When you get a dog, do you ensure your house is dog-proof? Can you look around your surroundings and confidently say that your dog will be safe here? You might have installed a stair gate, covered all sharp corners around the house, concealed electric lines, and hidden all the human food to keep your dog safe. However, is this enough?
Have you ever thought about the snake plant adorning the corner of your room? It may look beautiful, but did you know that this plant that looks harmless to humans is toxic to dogs?
Let’s find out what makes the snake plant poisonous to dogs, what you should do if your dog ingests it by mistake, and what steps you can take to ensure that this plant is out of your dog’s reach.
Are Snake Plants Toxic to Dogs?
Commonly referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue, golden bird’s nest, and good luck plant, the snake plant is an indoor plant known for its air purification qualities. With the scientific name Sansevieria trifasciata, this plant is the most common in all United States but is highly toxic to dogs.
While the snake plant is excellent to keep indoors to get rid of harmful air and ensure that the air you breathe is clean and pure, it is terrible for your pet. This is because snake plants contain a chemical known as saponin, which is poisonous to dogs. In fact, even if you have a cat, you should keep it away from this plant.
If your dog ever happens to come into contact with a snake plant or accidentally chews on it, it might face a variety of symptoms depending on its size and the amount of plant it has ingested.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), some symptoms of saponin ingestion include excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, irritation, stomach pain, depression, and swelling around the pain.
If you catch your dog before it ingests too much of the snake plant, the poisoning will be mild. However, your dog’s blood cells could rupture in severe cases. Hence, you must visit the vet when you notice the first signs of poisoning. Any delay may only worsen your dog’s health, causing a more extended recovery period.
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Saponin – The Toxic Chemical in Snake Plants
Saponin is a chemical in snake plants that makes the plants toxic for dogs. Snake plants naturally produce this chemical as a natural fungicide and insecticide to protect the plant from pests.
Due to the production of this chemical, the plant tastes bitter and unappealing, causing most animals to be repulsed by it. Even though this plant does a great job of keeping fungus and insects away from the snake plant, it is terrible for dogs and humans.
When ingested, it leads to various gastronomical reactions within the body. Even the slightest physical contact with the plant can result in skin dermatitis- a skin disease that causes an outbreak of rashes.
If your dog chews on this plant, it will likely develop a bad allergic reaction. In severe cases, the reaction may cause the tissues in the esophagus and oral cavity to swell, becoming a threat to the dog’s life.
Symptoms of Snake Plant Toxicity in Dogs
If a dog tries to eat a snake plant, the first thing it will notice is the bitter taste of the plant combined with the instant burning sensation in the mouth, causing it to be repulsed by it. However, some dogs are more curious than others and might continue to eat the plant before realizing they do not like the taste.
Once the dog consumes the plant, it will start facing some symptoms of toxicity, usually caused by gastrointestinal issues, because of how indigestible the plant is. If your dog does not ingest too much of the plant, its symptoms should not be too severe.
Here is what you need to look out for:
- Loss of appetite
- Pain or discomfort in the abdominal region
- Swelling of the throat, lips, mouth, and tongue
- Extra drooling
If you find your dog showing any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit the vet immediately. If your dog hasn’t ingested the plant but has come into contact with it, we recommend taking it to the vet to rule out any potential poisoning.
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First Steps to Take If Your Dog Eats a Snake Plant
- If you catch your dog eating the snake plant, ensure that it doesn’t continue to eat it. Pull your dog’s mouth open and remove any remaining leaves you might find inside its mouth or on its teeth.
- Get in touch with your vet as soon as possible. If you cannot do so or your vet is unavailable, take your dog to a human poison control center- the experts there may be able to help.
- Try to figure out what kind of snake plant your dog has ingested. If you can, take a sample of the plant to the vet’s office so that they can start treatment immediately.
- Look at the plant your dog was chewing up and note the quantity it consumed. You must also remember the time your dog ate the plant so that you can tell the vet and look out for toxicity symptoms.
- Do not make your dog vomit until you have explicitly been told to do so.
- Do not try traditional home remedies, as these will cause more harm than good.
- Give your dog loads of water to drink so it does not get dehydrated. Diarrhea and vomiting usually lead to dehydration, but if you continue to give your dog ice cubes and cold water, it will not end up in the hospital.
- During your dog’s recovery period, do not allow it to return to its regular diet.
Apart from these symptoms, you might also notice your dog’s bite marks on the plants. Make sure to snap a picture so your vet can understand how much of the plant your dog has consumed. Moreover, when you go to the clinic, take your dog’s entire medical history, even if you feel like it is irrelevant.
Your dog’s medical history will give your vet insight into any risks or complications that could occur because of your dog’s medication. There are loads of houseplants apart from snake plants that are toxic to dogs, so make sure you have a list of the indoor plants.
You might think that your dog is facing symptoms of snake plant poisoning, but you never know- it could have also ingested other plants in your house before you noticed what it was doing.
Usually, vets will physically examine the dog to ensure no immediate abnormalities. Moreover, its blood pressure, temperature, and other vital functions will be studied. Your vet will also tell you to get a complete blood and urine test for your dog so that he can look at the organ functions and ensure that your dog’s body is not deteriorating from the inside.
How to Keep Your Dog Away from Snake Plants
Snake plant poisoning is not easy to deal with- your dog goes through hell, and seeing your dog’s poor condition may also cause you to worry. However, there are certain strategies you can adopt to ensure that your dog does not gain access to any snake plants around the house.
If you are not ready to get rid of this plant, you must take other measures to trick your dog. Start by training it so that it can understand what to eat and which areas around the house are off-limits.
This training is essential as it will ensure your dog stays away from plants that may cause potential poisoning. The best time to train your dog is when it is a young puppy to learn its boundaries and carry that knowledge into adulthood.
Another thing you can do is hide the snake plant from your dog by keeping it on high shelves that it cannot reach. Based on how big your dog is, you will have to get creative and ensure that your dog cannot gain access to the plant. If your plants are placed in a room at home, always shut the door so the dog does not find its way inside, even when you are not home.
You can also keep your dog away from toxic plants around the house by spraying them with natural repellents. You can spray some vinegar and extract from citrus fruits on the plant to act as an organic repellent, so your dog is not attracted to any plant.
If none of these strategies work, you will have no choice but to remove the snake plant from your house. This will ensure that your dog never experiences snake plant poisoning.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.