Are Pothos Toxic to Dogs?

What are the effects of pothos on dogs? What should you do if your dog eats pothos? Read on to find out more about dogs and pothos.

Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy or Satin/Silk Pothos, is toxic to dogs and can cause irritation in a dog’s mouth and tongue. When ingested, it can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, and in worse cases, liver failure.

Reading on will tell you about what pothos is and why it is toxic to dogs. Specifically, you’ll find out what causes pothos poisoning in dogs and how to diagnose it. Then you’ll learn what the symptoms are of pothos poisoning in dogs. Next, you will learn more about the effects of pothos on your dog’s body and health. Finally, you’ll read about what to do when your dog eats a pothos plant.

What is a Pothos?

Pothos is a type of plant that is commonly found in many households. It is an increasingly popular houseplant because it’s low maintenance and easy to take care of. The variation that you are most likely to see in a home is Silk or Satin Pothos.

In nature, the Pothos is a tropical forest plant. It is native to India, China, Japan, and Australia. It has a vine-like appearance and has shiny and marbleized leaves. Now, they are available nearly worldwide because it makes for a wonderful addition to a house or apartment.

The Pothos has gained the name “Devil’s Ivy” due to being an invasive species that is hard to get rid of. They are resilient plants that will survive even in harsh conditions.

Causes for Pothos Poisoning in Dogs

The reason why pothos is toxic to dogs is that pothos plants produce calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are indigestible and do not dissolve when ingested. These crystals are present in the entire plant but have the highest concentration in the plant’s leaves.

If your dog consumes pothos leaves, instead of breaking down, the crystals cut and injure the tissues in your dog’s mouth. It causes irritation, inflammation, and even bleeding.

Diagnosing Pothos Poisoning in Dogs

The easiest way to tell if your dog has pothos poisoning is to check its mouth. You may spot swelling in your dog’s mouth or oral irritation. If you keep a pothos plant at home, you should be cautious of your dog getting too close to it and trying to eat its leaves.

You can also tell that your dog has pothos poisoning if it is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. This happens because the pothos is indigestible and the calcium oxalate crystals in its leaves can cause digestion problems in your dog’s stomach and intestines.

Pothos Poisoning Symptoms

Below is a table that will show you the common symptoms of pothos poisoning in dogs. Different symptoms tell you just how severe the poisoning is.

Here are the symtoms of mild, moderate, or severe pothos poisoning:

Mild pothos poisoningModerate pothos poisoningSevere pothos poisoning
Pawing at the mouthIrritation of the eyesVomiting
Irritation of the mouthExcessive droolingDiarrhea
Irritation of the lipsDifficulty swallowingFoaming of the mouth
Swelling in the gumsLethargySeizures
Irritation of the tongueCoughing or gaggingCalcium oxalate in the urine

If you suspect that your dog has ingested pothos, it’s important that you keep an eye on it and observe if they’re showing any of the symptoms listed above. When diagnosing pothos poisoning, you need to identify the symptoms right away so that you can take the next best step for your dog’s health.

Some of these symptoms can be identified on your own while others will need an exam at the vet. Luckily, dogs always show outward symptoms such as those in the mild pothos poisoning column so it should be easy to tell if your dog has accidentally eaten the leaves of a pothos plant.

When observing your dog, it’s good practice to write their symptoms down. That way, you will be prepared to answer any questions that your vet may ask should you take your dog to a clinic. Since your dog cannot answer your vet’s questions, your vet will gather all the information from you, as a responsible pet haver.

Can I Have a Pothos Plant if I Have a Dog?

Pothos plants may be toxic to dogs but this is only if your dog comes into contact with or ingests them. If you are someone with a green thumb and a love for pothos plants, having them at home should be safe as long as they are kept in places that your dog cannot reach.

Having a dog and a pothos plant in the same area shouldn’t cause any problem because the plants only become toxic once they’re eaten or get into your dog’s orifices like their eyes, nose, or mouth.

A good way to keep both a pothos plant and your dog safe is to keep the pothos plant in a hanging pot. Keep your pothos at a height that your dog cannot reach and regularly trim its vines so that your dog never has the chance to eat its leaves.

You can also train to avoid the pothos plants in your home. You can use simple positive and negative reinforcement to do this. When your dog is approaching your pothos plant, tell them “no” in a loud and assertive tone. Once your dog backs away from your pothos, reward them with a treat or affirming words and pats.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Pothos?

If your dog has eaten pothos, you should observe your dog. If you’re noticing signs of photos poisoning, you should take your dog to a veterinarian.

Observe Your Dog

If you are unsure of whether or not your dog has eaten any pothos leaves, the first action to take is to observe them. Keep an eye out for any symptoms that your dog might be showing and write them down.

You can refer to the table of symptoms above to check if your dog is showing any signs of pothos poisoning. You should also check your pothos plant to see if any leaves or vines have been ripped off or have gone missing.

Take Your Dog to Your Local Veterinarian

Once you are sure that your dog is experiencing pothos poisoning, the best and only thing to do is to take them to the vet. Although it is possible to rinse your dog’s mouth on your own to get rid of the calcium oxalate crystals, it can be difficult to accurately determine just how severe the poisoning is.

Older dogs may need an emergency trip to the vet if they experience pothos poisoning because their bodies cannot handle the toxins as well as younger dogs might. This goes the same for dogs that already have urinary or respiratory problems.

Treatment for pothos poisoning involves rinsing your dog’s mouth if there is irritation in their gums, tongue, or lips. If the poison causes respiratory problems, your vet will need to hook your dog up to an oxygen flow or place them in an oxygen cage. They may also give your dog an antihistamine to decrease any swelling.

If the pothos’ calcium oxalate has reached your dog’s urinary system, your veterinarian will need to flush the toxins out using fluid therapy. This is to prevent kidney failure from occurring by using liquids to prevent the crystals from forming in your dog’s kidneys and bladder.

Final Thoughts

Fortunately, pothos poisoning is often non-lethal to dogs. However, if left untreated, it can leave your dog with life-long health problems in their urinary and respiratory system.

It’s important that you are aware of the different symptoms that pothos poisoning can cause because this will tell you when your dog needs to go to the vet. Although it’s not lethal, your dog will still need to accept the care that they need so that they can have a speedy recovery.

As a responsible pet owner, you should always put your dog’s health and safety first. The best path to take is always prevention by either getting rid of pothos plants entirely or making them inaccessible to your pets. However, if it happens, it’s good to know what you should do to make sure your dog is alright.