Are snake plants toxic to dogs? The answer is both yes and no. On one hand, they are not considered as lethal or deadly poisonous as some other plants such as the oleander, mistletoe, or yew. On the other hand, they do contain some compounds that can cause mild to moderate stomach upset in a canine if they ingest too much. These compounds are saponin and asparagine, which are both present in the leaves and roots of the snake plant. If chewed by your pet, they can make them gag, vomit, or have diarrhea. Therefore, it is best to avoid giving your pet access to the snake plant or any of its parts.
Are Snake Plants Toxic to Dogs? All You Need To Know
Snake plants (also known as Sansevieria trifasciata) are known to be mildly toxic to dogs, they can cause an intestinal blockage if ingested in large enough quantities. Therefore, it is recommended to keep snake plants away from all pets. Furthermore, the leaves of the snake plant can cause mild skin irritations to sensitive pets. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a snake plant, please seek medical treatment immediately as this may cause serious medical problems.
What is Snake Plant Poisoning?
Snake plant poisoning is caused by ingestion of parts of various species of Sansevieria (also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue) plants. The leaves and stems of these plants contain saponins and other glycosides, which can cause irritation of the throat and digestive system when eaten. Symptoms of snake plant poisoning range from an upset stomach and abdominal pain to difficulty breathing, dizziness, and an elevated heart rate. In serious cases, the consumption of snake plants can be fatal.
Other House Plants That Are Toxic To Dogs
- Castor Bean Plant: These beautiful plants produce attractive seeds, but all parts of the plant are dangerous as they contain ricin, which is poisonous to dogs. Symptoms from ingesting the plant can include nausea, tremors, seizures, and even death.
- Christmas Roses: The bulbs of these plants contain toxins that will make dogs sick. If ingested, the plant can cause scale-like lesions on mucous membranes, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
- English Ivy: Whether in a pot or planted outdoors, English ivy should be avoided if you have pets. All parts of the plant contain glycosides and saponins, which can be toxic to dogs; symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation.
- Foxglove: Foxglove contains cardiac glucosides, which can be toxic to dogs; ingestion can cause irregular heart rate, inability to stand, seizures, and even death.
- Kalanchoe: This plant contains cardiac glucosides as well, which can be toxic to dogs. Ingestion may result in vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and an irregular heartbeat.
- Lily of the Valley: These beautiful bell-like blooms can cause vomiting, lethargy, and difficulty breathing if ingested. Even the water in the vase can be toxic, so it’s best to avoid having them in the home if you have dogs.
- Sago Palm: The seeds of this traditional house plant are very dangerous, containing amino acids that can cause liver failure and death.
- Yew: While some varieties of this shrub are safe, taxine, a naturally occurring alkaloid in yews, can be toxic if eaten raw. Symptoms can include vomiting, difficulty breathing, and even heart irregularities.
Causes of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
- Ingestion: Dogs may accidentally ingest chewed snake plant leaves, either because they aren’t aware of the toxicity, or they are curious.
- Skin Contact: Snake plants’ sap, which can irritate the skin, can also cause poisoning if ingested.
- Allergic Reaction: Dogs may be allergic to snake plant toxins, leading to serious medical symptoms and poisoning.
- Toxic Metabolites: Snake plants produce toxic metabolites, which can poison dogs if ingested. These metabolites can be found on the leaves and in the sap.
- Accidental Consumption: Dogs may accidentally swallow a piece of the snake plant while playing or chewing on leaves and stems.
Symptoms of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
The most commonly reported signs of snake plant poisoning in dogs include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Bad breath
- Increased urination and increased thirst.
If you think your dog has been poisoned by a snake plant, immediate veterinary attention is recommended as snake plant poisoning can cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and kidneys.
Diagnosis of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
The first step for the vet to diagnose snake plant poisoning in dogs is to take a thorough history of the pet’s health and any recent exposures to the snake plant. Vets will also ask about any recent watering activity, which can be a potential source of the plant. The vet will also conduct a physical examination and may take a blood sample. This will help the vet to detect any levels of toxins that could be present in the dog’s system. If the vet suspects that the dog has been poisoned by snake plants, he might also take an x-ray or an ultrasound to examine the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, since both of these areas can be affected by snake plant poisonings. The vet will also look for other signs of toxic plant exposure, such as swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and anorexia. Finally, the vet may recommend de-toxification therapy or hospitalization to help the dog recover from the poisoning and reduce the possibility of long-term complications.
What to Do If Dog Eats Snake Plant
If your dog has eaten any part of a snake plant (or Sansevieria plant), immediately call your veterinarian. Snake plants are poisonous to dogs, so it is important that your dog be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting to try and remove the plant, as well as giving activated charcoal to help disrupt the plant’s poison from being absorbed into the bloodstream. They may also offer other supportive treatments such as IV fluids and medications to reduce vomiting and to help protect the organs from damage.
Treatment of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs should include inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal to bind and reduce the absorption of toxins. As the plant can cause an obstruction in the digestive tract, medical care should be sought to ensure that there are no complications. Treatment may also involve providing the pet with intravenous fluids to help reduce the risk of dehydration. Other treatments may include medication to reduce inflammation of the stomach or intestines. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove any obstructions.
Recovery of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
Snake plant poisoning is rare in dogs and cats, but it can cause severe reactions if consumed. Symptoms of snake plant poisoning in dogs can include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, salivation, anorexia, and abnormal heart rhythms. If your pet has eaten any part of a snake plant, contact your vet immediately for treatment.
Treatment for snake plant poisoning usually includes supportive care such as IV fluids, electrolyte and acid-base balance, antibiotics, and anti-seizure medications. Your vet may also recommend that you give your dog activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove any plant material from your dog’s stomach and intestines. If the plant material has already been absorbed into your dog’s body, your vet may prescribe steroid or diuretic medications to help reduce the inflammation.
Most dogs recover fully from snake plant poisoning with proper medical treatment.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Your Snake Plant
- Install a physical barrier such as a fence between your dog and your snake plant. This can be metal fencing, baby gates, or a mesh barrier.
- Train your dog to leave the snake plant alone. Whenever you see your dog sniffing near the plant, use rewards-based commands such as “leave it” or “no” to stop them.
- Try using pet repellent sprays or powders near the snake plant to make it unappealing to your dog.
- Place a distracting toy or chew near the plant to keep your dog away from it.
- Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention so that they don’t resort to eating plants out of boredom or loneliness.
Non-Toxic Plants for Dogs
- Spider Plant
- Gerbera Daisy
Q. What happens if a dog licks a snake plant?
A. It is not likely to cause any serious harm, but the dog may experience minor irritation or discomfort in the mouth and throat from the plant’s sap, which contains calcium oxalate crystals.
Q. Can dogs be in the same room as a snake plant?
A. Yes, dogs can be in the same room as a snake plant as long as the plant is placed in a place that the dog cannot access.
Q. How toxic are snake plants?
A. Snake plants are very low-toxicity plants, and they generally pose little threat to animals.
Q. Are snake plants only toxic to dogs if ingested?
A. Yes, snake plants are generally only toxic to dogs if ingested.
Q. Are snake plants toxic to humans?
A. Yes, snake plants are mildly toxic to humans.
Q. Are snake plants toxic to cats?
A. Yes, snake plants are toxic to cats and can cause some gastric upset if ingested.
The conclusion is that Snake Plants are generally not toxic to dogs as long as they are not eaten. If a dog ingests a Snake Plant, it may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort such as vomiting or diarrhea, but it is not likely to be serious. However, it is still important to keep an eye on your pet if they have been exposed to a Snake Plant and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.