Pothos (also known as Devil’s Ivy) is a very well-liked plant among houseplant enthusiasts, known for bringing incredible amounts of greenness to a house while requiring minimal amounts of care.
As pothos plants can grow in almost all conditions, it’s possible to find them in nearly every single household and every single plant shop, no matter the region.
Unfortunately, there is one little problem with pothos plants. Pothos plants are poisonous, meaning that they can make people very sick when ingested.
While this isn’t a problem for adult humans, if you are a dog or cat owner, you must be wondering whether the pothos plant is poisonous for your pet as well, considering that dogs and cats are known for biting things that they shouldn’t.
So, is pothos safe for cats and dogs?
The pothos plant is poisonous for cats and dogs, just like it is for humans. While the poison won’t kill your pets, it can still cause serious illness, which is why it’s vital to keep your pets away from the pothos.
Since your pet can only be affected by the pothos through the means of eating it, it’s possible to have pothos plants in your house alongside a cat or dog as long as you are careful.
Next up, we will be going into greater detail about subjects such as why the pothos plant isn’t safe for cats and dogs, the symptoms that you should look out for if you suspect that your pet ate a piece of your pothos, and how you can keep your pets away from the danger.
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Is Pothos Safe for Cats and Dogs?
The pothos plant is not safe for cats and dogs as it is poisonous. When ingested, the pothos plant can cause your pet to become seriously ill and feel substantial amounts of intense pain, which requires immediate medical attention by a veterinarian.
The toxicity of pothos comes from a mineral called calcium oxalate. Both the leaves and the stems of the pothos plant contain large amounts of calcium oxalate crystals, which cause adverse effects when they come into contact with the soft tissues found in the mouth and the throat, whether it’s you, your dog, or your cat.
That being said, as the pothos plant can only cause harm if your pet ingests it, having a cat or a dog does not mean that you cannot ever have a pothos plant in your house if you are extremely careful about keeping things in check.
What Happens If a Cat or Dog Eats Pothos?
If your cat or dog eats a piece of the pothos plant, you will instantly notice that something is wrong due to the reaction your pet will be showing to the intense pain it is feeling.
Here is a detailed list of the symptoms that you should look out for if you suspect that your cat or dog has eaten a part of your pothos plant.
- Your pet is constantly touching and scratching its mouth. Due to the pain caused by the calcium oxalate, your pet may keep touching and scratching its mouth to try and get rid of the feeling.
- Your pet is vomiting. Vomiting is one of the most common symptoms of pothos poisoning. If your pet started vomiting out of nowhere, it might have eaten a piece of your pothos plant.
- Your pet is drooling excessively. Excessive drooling is another common symptom of pothos poisoning and is often accompanied by the two symptoms above.
- Your pet is having issues swallowing or breathing. In more severe cases, your pet may have problems with swallowing or breathing due to the swelling caused by the calcium oxalate.
- Your pet lost appetite out of nowhere. If your pet has suddenly lost appetite, it may be because of an irritation in its mouth and throat area, which can be attributed to calcium oxalate.
- Your pet’s mouth is swollen or red. Redness and swelling in your pet’s mouth can be a sign of the irritation caused by pothos poisoning.
If your pet is showing any of the symptoms above, or if you have reason to believe that your pet might have eaten a part of your pothos plant, seek immediate medical attention from a veterinarian.
Are All Pothos Toxic for Cats and Dogs?
While the word “pothos” usually refers to the golden pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum), there are plenty of other pothos plants such as marble queen pothos, Cebu blue pothos, neon pothos, jade pothos, jessenia pothos, satin pothos, and many more.
Considering we have concluded that the golden pothos plant is indeed toxic for cats and dogs, let’s find out whether the same thing applies to other pothos plants or not.
So, are all pothos plants toxic for cats and dogs, or is golden pothos the only one?
All the pothos plants contain the calcium oxalate crystals that are responsible for irritating the soft tissue found in the mouth, which means that all pothos plants are indeed toxic for both cats and dogs, just like the golden pothos plant.
How Do You Keep Dogs and Cats Away from Pothos?
Keeping your dogs and cats away from your pothos plant can be fairly challenging as pets are known to get into places you never expect them to.
Here are a few tips that may help you keep your dog or cat away from your pothos.
- Place lemon peels around and in the pot of your pothos plant. Both dogs and cats hate the smell of citrus, which is why they will do their best to stay away from it.
- Spray your pothos plant with a mixture of lemon and water. Another way to utilize citrus is to spray the plant itself with lemon water. Once again, your pets most likely won’t want to come near the source of the citrus smell.
- Place vinegar strips around your pothos plant. You can make vinegar strips by soaking paper filters in vinegar and letting them dry. As both cats and dogs hate the smell of vinegar, they will stay away from the plant. As vinegar can be harmful to your plant, do not spray your plant with it.
- Relocate your pothos plant to an unreachable place. When it comes to protecting plants from pets, placing the plants as high above the ground as possible is usually the best strategy, considering that there is nothing else around to help your pets climb up.
- Keep your pets away from the room where your pothos plant is located. If you keep your houseplants in their separate room, deny your pets from accessing that room altogether to remove the risk of pothos poisoning.
As the pothos plant is not safe for cats and dogs to be around due to it being poisonous when ingested, it’s vital to keep your pets away from it at all costs.
Considering that both dogs and cats love to bite and chew everything they see, placing your pothos in a place where they have absolutely no chance of reaching it is the safest option to keep your pets safe from danger.
With proper precautions and care, both your pets and your pothos plant can live in the same house healthily and peacefully.