Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are houseplants with big beautiful leaves. Keeping houseplants and pets in the same house without arousing some curiosity inside your pet is unlikely. Therefore, many houseplant owners are concerned if fiddle leaf figs are toxic for their pets. And that is exactly what we are going to find out today.
Fiddle leaf fig is mildly toxic for your pets. If your pet ingests the plant, it will show signs of oral irritation, drooling, or diarrhea. Fiddle leaf figs have a white and sticky sap containing tiny calcium oxalate crystals with sharp edges responsible for causing discomfort to your pets.
The toxicity of the fiddle leaf fig will not kill your pets but can be toxic when ingested. If you notice that your dog or cat shows any of the symptoms, you might want to visit the vet.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your fiddle leaf fig at home. It would be best if you kept it somewhere your pets can’t reach. If you do your research right, you’ll be informed and well aware of the precautions you need to take.
Let’s discuss this in detail so that you get all the knowledge about how toxic fiddle leaf figs are to your cat or dog, what they can do to them and what you should do if your pet comes in contact with your fiddle leaf fig.
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Is fiddle leaf fig pet friendly?
Fiddle leaf figs can’t be considered pet-friendly. Fiddle leaf figs will not kill your cat or dog, but if they ingest it, they can cause problems if you don’t do anything about it. The fiddle leaf fig emits a white and milky sap from all parts. The sap contains calcium oxalate with sharp crystals that can cause various kinds of irritation and other problems in your pets.
The best step you can take is to keep the fiddle leaf figs away from your pets – dogs, cats, small pets, and even birds.
Make sure that you don’t let your pets be near the fiddle leaf fig as if they touch any part of the plant, and if the sap gets on them, it will irritate.
And if your pets bite on the fiddle leaf fig, the problems might be severe.
Other than oral irritation, they can have excessive drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can cause a loss of appetite in them as well.
How poisonous are fiddle leaf figs?
Fiddle leaf figs might is mildly toxic for your pets. The effect of the toxicity depends on the size of the bite taken by your pet. The results might not be dangerous, but their suffering depends on the amount of their ingestion.
If you have not seen your pet taking a bite of the plant, but notice symptoms like drooling, vomiting, or swollen mouth on your pets, take a look at the plant, and you might be able to find the area from where your pet has taken the bite.
If you notice that your pet has taken quite a big bite or the symptoms seem severe, you need to contact the vet immediately so that you can handle the situation and you can treat your pet quickly.
There are four toxicity classes, and fiddle leaf figs fall under the Class 4 toxicity, which denotes the least dangerous toxicity level. (Source: The University of California) They cause irritation and other problems that can be treated and taken care of.
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Signs of fiddle leaf fig poisoning
If your pets ingest any part of your fiddle leaf fig, you’ll notice that they have irritation around their mouth, and you’ll find them pawing at the mouth. If the sap gets on any part of their body, it will cause skin irritation.
The sap can not only affect the pets but the humans also. This is the reason it is advised that you wear gloves while touching your fiddle leaf fig or wash your hands thoroughly after touching it.
Some of the common signs of fiddle leaf poisoning are:
- Skin irritation
- Oral irritation
- Reduced appetite
The whole plant has white sap all over it, so any part ingested by your pet is capable of affecting it and causing problems to it.
Which pets are vulnerable to fiddle leaf fig poisoning?
All pets are vulnerable to fiddle leaf fig poisoning. It includes your dogs or cats. And the small pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, and even birds.
Pets like to move around freely and tend to sniff, touch and taste everything that comes in their way. They are curious and eager to explore anything that they don’t know.
This might not work well when they come in contact with a houseplant that is toxic for them. Many house plants are not pet-friendly, which is why it is crucial to keep them away from your pets.
If your pet ingests any part of the fiddle leaf fig, the sap will stick to their mouth that will cause irritation and all the other problems.
It would be best if you took the precautions beforehand rather than keeping an eye on your pet all the time.
