Is Philodendron Poisonous?

Curious pets and children sometimes get into houseplants despite our best efforts. Some of the most beloved and popular houseplants are philodendrons, and they also happen to be toxic to varying degrees when ingested. If you aren’t sure what to do when your pet or child has tasted a plant, always consult a vet, doctor, or poison control center immediately. Philodendrons contain spiky calcium oxalate crystals in every part of the plant. These crystals are found in more than 215 different plant families and act as a defense mechanism to keep foraging animals away. Philodendrons are toxic to humans, dogs, cats, and other animals and can even be fatal when consumed in large enough quantities.


Is Philodendron Poisonous to Children?

Yes, philodendrons are mildly to severely poisonous to children depending on factors like quantity consumed. If a child comes into contact with the sap, they may experience a burning sensation on their hands. Wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Common signs of ingestion of a philodendron include swelling of the lips and mouth, blisters on the tongue, nausea, diarrhea, and difficulty swallowing and/or breathing. Give the child plenty of water or milk to drink while you call 911 or poison control.

Is Philodendron Poisonous to Dogs?

Yes, philodendrons are poisonous to puppies and dogs. Chewing or biting into a philodendron will cause irritation and burning. This immediate discomfort and a foul taste usually prevents dogs from swallowing parts of a philodendron. Ingesting the plant can cause vomiting, drooling, dilated eyes, decreased appetite, swelling, difficulty breathing and pain. Symptoms can be delayed for up to two hours. Call your veterinarian immediately if any of these symptoms appear or you believe your dog has consumed pieces of philodendron.


Is Philodendron Poisonous to Cats?

Yes, philodendrons are poisonous to kittens and cats. Most will stop chewing the plant as soon as the animal gets a hint of the bitter taste and stinging pain. The first symptoms usually are agitation, drooling, and pawing at the mouth and face. In severe cases, respiratory problems may occur. Provide your cat with plenty of fresh water or milk while you contact the veterinarian to ask about next steps. 

Is Philodendron Poisonous to Other Animals?

Yes, philodendrons are poisonous to other animals, including horses. The calcium oxalate crystals can penetrate the soft tissue in the mouths of any animal.

Symptoms Of Philodendron Poisoning

Always check with your doctor or veterinarian for guidance if you suspect philodendron poisoning. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Swelling of lips
  • Blisters in mouth
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing

Preventing Philodendron Poisoning

Here are some tips for preventing philodendron poisoning in children and animals. Make your plants smell unappetizing by sprinkling cayenne pepper or citrus peel on top of the soil. Use hanging planters to place plants up high where children and pets (including cats) can’t reach. Create a “garden wall”, a living wall installation using pocket planters. Give kids their own safe plant to care for like a non-toxic boston fern or a spider plant. Provide pets with wheat grass or catnip to nibble on. 

Pet Poison Helpline

If something were to happen to your furry friend, and you suspect that they are suffering from philodendron poisoning, there is a poison control hotline to call for 24/7 vet advice. It is called the Pet Poison Hotline, and their phone number is (855) 764-7661.

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 Author Aimée Minard - Published 3-24-2023