Are Pothos Toxic to Dogs? Explained & Solution- What to Do

Pets and plants help make a house a home. But according to the ASPCA, 9.8% of calls to the Animal Poison Control Center in 2021 were the result of pets ingesting indoor and outdoor plants. 

Pothos, a very popular family of houseplants, have a reputation for being poisonous to pets. But are pothos toxic to dogs? The answer is complicated. 

Is Pothos Poisonous to Dogs- It’s Complicated

Yes. Pothos plants are toxic to dogs. But don’t throw out those houseplants just yet. 

Like many houseplants, pothos contain calcium oxalate crystals. If ingested, these crystals can irritate your pet’s mouth and intestines. 

Unfortunately, scientists have not yet determined the minimum threshold for toxicity. 

If your dog has ingested part of your pothos plant, it may exhibit a variety of symptoms: vomiting, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing. In some cases, your dog might also refuse to eat and act depressed. 

It is unlikely that eating a few pothos leaves will kill your dog. But the calcium oxalate crystals can nevertheless cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

This discomfort will probably dissuade your pooch from future houseplant feasts. (Assuming you haven’t polished your pothos with bacon grease.) 

What’s the takeaway? The natural toxins in pothos can cause oral irritation and gastrointestinal discomfort in dogs. Your best bet is to play it safe, placing your pothos out of a paw’s reach. 

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Pothos

Any pet owner can attest: just because your dog shouldn’t find something appetizing doesn’t mean they won’t try to eat it. (We’re looking at you, labradors.) 

If you suspect that your dog has ingested part of your pothos plant, don’t panic. Contact your local vet or animal clinic.  

Your dog’s size, breed, and individual health will impact toxicity levels. 

As a preventative measure, consider taking your houseplant to a garden center. They can help you identify houseplants of unknown origin. From there, you can speak to your dog’s vet about possible toxicity. 

Other Houseplants Toxic to Dogs

Pothos varieties aren’t the only plants toxic to dogs if ingested. Here’s a quick look at some other common houseplants that can cause issues for your four-legged friend (vetdogs.org):

  • Aloe Vera: This popular succulent contains a chemical called saponin. If consumed, saponin can cause dogs to exhibit symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sleepiness. (Note: aloe vera offers many topical applications for humans, but it can cause skin irritation when applied on dogs.) 
  • Castor Bean Plants: The beans of this plant contain the poison ricin. If your dog has consumed castor beans, contact a veterinarian immediately. Ingesting even small amounts of ricin seeds can be lethal for dogs. 
  • English Ivy: Triterpenoid saponins in this trailing vine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and hypersalivation. 
  • Jade Plant: Jade plants also contain saponins. Again, symptoms relate to gastric distress. 
  • Peace Lily: Like pothos plants, peace lilies contain calcium oxalate crystals.
  • Philodendron: Often mistaken for pothos, philodendron plants also contain calcium oxalate crystals. 
  • Schefflera: Here’s another houseplant that contains calcium oxalate crystals. Similar symptoms apply – excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. 

References

ASPCA, 9.8% of calls to the Animal Poison Control Center in 2021 were the result of pets ingesting indoor and outdoor plants.