When we talk about precautions, we mean keeping the fiddle leaf fig out of the reach of your pets.
Is fiddle leaf fig toxic to dogs?
Many dog parents don’t even know that fiddle leaf figs can be toxic for their dogs and only understand after it happens.
Fiddle leaf figs have calcium oxalate crystals that are very sharp. If your dog ingests a part of the plant, there might be pain and irritation due to those crystals.
If your dog doesn’t stop at this and eats more, it will get into his intestines and cause other symptoms.
Some of the common symptoms found in dogs are:
- Irritation and pain in the mouth
- Pawing on the face
- Swelling of tongue, lips, and mouth
- Breathing problem
Is fiddle leaf fig toxic to cats?
Fiddle leaf figs can have a burning effect on your cat’s digestive system other than oral irritation.
Fiddle leaf figs release sticky, milky sap to protect themselves in their natural habitat. But when the fluid comes in contact with your cat, it can stick to its skin and cause skin irritation or stick to its mouth and cause oral irritation.
It can get very uncomfortable and painful for your cat. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Swelling of the mouth region
- Reduced appetite
- Oral irritation
Is fiddle leaf fig dangerous to birds?
Fiddle leaf figs can have similar effects on your bird as they are mildly toxic for the birds.
Birds usually like to chew plant leaves. It can happen that your bird has ingested a part of the leaf from the fiddle leaf fig plant. That will go into their stomach and cause pain.
Some of the other symptoms seen in birds are:
What to do if your pet ate a fiddle leaf fig?
Pets are not capable of understanding which plants are harmful to them. So it is up to you to understand which plants can cause problems to your pet and keep them away.
The only way to treat your pet is to take it to the pet. It is advised that you do not try anything on your own and consult the vet at first.
Once you take your pet to the vet, you need to tell the vet how much amount of the plant your pet has ingested and how long it has been since then.
After that, the vet will start the treatment based on your answer. The first step might be that the vet will rinse your pet’s mouth so that the sap will get washed away.
The doctor might perform tests to check if the calcium oxalate from the fiddle leaf fig has affected the gastrointestinal tract, or kidneys, or liver. The rest of the treatment will be based on the test results.
How to keep fiddle leaf figs away from pets?
When the houseplant is not pet-friendly and has some toxicity, you should move the plant to an area that is not accessible to your pet.
How to keep the fiddle leaf figs away from dogs?
You have to keep the fiddle leaf fig out of your dog’s reach, and here are a few ways to do it:
- Keep the plant at a height where your dog can’t reach.
- Sprinkle some pepper around the fiddle leaf fig as it irritates the dog’s nose and will keep them away.
- You can spray lemon juice or keep the peels of citrus fruits around the plant to keep the dogs away as they don’t like that smell.
- You can pot marigolds that will also keep the dogs away from the fiddle leaf figs.
How to keep the fiddle leaf figs away from cats?
Now let’s find out how you can keep your cats away from the fiddle leaf fig.
- Spraying citrus fruits will keep the cats away as, just like dogs, cats can’t tolerate this smell.
- Cats don’t like the smell of coffee, so you can mix coffee grounds in the soil of your fiddle leaf fig, and that should keep your cat away.
- You can use lavender or rosemary, which are herbs disliked by cats.
- And you can keep stones around the plant as cats don’t like moving on or around stones.
- Keep the plant in the room where your cats don’t have access to.
How to keep the fiddle leaf figs away from birds?
Keeping the birds away can be more challenging than keeping the other pets away, but we have some ways.
- One of the easiest ways is to keep scarecrows near the fiddle leaf fig.
- You can also hang rubber snakes around the plant as birds are afraid of snakes.
- Tying helium-filled balloons can also scare the birds and keep them away.
- Ultrasonic trainers might be a bit costly, but the ultrasonic sound will keep the birds away.
Also read: Where to keep your fiddle leaf fig?