Are snake plants toxic to dogs?

Are snake plants toxic to dogs?

Snake plants are popular houseplants because of their tall sword-like leaves and unique variegation. These plants are also known for their air-purifying qualities. However, according to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the snake plant can be toxic to dogs and cats. 

If your dog has eaten a small part of the snake plant leaf, it might not affect your dog too much. However, if your pet consumes a large quantity, it can develop a severe allergic reaction. 

Since snake plant is a very common houseplant and having a pet dog is also not uncommon, you should be aware of snake plant’s toxicity to dogs. So, let’s dive right in.

Are snake plants toxic to dogs?

What makes snake plants toxic?

Snake plants contain a toxic compound called saponin, which is toxic to dogs. It is incredibly bitter and foams when it comes in contact with water. Saponins act as a natural pest repellent for plants. 

If your dog eats any part of the snake plant, the foaming property of saponin can upset your dog’s digestive system. It can cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and stomach pain.

If your pet ingests this plant in large quantities, it can develop a severe allergic reaction. 

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How much is snake plant toxic to dogs?

If you are worried that consuming snake plants can kill your dog, please relax. Generally, snake plant toxicity is mild and won’t kill your dog. However, if your dog consumes it in large amounts, it might be dangerous.

If ingested in large quantities, saponins can disturb normal cell activity, which can cause ruptured red blood cells. 

It is highly unlikely for your pet to consume snake plants in high quantities as it is very bitter. So, if your dog tries to chew this plant, it will be discouraged by its bitterness.

Which parts of the snake plant are toxic to dogs?

The entire snake plant has saponin, so all parts of snake plants are toxic if consumed, including leaves and stems.

Also, this plant blooms and produces fragrant flowers that resemble lilies. It also produces orangish-red berries. Both these flowers and the berries are also toxic.

The juice from the leaves of the plant is also poisonous and can cause skin irritation. Since the dog’s skin is covered with fur, it is protected, and this juice usually does not cause much harm to the dog’s skin.

What happens if my dog eats a snake plant?

If your dog has accidentally eaten the snake plant, he may show some common symptoms related to the gastrointestinal tract. Though the symptoms are not severe most of the time, your dog may show the following signs. 

  • Vomiting
  • Irritation or swelling around the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, immediately take your pet to the vet. Take a portion of the plant with your to show at the clinic.

 The vet may take stool and blood samples from your dog at the clinic. The treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms.

What to do if a dog eats a snake plant? – First-aid tips

Here are some of the steps to follow if your dog eats a snake plant – 

  • Confirm if it is the snake plant that has made your dog sick by checking for bite marks on the plant leaves. 
  • Make sure you put the plant out of reach so that your dog doesn’t eat it any further.
  • Remove any remnants of the snake plant leaves from your dog’s mouth.
  • Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water to prevent dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Check out how much plant your pet has consumed and the approximate time he swallowed it. Your vet will want to know all these details.
  • Contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center immediately. Timely treatment can prevent a lot of discomfort for your dog. 
What to do if a dog eats a snake plant?

What is the treatment for snake plant poisoning in dogs?

  • When you take your dog to the vet, they will perform a physical examination to check for abnormalities. They will also check your dog’s temperature, blood pressure, and other vital functions. A blood test or urine test may also be done to analyze organ function. 
  • If your dog is not throwing up, your vet may induce vomiting to pump the toxins out of the stomach. They may also give your pet activated charcoal to absorb the toxins that may not have been absorbed by the body yet.
  • If your pet is experiencing excessive diarrhea or vomiting, they may also administer fluid therapy to keep the pet hydrated.

Since snake plants are mildly toxic, the recovery is generally speedy and usually takes one or two days. Take good care of your dog during this period and follow your vet’s instructions.

If your vet has recommended some specific food, give that to your dog. 

How to prevent your dog from eating snake plants?

You can adopt these simple strategies to prevent your dog from eating snake plants –

Train your dog

Train your dog on what is ok to eat and what isn’t. This training can start when your pet is still a pup. This will help your pet know its boundaries and will keep it safe.

Keep the plant out of reach

Move your snake plant to an area where your dog cannot reach. Keep it on a high shelf or in a room where your dog cannot enter. 

Spray a pet repellent scent on the plant

Dogs dislike citrusy scents. Rub some lemon or orange rind on the rim or the planter. Spraying some vinegar near the plant will also act as a deterrent.

Spread cinnamon powder

Sprinkle some cinnamon powder in the plant soil. This will keep your pet away and act as a fungicide for your plant.

Clear out fallen leaves

Take care of your plant and remove any fallen leaves as your pet may be tempted to chew on them.

Final thoughts on – Are snake plants toxic to dogs?

Although snake plants are only mildly toxic to pets, they contain saponins – a toxin produced by plants to protect them from fungi, microbes, and insects. If ingested by dogs, this chemical can cause gastrointestinal upset. 

But this doesn’t mean that you need to give your snake plant away if you have a pet dog. You can maintain this gorgeous indoor plant and also keep your pet safe if you follow a few simple steps mentioned above.

Did you find these tips helpful? Or have you ever experienced your dog chewing on to your snake plant? Do share your experiences in comments below!

Are snake plants toxic to dogs?