Raise your hand if you became a plantito or plantita because of the pandemic. Now raise your hand again if you know little about plants and choose what you have because they look pretty or have medicinal properties.
It’s okay to introduce plants into your home—they make interiors attractive, reduce air pollutants, and improve your mood. Just make sure to pick the right ones if you share your space with a dog or cat. As beautiful as they appear, these plants and flowers can make your precious pet sick. (Read: 5 Plants You Should Never Buy From Stores
Toxic plants to pets: Aloe vera
Applied topically on humans, the gel-like substance inside this succulent with thick leaves strengthens hair and soothes burns and skin wounds. When ingested by pets, however, it can result in vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and change in the color of urine due to its anthraquinone glycosides, a natural type of purgative.
Toxic plants to pets: Baby’s breath
Next time you get a bouquet that includes this member of the carnation family, make sure to discard it properly once the flowers dry up. Baby’s breath contains gyposenin, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea among pets to chew on it. (Read: The fascinating plants and animals endemic to the Philippines)
Toxic plants to pets: Lily
Lovely to look at, but don’t let your cat get too close to this flowering plant—particularly its Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, tiger, Western, wood lilies, and daylilies species. Nibbling 1-2 petals or leaves or taking a sip from the water in its vase is enough to trigger severe, acute kidney failure in your kitty cat.
Toxic plants to pets: Dieffenbachia
Noted for its large, oval-shaped leaves in green, cream, and white, this popular houseplant is actually toxic (thought not fatal) to both man and animal. Tiny, needle-shaped calcium oxate crystals are found all over the plant, that when ingested, leave the hapless human or pet with a painful, swollen mouth. This leaves them unable to speak—mute, essentially—which explains how the plant also known as Dumb Cane got its strange name. (Read: 5 Flowering Plants That Are Easy to Propagate Indoors)
Toxic plants to pets: Cutleaf Philodendron
Another indoor plant, this one is recognizable for its heart-shaped, deep-cut green leaves. Like the Dumb Cane, it has calcium oxate crystals that can irritate the mouth, triggering an intense burning sensation, as well as drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.