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Is Pothos Poisonous to Pets? (Cats, Dogs, Birds, Small Pets & More)

Plants don’t have many ways to protect themselves. So, some plants release chemicals to fight against potential threats. The threat could be anyone for a plant, be it humans or animals, since pothos is a popular houseplant. So, you might be wondering, are pothos poisonous for our pets?

Yes, pothos can be poisonous to pets. They produce a lot of calcium oxalate, which will irritate your pet’s mouth and gut if ingested. Your pet may show signs of poisoning like excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, etc. If you notice any of these signs, rush your pet to a vet immediately.

Some plants induce chemicals that might cause an issue to the heart directly, slow it down, and eventually death.

I am certainly not trying to scare you off from keeping these beautiful plants, instead of providing information on keeping them, if you own one.

The plant may look beautiful but could be as dangerous as it can be. Today we will talk about pothos and whether pothos is pet friendly or not.



Is pothos pet friendly?

No, the pothos, especially the golden pothos, are not pet friendly.

If a pothos leaf is consumed, it could cause blisters, stomach irritation, vomiting, or the furry friends might find it difficult swallowing.

The pothos is toxic to both dogs and cats.

They produce a lot of calcium oxalate, which is one of the chemicals produced by the pothos for protection against their enemies.

The calcium oxalate is a crystal-like chemical with sharp edges. Eating a leaf will cause problems in the gut or the mouth.

Excessive drooling is also noticed in some of the scenarios.

How poisonous is pothos?

The pothos is a little poisonous. It won’t kill you, but it always depends on the quantity.

We will be able to see symptoms like vomiting, or you could also get swelling on your tongue and the mouth and might cause blisters.

Remove the plant from the reach of the children and check if they reach the vines. We can best use hanging pots for the pothos.

This plant is poisonous for cats and dogs, and we need to make sure that they should not be eating from this plant.

If we see that these pets have nibbled on the plant by chance, we can figure out the quantity that they have nibbled.

Please contact your vet and get in touch with them immediately. Do not try any home remedies to cure the situation.

Signs of plant poisoning in pets

Pothos plant releases a toxin known as calcium oxalate, which is in the crystal form.

This toxin will irritate the mouth, and in a rare condition, we also see swelling of the upper airway. We should check signs like:

  • Vomiting
  • Oral pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • The pets pawing their mouth

Because the toxin is in the crystal form, it cuts the mouth and causes injury instead of dissolving with the mouth’s moisture.

The toxin level is present in the entire plant, but the most amount of toxin is released from the leaves.

We will discuss the signs in more detail while talking about the type of pets.



Which pets are most vulnerable to house plants?

Pets are innocent and do not know what they are looking for. It may be the nibbling or the curiosity that causes the nibbling to the houseplant.

The most common pets found in most of our houses are cats and dogs, and we need to make sure they do not nibble on these houseplants.

Now, pothos is poisonous for pets. It might not be that poisonous for a cat or a dog because they will nibble on a leaf or two.

But the same does not apply for domestic pets such as goats or horses.
When the cows or horses eat, they take a larger bite so that it might be a bigger problem.

I have noticed that some people choose to keep pothos in an aquarium in a different scenario, though the pothos is not an aquatic plant.

From what I have noticed is that the pothos, as such, do not cause any issues to these aquatic animals, but the problem lies somewhere else.

In case the pothos is dying inside the aquarium, and we have failed to notice. The dying pothos will spike the nitrogen level in the tank, which might then kill the fishes.

Being a safe and careful keeper of these aquatic animals, we should be
aware of when to remove the dying pothos.

Are pothos plants poisonous to dogs?

Yes, the pothos is poisonous to dogs.

Often, we do not know that our pets have chewed upon these plants and are facing issues. In the case of dogs, we need to check for symptoms like:

  1. Excessive drooling
  2. Irritation to the mouth, lips, eyes, or tongue
  3. Vomiting
  4. Foaming at the mouth
  5. Difficulty in breathing
  6. Difficulty in swallowing
  7. Pawing at the mouth

Always check on how much of the plant has the dog chewed upon by looking at the plant. That way, we will get a rough idea of how severe the case might be.

Are pothos plants poisonous to cats?

