pothos plant outdoors

If you’re a plant lover and a pet owner, you know just how conflicting those two things can be. Any time you think about bringing a new plant home, it’s imperative to figure out if they are a danger to your dogs. You can take safety precautions to prevent your dog from getting a hold of them, but it’s best to note the plants to keep them out of reach completely.

Unfortunately, if you have your eye on Pothos, they are toxic to dogs. Let’s talk more about it.

Pothos: Leaves, Stems, & Roots

Pothos is a vining houseplant that is incredibly common due to its easy maintenance and low light requirements. These little beauties look perfect in hanging baskets, on shelves, or by your favorite book stand.

A downside to that is all parts of the Pothos plant are toxic to dogs—including roots, stems, and leaves. We can’t blame your plant really–this is a defense mechanism helping protect them from harm. And luckily, toxicity is there, but one bite should deter your pet from any further offense, so it typically doesn’t do much damage long-term.

Pothos: Why Is It Toxic?

If your dog eats any part of the Pothos plant, it will cause instant irritation. The upside to this is that your dog likely won’t continue trying to consume it. The truly toxic component is called calcium oxalate crystals.

Once the plant is injured, it releases these crystals, causing instant discomfort for the offender. Even though these crystals are, in fact, toxic, they will likely only do mild to moderate damage.

Most of the time, you can monitor your dog after eating the substance for any effects. They will definitely feel the sting, but some dogs might not exhibit any other symptoms other than discomfort.

However, it will vary from case to case and involves symptoms such as:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Swelling
  • Inability to eat
  • Vomiting

The severity of symptoms also varies depending on how much was consumed, your dog’s weight, and particular sensitivities.

black dog vomiting on grass
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Visiting the Vet

Luckily, most encounters with Pothos end in a bit of discomfort you can remedy at home. However, in rare cases, your dog will have a super bad reaction and might need to see a vet.

If you think they are too swollen and they have trouble swallowing, it’s time to head in. Otherwise, you can save yourself a visit and monitor at home.

Don’t hesitate to contact your vet for professional guidance if you have any concerns in the meantime.

Put Your Pothos Out of Reach

Even though these plants are abundant and lovely, you have to ensure that your pup doesn’t snatch it. Because of its growth, it’s easy to use them in hanging baskets up out of your dog’s reach. You can easily put these plants high on a shelf or make your own hanging device.

If you have a room in the home your dog never goes to, that’s also an option, permitting that it provides enough sunlight.

If you’re a crafty person, there are tons of DIY planter hanger ideas on Pinterest, handmade items on Etsy, and commercial products available online and in stores.

Mending the Pothos Plant

So, what was the damage to your Pothos? Your dog probably snapped a leaf off or damaged a stem portion. Luckily, your Pothos is a very hardy life form. The plant should fare just fine, but you might have to trim unsightly damage for aesthetics.

Just keep the plant out of your dog’s reach to prevent repeat offenses!

pothos plant leaves
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Should You Keep These Plants Around Pets?

Keeping plants, especially toxic ones, around your pets is totally by choice. If you choose to keep toxic plants in your home alongside your furry companion, all you have to do is take some precautions.

Unlike cats, dogs can’t typically get up as high, though some are bound to try. If you keep your Pothos plant in a hanging basket up high on a shelf, they won’t have access to it.

Because of the easy-care aspect, you can keep them just about anywhere in the home as long as they receive some indirect, bright sunlight every day.

Pothos + Pets: Final Thoughts

So, now you know it’s essential to keep your pup from Pothos to prevent irritation. Luckily, it’s one of those plants that look great hanging up, so there are tons of cheap, cute, and easy placement solutions.

Some pet parents prefer keeping potentially toxic plants away from their dogs—just in case. That’s perfectly fine too! So, if you find yourself in a pickle, just give the plant to a friend and call it a day.


Featured Photo Courtesy: Pixabay