogs safe. Some examples include:

  • Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Parlor palms (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • African violets (Saintpaulia spp.)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

These plants not only pose no threat to your pets but also help purify the air inside your home.

Restricting Access

Another key factor in preventing split leaf philodendron toxicity is to restrict access to the plant for dogs. Here are a few strategies to keep your pets safe:

  1. Place the split leaf philodendron in a room where your dogs are not allowed or have limited access.
  2. Use elevated surfaces, such as shelves or hanging planters, to keep the plant out of reach of your furry friends.
  3. Educate family members, especially children, about the potential dangers of this plant, and teach them not to feed it or any part of it to their pets.

Ultimately, preventing exposure to split leaf philodendron is crucial in safeguarding your dogs’ well-being. By opting for safe plant alternatives and restricting access to toxic plants, you can ensure a pet-friendly environment in your home.

Long-Term Management and Care

Split leaf philodendrons are popular houseplants due to their large, glossy leaves, but it’s important to know that they are toxic to dogs. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause oral irritation, intense burning, and difficulty swallowing if ingested. As a pet owner, you need to ensure long-term management and care to keep your dog safe while maintaining a healthy plant.

To prevent your dog from accessing the split leaf philodendron, consider placing the plant in a room or area where your pet cannot enter. Another option is to hang the plant from the ceiling or use a tall shelf, but make sure to trim any dangling vines that a curious dog could reach.

Regular maintenance of your split leaf philodendron is crucial for its overall health. During early spring, prune the plant to remove stray stems and dying or damaged growth. Use sterile scissors or a knife to make clean cuts close to the main plant. Don’t forget to wear gloves when handling the plant to avoid contact with the irritant.

Proper watering and soil management are also essential for a flourishing split leaf philodendron. These plants thrive in nutrient-rich soil that drains well. Indoor plants require a lighter, well-draining soil mix to prevent root rot while still retaining enough moisture for the roots. Monitor the plant’s moisture levels and adjust your watering routine accordingly.

In summary, managing a split leaf philodendron in a household with dogs requires proactive measures in terms of placement, pruning, and watering. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of this tropical plant while ensuring the safety of your furry companion.


Split leaf philodendrons, scientifically known as Philodendron bipennifolium, belong to the Araceae family and are toxic to dogs. Their toxicity stems from the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant. These crystals can cause irritation and discomfort when ingested or chewed on by pets.

Symptoms of split leaf philodendron poisoning in dogs may include:

  • Oral pain and irritation
  • Intense burning sensation in the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Blisters forming inside the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and other parts of the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting

When dealing with potentially toxic plants like the split leaf philodendron, it is crucial to recognize the signs of poisoning and seek immediate veterinary care if needed. While philodendrons are only considered mildly toxic to dogs, they can still cause significant discomfort and distress. To ensure the safety of pets, it is best to keep these types of plants out of reach or not have them in households with dogs.

If owners suspect that their dogs have ingested any part of a split leaf philodendron, it is wise to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. This can prevent further complications and aid in the pet’s quick recovery. In conclusion, split leaf philodendrons are indeed toxic to dogs, so it is vital to take preventive measures and act swiftly if signs of poisoning occur.

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