Are Dieffenbachia Toxic To Dogs?

Plants are an excellent addition to a home. They add to the interior design and are incredibly therapeutic. Taking care of a plant can help you become more responsible. It can allow you to rise above your needs for that of another.

However, not all plants are a great match for all homes. Before getting a plant, it is recommended that you check your family’s requirements. The dieffenbachia might not be a good choice if you have a dog or even a small child. This is because the plant can be highly toxic.

Before answering the question, “are dieffenbachia toxic to dogs,” let’s dive a bit deeper.

Dieffenbachia Sterling Houseplant - Dieffenbachia - Live Plant

What is Dieffenbachia?

Dieffenbachia is extremely toxic for humans and animals, including dogs. It is especially harmful to toddlers and pets who cannot resist walking up to the plant and pulling its leaves or stem. This plant can cause slurred speech and other issues that can lead to fatality when ingested.

The dieffenbachia plant is one of the most popular tropical perennial indoor plants. Most people in the USA love to add this plant to their living room or large spaces where it can grow and spread its leaves. However, its beautifully colored oval leaves can often lead to toxicity.

The dieffenbachia has beautifully colored leaves which grow up to 20 inches long. It can also get as tall as 10 feet. However, people usually trim the plant from the top to avoid letting it spread indoors.

The dieffenbachia can grow fast; under the right conditions, it can cover a major part of your living room. This plant needs a lot of light to grow. In the past, it has been popularly known as the Dumb Cane Plant. Recently, this nickname has been left behind for a much more sophisticated scientific name.

Remember that a dieffenbachia’s inherent toxic nature is through no fault of its own. Dieffenbachias are beautiful plants that are a sight for sore eyes. If you have purchased one and realize it is toxic for your pet, it is best to give it away to someone who wants to take care of it.

A plant requires just as much responsibility as a pet. They are just as worthy of love and affection as your beloved pets. If you want to keep the plant, perhaps look for a room your dog never enters.

Dieffenbachia Compacta (Tropical Snow) - 8'' from California Tropicals

Check here: Can You Grow Dieffenbachia From Cuttings?

Why is Dieffenbachia Toxic to Dogs?

You must be wondering that if these plants are so beautiful and popular, why do many pet owners fear them? The fear is primarily due to their toxicity. Dieffenbachia can be highly toxic and have dire consequences if swallowed. Here’s why;

1. A Dog’s Nature

The dieffenbachia plant isn’t a small plant that can be hidden in a corner and avoided. It is a big plant with beautiful variegated leaves that become the center of attention whenever guests come over. Why, then, would your dog miss it?

With beautiful leaves that flower, this plant is a popular attraction for pets in the home. With many different varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes of plants in the USA, it can be impossible to know if your dieffenbachia is poisonous to your dog or not.

However, every pet owner would want to avoid testing that fact. If you want to grow dieffenbachia, or if there is one that is planted in your backyard, take extra care of your dog whenever you let it out.

Dogs are inquisitive by nature and are known to get involved in fights with bees, other dogs, bunnies, and anything else they can find in the backyard. Who knows when they’d decide to tackle your dieffenbachia to the ground!

Most dogs love chewing on anything interesting (or beautiful) that they can find. This can be your shoe or that dieffenbachia you have planted outside. These plants can cause severe allergic reactions that can quickly get dangerous.

If your dog shows signs of poisoning, don’t wait it out. Visit the vet immediately!

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2. The Dieffenbachia’s Qualities

The reason why dieffenbachia is toxic is due to its inherent qualities. The plant contains crystals that are used as a repellant by people who don’t want pets trampling their plants in their backyards. However, when ingested in large quantities, these can be dangerous.

Within the stem or leaf of a dieffenbachia, you will usually find enzymes and acids in the form of crystals that can release into the dog’s mouth or stomach and cause poisoning.

Also read: How to Keep Cats from Pooping in Your House Plants?

What Qualifies as Dieffenbachia Poisoning?

How does one know if a dieffenbachia plant has poisoned a dog? One great way to understand is through some of the general reactions that dieffenbachia is known for.

  • Ingesting the stem or leaves can lead to irritation, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea.
  • If the crystals burst in the mouth, they can lead to swelling or blistering.
  • A dog severely allergic to the plant can experience hives or breathing issues.
  • Contact can lead to mild or severe irritation, which depends on the situation.

Symptoms of Dieffenbachia Poisoning

It is important to notice some of the warning signs of dieffenbachia poisoning. This is so that you can take your pet to the hospital before the symptoms worsen. Dogs have different digestive systems, and the timing can make a difference.

Here are some of the symptoms of dieffenbachia poisoning;

  1. Your dog refuses to eat anything
  2. Your dog starts to drool or lick his mouth and lips repeatedly
  3. You notice rashes and blisters inside its mouth
  4. You notice a drastic change in mood
  5. Your dog starts to vomit or experience loose stools

In severe cases, your dog might start to gag, as excessive swelling can cause a reaction that blocks air. Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible to avoid wasting precious time.

Dieffenbachia Camouflage Tropical Live Houseplant in 4" Pot (Ships from Malibu Tropical Nursery in California)

Also check: Houseplants That Like Wet Soil

Dieffenbachia Poisoning FAQs

Understanding dieffenbachia poisoning is much less important than realizing the steps you need to take if the plant has poisoned your dog. Here are some of the frequently asked questions relating to severe dieffenbachia poisoning.

1. Can my vet find out if my dieffenbachia is poisonous?

If your dog has recently experienced an allergic reaction, you might wonder if it was because of your dieffenbachia. If you think your dieffenbachia is not toxic and expect your vet to diagnose the dog with a different allergy, that might be a bit difficult.

Not all vets can diagnose whether your dieffenbachia poisoned your dog. The dog will need to undergo a battery of tests to rule out other allergies or major diseases before the vet can attempt to diagnose your dieffenbachia! That’s a lot to handle for a dog that recently suffered a traumatic reaction.

2. How will my dog be treated for dieffenbachia poisoning?

The treatment depends from doctor to doctor. However, it will always begin with a diagnosis. A sample of your dieffenbachia plant can aid this process. Try to be honest with the doctor and tell him exactly what happened along with your dog’s medical history.

A doctor will attempt a diagnosis through physical symptoms, examinations, and blood tests, amongst other tests. Don’t worry. All of this is necessary to determine whether your dog is well. You’ll be in and out in no time!

After the dog gets through the diagnosis, the doctor will recommend different treatments depending on the situation. If the dog’s eyes were exposed to the plant, they might be cleaned, and medicine will be provided.

Skin irritations are usually treated through the same process. The area is cleaned, and a solution is applied on top. If the doctor recommends keeping your dog under observation, trust the process! A vet only wants what’s best for your dog!

3. How can I make my dog feel better?

 Give away the dieffenbachia! In fact, deep clean your house and pretend you never owned it!

Yes! The best way to help your dog feel better is to prevent the event from repeating itself. After you take your dog home from the vet, it is crucial to aid its recovery by overseeing it for some days. Try to follow your doctor’s advice regarding food and aftercare.

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Final Thoughts

It is essential to ask your family members for their opinion before investing in any plant. A dog can’t give its opinion, but you can surely speak on its behalf. Now that you know that a dieffenbachia plant is toxic to dogs, you’d think twice before putting both in the same room.

Of course, plants can be just as precious for people as pets. However, their safety is your responsibility. Choose between the two and keep the other safe. Perhaps that would be the best decision for the plant and your dog!

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