Rubber plants produce toxins to safeguard themselves against pests and other threats. They release such enzymes and toxins so that herbivores don’t consume them. Rubber plants are popular indoor plants, and everyone loves them. But are rubber plant toxic for our pets? Let’s find out!
Rubber plants can be toxic to your pets including dogs and cats. Ficus Elastica’s sap has active ingredients known as caoutchouc, which causes major damage to animals and humans. It can also lead to mouth or gut irritation and allergies in some instances.
Rubber plants, with thick, shiny leaves, are moderately toxic to animals. Ficus elastica has irritating sap when their stems and leaves are cut. This sap irritates the skin and harms the digestive system if eaten, usually starts with mouth irritation and swelling.
That does not mean we are stopping you from keeping these lustrous plants at home; instead, you should be well informed before having one or if you have one already.
We will cover everything related to the toxicity of rubber plants and whether they should be kept in contact with your pets or not. Also what you can do if your pet came in contact with one.
Table Of Contents
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Is rubber plant pet friendly?
Rubber plants are not pet-friendly at all. Rubber plants may not lead to the death of your pet but will create several problems for them. If ignored, the poison inside can lead to a more significant issue.
These plants should be kept away from all kinds of pets, including dogs, cats, small pets, and birds.
They produce unpleasant sticky sap when you cut leaves and stems from the rubber plant. This sap contains an enzyme called ficin and compounds such as psoralen that might attack DNA. They can severely harm pets if ingested.
Pets will not like to play with or around rubber plants much, because if by any chance the stems or leaves of the rubber plant punctured off, your pet will feel irritation.
If your pets like to bite on plants, then rubber plants are indeed not the one to play with. The poison will cause swelling in their mouth or affect their intestine.
How toxic are rubber plants?
Rubber plants’ level of toxicity is moderate but highly depends on the amount of the bite munched by your pet. They are rarely fatal, and you can cure your pet by taking instant action. The larger the bite, the huge will be the sufferings.
You will see symptoms like swollen mouth area, vomiting, or drooling if your pet has taken a bite on your rubber plant. Check the plant to get the idea of the quantity of the bite taken by your pets.
The University of California ranks the toxicity level of rubber plants in class 4 (least dangerous). They have a triggering effect if contact with the skin, and you might need a doctor but are easily curable.
Immediately taking action is extremely important by reaching out to your vet rather than trying remedies on your own. This will worsen the condition.
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Signs of rubber plant poisoning?
Rubber plants, if ingested by your pets, can cause gastrointestinal tract and irritation around the mouth. The sap, if touched by the pets frequently, can irritate their skin.
Just by touching the rubber plant sap, you can figure out its toxicity. They are irritating on humans’ skin too to some extent, especially if you are sensitive.
- Lack of coordination
- Oral irritation
- Decreased appetite
- Skin irritation
No matter which part of the plant is ingested by your pet, the entire rubber plant is toxic, and it instantly starts showing the effects.
We are further going into details about the signs and the pets that are affected.
Which pets are vulnerable to rubber plant poisoning?
All pets including dogs, cats, small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs and birds are all vulnerable to rubber plant poisoning.
Pets are curious and unknown to what is good and what is bad for them. They like to play around depending upon which species they are.
Not all houseplants are friends to pets. When we say pets, we generally first think of cats and dogs, and we need to protect them from some houseplants that can harm your pets.
If any of your pets eat rubber plants, the sap will stick in their mouth and dry like rubber, causing oral discomfort. We are not saying a bite or two will kill your pet but will become a reason for many other problems.
If your pets are curious and love to play around with your plants, choose a relatively less toxic member of the rubber plant. Peperomia is an excellent option, safe for both cats and dogs. They are small babies like a plant.
Keep your rubber plant possibly out of reach from your pets for a peaceful life.
Is the rubber plant toxic to cats?
Rubber plants are clinically proved to be toxic for your cats.
They affect the digestive system of the cat. The amount of the part of the plant eaten will decide how much impact it will have on your pets.
