Snake plants, also known as sansevieria trifasciata or mother-in-law’s tongue, are popular houseplants that are easy to care for and have striking foliage. However, if you have a furry friend at home, you might wonder: are snake plants toxic to dogs?
The answer is yes; snake plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. This article will explain the causes of snake plant poisoning, the symptoms to look out for, and the treatment options available. We will also share some important information on how to prevent your pet from ingesting this plant and what other toxic houseplants to avoid.
Causes of Snake Plant Poisoning
The main cause of snake plant poisoning is the ingestion of any part of this plant. Snake plants’ leaves, stems, roots, and flowers contain toxic substances called saponins and calcium oxalate crystals. These substances can irritate your pet’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines and cause gastrointestinal distress.
Saponins are natural chemicals that act as detergents and foaming agents. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, nausea, and loss of appetite in your pet. They can also damage the red blood cells and cause hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) in severe cases.
Calcium oxalate crystals are microscopic needle-like structures that can pierce the tissues of your pet’s mouth and throat. They can cause swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat and difficulty breathing, swallowing, and speaking. They can also cause kidney damage in large amounts.
Symptoms of Snake Plant Poisoning
The symptoms of snake plant poisoning may vary depending on the amount and part of the plant ingested, the size and weight of your pet, and the time elapsed since ingestion. However, some common signs to watch out for include:
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty speaking
- Oral pain
- Hemolysis (in severe cases)
- Kidney failure (in severe cases)
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet after they have been exposed to a snake plant, you should seek veterinary help immediately. Snake plant poisoning can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Treatment of Snake Plant Poisoning
The treatment of snake plant poisoning will depend on the severity of the condition and the symptoms present. However, some general steps that your veterinarian may take include:
- Inducing vomiting: This may be done if your pet has ingested a large amount of the plant and if it has been less than two hours since ingestion. This can help remove some of the toxic substances from the stomach and prevent further absorption.
- Administering activated charcoal: This may be done if your pet has ingested a large amount of the plant and if it has been more than two hours since ingestion. Activated charcoal can bind to some of the toxic substances in the gastrointestinal tract and prevent further absorption.
- Providing intravenous fluids: This may be done to prevent dehydration and flush out some of the toxins from the kidneys.
- Providing anti-inflammatory drugs: This may be done to reduce swelling and inflammation in the mouth and throat.
- Providing painkillers: This may be done to relieve oral pain and discomfort.
- Providing oxygen therapy: This may be done if your pet has difficulty breathing due to swelling or hemolysis.
- Providing blood transfusion: This may be done if your pet has severe hemolysis or anemia due to red blood cell damage.
- Providing supportive care: This may include monitoring vital signs, checking blood tests, providing nutritional support, and keeping your pet comfortable.
Recovery of Snake Plant Poisoning
The recovery time of snake plant poisoning will depend on the severity of the condition and the treatment given. However, most pets recover within a few days to a week with proper veterinary care. Some pets may need longer hospitalization or follow-up visits if they have kidney damage or other complications.
To prevent further exposure to snake plants or other toxic houseplants, you should keep them out of the reach of your pets or remove them from your home altogether. You should also check your garden or yard for wild plants that may poison your pets.
Some other common toxic houseplants that you should avoid or keep away from your pets include:
- Peace lily
- Allium species (onions, garlic, chives)
- Aloe vera
- Sago palm
Snake plants are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause gastrointestinal distress, oral irritation, hemolysis, kidney failure, and even death in severe cases. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of this plant, you should seek veterinary help immediately.
To prevent snake plant poisoning or any other toxic houseplant poisoning in your pets, you should keep these plants out of reach or remove them from your home. You should also educate yourself on what other plants are poisonous to your pets and how to recognize the symptoms of poisoning.
We hope this article has provided useful information on snake plants’ toxicity to dogs. Remember that your pets depend on you for their safety and well-being. So always be vigilant and careful when it comes to their environment and diet.