Popular among the houseplants, the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a plant that requires low maintenance and is easy to grow in any house. However, you might want to make sure if it is safe to keep this plant and if the ZZ plant is toxic to pets?
ZZ plants are poisonous to both humans and pets. They can cause allergies such as irritation on the skin or eyes if their sap comes in contact. ZZ plant can also cause nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and diarrhea if ingested. But in most cases, these plants are safe until ingested in large quantities.
Your pets may have some adverse health impact if they end up ingesting a significant portion of the plant. In most cases, this is unlikely to happen, but it is recommended to stay cautious.
In 2010, there was a rumor that ZZ plants can cause cancer! People started believing, but it was proved wrong. ZZ plants are poisonous but don’t cause cancer.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the details of what adverse impact the ZZ plant can have on humans and pets.
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How Poisonous Is The ZZ Plant?
ZZ plants belong to the Araceae family of poisonous plants. However, ZZ plants are not very poisonous as compared to some other houseplants.
ZZ plants can cause minor allergies such as skin irritation if you come in contact with the sap. The allergic reaction is subject to how sensitive the person touching the plant is.
If the ZZ plant leaves are ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The best way to handle ZZ plants would be to wash your hands thoroughly after touching the plant so that the sap doesn’t spread to sensitive areas like the eyes.
You can use gloves while handling the ZZ plant as well.
What Makes The ZZ Plant Poisonous?
The sap of the ZZ plant contains calcium oxalate that causes kidney stones in humans. This sap has a high concentration of calcium oxalate, making all the parts of the plant poisonous.
Calcium Oxalate is a salt, and the plant contains this salt in crystal form. This crystal has exceptionally sharp edges. So, when this sap enters the body, the body starts to react and shows symptoms.
ZZ plant poisonous to pets
ZZ plants are toxic both for humans and their pets. But the ZZ plant is not fatal for either.
If your pets contact the ZZ plant, they may have skin inflammation or irritation in the eyes and mucus membranes.
If they consume the leaves or any part of the plant, they can have a stomach ache, and they might show the following symptoms:
- Oral pain
- Reduced appetite
Your pets will go through some discomfort, but they will get better with a bit of care and love.
Is ZZ plant toxic to cats?
ZZ plants are considered toxic to cats.
If your cats ingest any part of the ZZ plant, it will affect the cat’s digestive system.
If the cat has consumed many leaves of the ZZ plant, the problem might be severe, but otherwise, it will get well soon.
Let’s look at the signs that you will notice if your cat has consumed any part of the ZZ plant.
- Oral pain
- Swollen mouth
- Reduced appetite
If you notice any of these signs, you must rush your cat to a vet immediately.
Is ZZ plant toxic to dogs?
Similar to cats, ZZ plants can also prove to be toxic for dogs.
If the dogs touch or ingest any part of the ZZ plant, it will cause skin irritation and oral irritation, respectively.
In your dogs, you will notice symptoms such as:
- Oral irritation
- Intestinal problems
You need to rush your dog to a vet if the signs are severe. Else, let them rest and serve them with some yogurt in their diet to stabilize the balance of good bacteria in their gut.
Is ZZ plant toxic to small animals?
If you have small pets such as guinea pigs or hamsters, or rabbits, you should keep them away from the ZZ plant.
The calcium oxalate, which is present in every part of the plant, are sharp-edged crystals that are not good for these small pets.
If these small animals come in contact with the ZZ plant, they will develop inflammation on the skin or eyes.
If not taken care of, it can get lethal for the small animals. So it would be best if you tried to keep your small pets away from the ZZ plant.
You can keep the plant at a certain height so that your pet cannot reach them easily. You can also restrict the movement of your pets in the space where such plants are kept.
How to treat pets?
If your pets show symptoms, you need to do these:
- Remove any part of the plant that is still in their mouth
- Encourage your pet to drink water
- Encourage your pet to eat
Pets may have a reduced appetite after being affected by the ZZ plant. It would be best to encourage your pet to eat to help the body pass toxins and any remaining parts of the plant.
If your pets start vomiting, they will lose a lot of water from their body. Dehydration is terrible, and you need to take care of your pet and help them consume enough water to avoid any problems.
How to treat humans?
Humans show symptoms such as swelling of lips, tongue, and throat, which can be pretty extensive, and in some cases, there can be breathing problems as well.
If the sap of the plants has entered your or someone’s eyes, wash it thoroughly with water and call someone who can take you to the hospital.
It would be best if you got the sap out of your eyes.
If somebody has ingested any part of the ZZ plant –
- Take the remaining plant material away from the mouth.
- Gargle the mouth properly to get rid of the sap.
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- Eat food like ice cream or milk that can wash away the sharp crystals and soothe the affected area.
In case of any severity or emergency, consider calling the emergency number.
A small leaf or so will not do much harm if ingested. However, if consumed in large quantities, it can lead to severe diseases.
How to grow a ZZ plant safely?
It is not dangerous to have a ZZ plant at your home. ZZ plants may be mildly toxic, but you can grow them safely if you take care of some essentials.
Wash hands and use gloves
There might be many reasons for you to touch your ZZ plant. You might want to propagate it or repot it or check the roots.
In any case, whenever you are touching the ZZ plant, make sure you are washing your hands thoroughly after that.
Washing hands will help wash off the sap that might cause irritation or spread to other body parts.
You can also use gloves whenever you touch the ZZ plant. It will also protect your skin.
Please keep it away from small children and pets
You might not be able to keep children and pets away from the ZZ plant, so it is recommended that you can move the ZZ plant instead.
You can keep the ZZ plant at a height where the pets and children can’t reach. You can also use plant shelves to keep the plants. (I Personally love this plant shelf that I bought from Amazon)
If it is somehow not possible for you to keep the ZZ plants away from your dogs or cats, you can spray some neem oil regularly to deter your pets from munching on it.
You may also want to spray some dilute vinegar solution on the ZZ plant.
Cats and dogs do not like strong odors and will stay away.
Research and learn about your ZZ
If you are aware that your ZZ plant is toxic and can cause certain problems, you will be able to deal with most of it already.
Knowledge about the plant and its toxicity will help you find ways to keep your plant safe so that you get all the benefits without anyone getting harmed.
Benefits of ZZ plant
Before you start thinking about why people opt for ZZ plants, let me tell you that this plant has many benefits that you can’t overlook. Some of the key points are listed below:
Great air purifiers
As per NASA Clean Air Study, the ZZ plant is a great air purifier and can remove toxins from your house.
We spend a lot of time indoors, and indoor air pollution can be hazardous to our health. ZZ plants can get the toxins out by absorbing the air pollutants and can add freshness to the air.
Requires low maintenance
Maintenance is the primary reason why people like to have ZZ plants in their homes.
You don’t have to pay a lot of attention to this forgiving plant.
If you are a busy individual but love to have plants in your living space, this plant will be the right match for you.
With their lustrous glossy leaves, ZZ plants can make your home or office space look fantastic.
ZZ plants have a medium size that will be ideal for your space to make it look aesthetically pleasing.
Requires less watering
Unlike most other plants, ZZ plants are adapted to survive droughts. These plants need less water, and you can water your ZZ plant once a week if the soil has dried out.
Also read: How much water do ZZ plant need?
7 Must Have Indoor Gardening Supplies!
ZZ plants are hardy plants that can survive under challenging conditions. It can survive in both bright and low light. And it doesn’t grow massive in size, which makes the maintenance relatively easy. ZZ plants have fewer disease or pest problems.
Also read: How fast do ZZ plant grow?