The Lowdown on Plant Toxicity + Your Pets



March 23, 2021

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Domesticating dogs and cats, and bringing them indoors to live with us has brought us eons of joys untold. But there are things we need to be cognizant of when our worlds brush up against theirs. Like that cute row of succulents in your room. Or things you’ve planted in your backyard garden. Or those fresh, airy houseplants you bought when you decided to become a plant hobbyist. Do they pose a risk to your dog or cat? Find out below!

So Which Plants Are Toxic?

A note before we dive in: Did you know that each time a dog or cat is taken to the vet for plant toxicity, the cost is $547 on average? Bivvy cat insurance and dog health insurance cover illnesses and accidents, diagnostic treatment, blood tests, surgery, hospitalization, and emergency care when you’re in a pinch about your pet potentially being poisoned. Give yourself a little peace of mind in that stressful situation, plus save yourself some big money. Just get your pet the care they need, then file a claim and Bivvy will come to the rescue.

Now, here are some common plants that are toxic to cats and dogs:


And yes, many of our favorite trendy little succulents are dangerous, including:


Just how badly your pet will be impacted depends on how much they ingest. But literally chewing off a bit of the plant and swallowing it isn’t the only way this can happen—think brushing up against a plant with dangerous pollen then licking it off themselves later when they groom, or drinking water that contains plant food.

Cats and dogs seem to experience toxicity to most of the same plants, however, lilies seem to be particularly toxic to cats, and some varieties (Easter, Asian, and Day lilies) don’t seem to hit dogs all that hard at all.

“Cardiotoxic” plants are the most dangerous, because they weaken the heart. These include:


The ASPCA has a pretty definitive list of what’s poisonous to dogs and cats on its website, that you may want to save.

What Are Signs Your Pet May Be Experiencing Plant Toxicity?

Look out for these signs in your dog or cat:


Vomiting and diarrhea, which may sometimes be indications of plant poisoning, are two of the five most common Bivvy claims we get for dogs. We get countless claims from dog parents who have had to get their dog medical treatment for these ailments, and thanks to Bivvy have then been able to recoup some of their losses.

If You Suspect Your Pet Has Been Poisoned…

Call either the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (888-426-4435). Or call your veterinarian immediately. If you go in for an appointment, take a sample of the plant your pet’s consumed.

Some pet parents may have the thought that they need to make their pet vomit up the plant they’ve eaten. Don’t do this until consulting your vet or one of the poison hotlines.

How Plants and Pets Can Coexist

Be creative about putting plants in places where they can’t be reached. Like hanging from the ceiling, on standalone shelves up high on the wall, or in terrariums that can’t be broken into.

Your pet may be getting into your plants out of boredom. Get your cat some cat grass to get her fix, or provide your pup with more enrichment activities. Bodhi Dog makes the well-known products Bitter Apple and Bitter Lemon. You can spray these on your plants, or spray diluted lemon juice or diluted Tabasco to make them unappealing.

If your pet’s not eating your indoor potted plants but is more interested in digging in the soil, you can cover the soil with foil, or rocks or marbles. If you’ve had plants for a while and your pet isn’t interested in them, you don’t necessarily need to get rid of the plants, but do consider not leaving them together unmonitored.

Bivvy supports all cats and dogs no matter their age, size, or breed. Check out our affordable, streamlined cat insurance and dog health insurance, and become part of the Bivvy family so you’ll be prepared if your pet has an unfortunate run-in with a toxic plant.