They might not suffer for long; the symptoms will be gone in a few hours. In many cases, we don’t even know that our pets have chewed these plants. To check for cats, look for signs like:
- Decreased appetite
- Reddened lips
- Reddened mouth
- Swollen mouth
- Oral discomfort
Is Rubber dangerous to dogs?
Rubber plants are considered by the Animal poison control center to be toxic for dogs.
If touched or ingested by the dogs, their sap can irritate skin and oral irritation, vomiting at first.
If your dogs consume a large amount then, look for symptoms like:
- Lack of coordination
- Oral irritation
- Intestinal issues
Is Rubber dangerous to birds?
Rubber plants are listed to be mildly toxic and fatal to your birds too, due to their poisonous sap.
Birds have a sensitive respiratory system; they like to chew on plants. This can cause pain in their stomach and make them sick.
The following are the symptoms to check in case of birds:
What to do if your pet ate a rubber plant?
Pets are unknown about the damage that will be caused by eating rubber plants. But as an owner, you should, without skipping a minute, run to your veterinarian or a local poison control center.
There is no measurement of type and amount of toxicity your pets are going through.
Treatment will be facilitated through physical examination of your pet, current symptoms, plus your observation.
You should provide your veterinarian with proper information about your pet’s recent behavior and contact with the rubber plants to identify possible reasons.
If you can tell your veterinarian the amount of plant ingested by your pet, that would help to a large extent.
It is recommended to take a sample of your rubber plant that your pet ingested.
A veterinarian is the best solution to your problem. They will check the symptoms and wash their mouth first to clean the poison.
Your vet may ask you to take your pet to the hospital in severe conditions, do not panic, and follow their instructions. Your pet will recover soon with supportive therapies.
How to keep rubber plants away from pets?
We know you love your houseplants as much as you love your pets and don’t want to get rid of anyone. That is why we have come up with easy solutions for you to figure out a way to keep them both happy and safe.
How to keep rubber plants away from dogs?
Keep your rubber plant at a height your dogs can’t touch even when stretching their body to reach out for the plant. Keep on shelves or long stands.
Citrus fruits have a pungent smell that bothers dogs. Spray some lemon juice or keep peels of lemon, orange, etc. nearby, and you will see your dogs avoiding that area.
Use cayenne pepper to keep your nosy dogs away. Just sprinkle around your rubber plant and see the magic. These peppers are irritant to your dog’s nose.
There are repellent sprays in the market that are very useful to keep your pets away from your rubber plant and other plants.
They are safe to spray wherever you feel like your pets are unwanted.
Spray them after every rainfall to safeguard your pets from getting into any trouble.
Potting marigolds can also work for keeping your dogs away from your rubber plant.
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How to keep rubber plants away from cats?
Cats also dislike the strong smell from citrus fruits like lemon, orange, etc. as soon as cats smell them will immediately run away.
All you need to do is sprinkle the lemon or orange juice or cut them and keep them around your rubber plants.
Stones besides can somewhat help you keep away your cats from your rubber plants. They like to roam around on sandy, smooth surfaces. These stones around your plants can keep cats away.
Coffee grounds mixed with soil can add up to a strong odor not appreciated by our cats.
Herbs like lavender and rosemary can also help to keep cats away from your plants.
How to keep rubber plants away from birds?
To keep your birds away from rubber plants, you can take help from ultrasonic trainers. They emit a sound that birds hate.
They are quite costly but helpful. These sounds will keep your birds far away from your plants.
An aluminum screening can be used as a protection from birds to your rubber plant. By bending the aluminum screening in U shape around the plant can help keep the birds away.
You can tie a few helium-filled balloons on the sides of the rubber plant. These balloons will scare birds and keep them away from your plants.
You can also hang rubber snakes around the rubber plants. Since birds are scared of snakes, this will help you to keep birds away from rubber plants.
Decorative scarecrows are also an excellent option to keep near the plants. Your birds will never go near them.
Source: Houseplants and Ornamentals, Pet poison online, Toxic plants, and companion animals.
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