Yes, the pothos is poisonous to cats.

It is the same case as it is with the dogs. The pothos releases the toxins in the form of crystals and hence cause oral irritation and often inflammation.

For cats, we need to look for symptoms like;

  1. Difficulty in swallowing
  2. Respiratory issues
  3. Pawing at the mouth
  4. Vomiting
  5. Excessive drooling
  6. Loss of appetite

Do the same method of checking the number of plants that your furry pets might have eaten.

In cats and dogs, they go through a lot of pain and burning sensation as the problem is an oral problem causing breathing issues and inflammation.

Is pothos toxic to birds?

Yes, as the toxins are crystal in nature, they cause oral irritation and are toxic to birds as well.

Pothos also comes on the list of poisonous plants for birds, and all the parts of the pothos plant are poisonous.

The symptoms that we will need to look for in case of birds:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Tremors
  4. Depression
  5. Birds falling from the perch

What to do if your pet ate a pothos plant?

It might not be your fault if your pets have chewed upon the plants, but we cannot blame anyone else.

The most important thing is to give a call to your veterinarian as soon as you know that your pet has been poisoned.

Because this is the case of oral inflammation and irritation, your pets might suffer excess pain. If it is too late, there will be crystal formation in the urine, which will worsen the case.

Do not and never try to solve your own situation unless you are medically certified to do so.

A veterinarian will be the best option as he will look through the symptoms and try to clean the poison out by washing the mouth first.

Describe the situation in detail so that your veterinarian understands the condition, the symptoms, and the plant poison. You might take the sample of the plant along with you as well.

There might be cases where we might have to take the drool sample that our pets release along with the plant so that the vet can cross-check them.

Keep the ASPCA number handy and the number of your vet in hand.
Give them a call instantly and inquire about the situation and what shall be done next.

If your vet recommends getting your pet to the hospital, please follow their advice and do not be late for the appointment.

How to keep pothos away from pets?

If you own a pet, then it is always suggested to keep your houseplants at a safe distance. We should also consider keeping them away from the reach of your children.

Houseplants can sometimes cause curiosity on your pets, maybe because your pet finds the leaves different.

For example, in the case of monstera deliciosa, the cats eat the leaves, but the leaves are hallucinogenic for the cats.

For keeping away the pothos at a distance from your pets, we need to get in love with heights.

We can use wall hangers, floating shelves, also floating pots in such cases.

How to keep pothos away from cats?

Cats generally are more playful and jumpier. They tend to reach places that we cannot. In this case, we need to be extra careful.

We should keep the pothos plant in floating pots and ensure that your cat can reach neither the plant nor its vine.

We can also keep various other objects such as a bookshelf and the pots and opt for clustering.

This way, the plants will be away from the reach of your furry friend.

When you are out of your house, keep your cats in a different room from where your pothos plants are kept.

That will ensure safety and prevent your cats from chewing upon the plant.

How to keep pothos away from dogs?

Dogs are more well behaved, but curiosity cannot be ignored. We can use ceiling hangers in case we have dogs as a pet.

We need to ensure that neither the plant nor the plant’s vine is accessible by your pet.

Do check whether your dog reaches the ceiling hangers on his/her hind legs as well.

Another essential factor for keeping both our pets and the plants will be that we will need to keep our plants healthy.

For example, if our plant is not healthy, it might shed its leaves. Now, we have kept the pothos on the ceiling hangers, but everything goes into vain with shedding leaves.

Always remove the fallen leaves of the pothos.

Keep your pothos and your dogs away from each other when you are not available. That will ensure their safety and mental health.

How to keep pothos away from birds?

It will be a bit difficult for our flying friends, but we need to ensure their safety. For this purpose, we need to be conventional.

We can place small scarecrows as decoys near our plants so that our birds think twice before going near them.

We can also hang scary shiny balloons near the plants. The birds might not go near the plant.

If all these do not help, we need to go a bit modern with technology.

We might need to use a radio that can help with birds’ distress sound so that the sound will alert the bird that there is danger around.

On hearing the sound, the birds will not try to go anywhere near the plant.


Source: Houseplants and Ornamentals, Pet poison online, Toxic plants, and companion animals.

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