Snake Plant Toxicity to Dogs
Typically found as an indoor plant as well as outside in pots, Snake Plants (Mother in law’s tongues) are a popular houseplant. Despite the fact that dogs do not normally chew on unsuitable objects like plants, the risk does not count for nothing. In any case, whether it is a curious little puppy or a bored dog, they could easily consume houseplants, or even outdoor ornamental plants. Well, it is correct to say that the snake plant can be toxic for dogs. Generally speaking, all Sansevieria species are not poisonous to humans. However, they can cause gastrointestinal problems. Stay tuned for more information about the toxic components of this plant, symptoms of toxicity, prevention methods, and first aid precautions.
Even though snake plants can cause problems for your dog, it’s very unlikely that they will take a lot. The snake plant has a bitter taste that causes immediate burning sensations to the mouth, so animals usually do not crave another bite.
Why is Snake Plant Toxic
The Snake plant is commonly referred to as Sansevieria Trifasciata which is an evergreen plant which is kept at homes for its air purifying qualities. They have impressive foliage and don’t require much maintenance, so they are some of the best houseplants for keeping either indoors or outdoors. Humans are usually not poisoned by snake plants because of their normally low or no toxicity.
Nevertheless, that does not mean they would not affect our animal friends. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), snake plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. Saponin, a poison produced by the plant, has the potential to trigger distressing reactions. Animals such as kittens, puppies, dogs or cats can suffer mild to moderate toxicity if they consume the snake plant in any form.
You shouldn’t be too worried about this, especially if you already own your own dog and snake plant. This article will conclude with some suggestions on how to stop your pets from eating the plants.
The overall fatality rate of snake plants is low since their toxicity is mild and they do not have any poisonous leaves. Additionally, there is another fact that reduces the chances of life threatening intoxication from consuming snake plants. Bitter in taste, this plant’s parts can be reported as non-palatable. Hence, your dog will probably stop eating the plant in favor of another treat. Furthermore, it is unlikely that your pet could tolerate sufficiently large quantities of the plant to create a harmful level of exposure. Most dogs will have mild to moderate gastrointestinal reactions, but the pet most likely will not develop toxicosis.
What is Saponin?
This chemical, known as Saponin, is the component that causes snake plants to be toxic to pets. It is produced naturally to serve as an insecticide and a fungicide. Also it makes the snake plant bitter, which also protects the plant from other microbes. Saponin is the chemical responsible for making snake plant bitter.
What does Saponin do?
Despite its effectiveness in keeping insects and fungus at bay, saponin isn’t good for humans and pets. Ingesting the compound Saponin causes toxic reactions in living creatures and causes adverse gastronomic reactions in people and animals. It is also possible for the juices of the plant to cause skin dermatitis. Dermatitis is usually associated with creating rashes and irritation of the skin.
Animals and humans can develop severe allergic reactions by chewing or consuming the snake plant in excess. These reactions can result in swelling of part of the esophagus and the oral cavity. This can end up being deadly in the worst case scenario.
Which parts of snake plants are poisonous?
Several mildly poisonous chemicals are found in the Mother-in-law’s tongue, such as saponins and organic acids. Saponins are found throughout the plant’s entire structure. Since snake plant parts are toxic, all parts of it should be avoided, particularly the long upright leaves and stem. Saponin is present in the plant’s upright leaves and stem, both easily accessible parts. Occasionally snake plants bloom, producing fragrant white flowers with a greenish hue resembling lilies. As the blossoms mature, colorful berries begin to appear. These fruits are also poisonous, so they should not be eaten.
However, since dogs are covered in fur, they are unlikely to come into contact with the sap or juice if their bodies are exposed to it.
Will a snake plant kill my dog?
Your pet does not need to worry about being poisoned by these snake plants because the toxicity level is very low. In most cases, ingesting the toxins has a weak impact, usually just causing stomach upset.
As explained above, it is still very unlikely that your dog just consumed a large amount of toxins, but if he did, it might be dangerous. The key is to seek medical treatment right away. Early detection and treatment will greatly improve the chances of your dog recovering well in a few days.
Shortly speaking, snake plants will not harm your dog. But it is highly recommended to consult a veterinarian after you notice signs of symptoms. It’s always better to be safe and consult your vet, even if you don’t see any symptoms, but your dog has ingested the plant.
Snake plants have a bitter taste coupled with a burning sensation in the mouth, so the plant is not edible. However, some dogs may be curious to taste it. Pets can suffer some common symptoms after consuming the plant’s parts. As the plant is highly indigestible, these symptoms are mainly related to gastrointestinal tract problems. You should look for the following symptoms of poisoning after your dog consumed snake plants:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of organs such as tongue, mouth, lips, throat
Any of these symptoms should be taken to your veterinarian immediately if noticed. You still need to take your dog to the vet if you’re not sure your dog absorbed the plant. These signs can be related to poisoning and can be caused by different things.
You must ensure that your dog doesn’t eat the snake plant further after it has eaten it. Try to remove any visible bits of leaves that are in the dog’s mouth or on its teeth.
Please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) immediately. You may also contact local poison control centers if these do not work for some reason.
Cut a leaf sample from the snake plant and take it to the vet with you so they can identify the species.
Make sure you know the exact or approximate quantity of plant your dog consumed, as well as when it was consumed.
You should not attempt to make your dog vomit unless your vet says to do so. Traditional home remedies are often dangerous for dogs.
Drink enough water to prevent dehydration due to diarrhea on your dog.
There may be visible bite marks on plant leaves other than the symptoms described above. Your dog’s mouth may be filled with parts of the plant. You must take the full medical history of your dog with you to the clinic. This will enable the vet to discover any potential complications or risks. Provide information about all the houseplants you keep inside as well as outside, since many are toxic for dogs.
Veterinarians can perform physical examinations to check for any abnormalities. Other vital functions will also be determined, such as the dog’s temperature and blood pressure. An organ function test and urine test might be recommended to assess the health condition of your individual organs.
The treatment of snake plant poisoning in dogs does not have any specifics. Affected dogs usually undergo treatment as symptoms develop. There will be cases in which no treatment is needed, while there will be others that will require an inpatient stay.
Removing plant material
Veterinarians first ensure that the dog’s mouth is free of plant matter before they begin any further treatments. If necessary, the mouth should be flushed with water to remove any bits of leaves left on the teeth or cavities. Vets may decide to induce vomiting on your dog if it has not been vomiting. By doing this, your pet will expel the remaining plant parts and reduce digestion of toxins.
Plant poisoning is treated using certain options to promote fast recovery. Antihistamines, for instance, are used to reduce swelling and open airways in cases of allergic reactions. A veterinarian may prescribe a few medications after a thorough examination.
Kapetolin – used to protect the stomach lining of dogs by providing them with a layer of protection.
Sucralfate – acting on digestive acids by creating a protective barrier and reducing gastrointestinal irritation
Vets may also administer electrolytes through an IV drip to dogs who have become dehydrated from excessive vomiting or diarrhea.
Since snake plants are mildly toxic, they are unlikely to kill your pet. Dogs who ingest this plant are expected to make a full recovery in just a few days. Usually it takes 1-2 days. During the recuperation period, make sure to take special care of your dog. Make sure that the medicine regimen is followed carefully to ensure a quick recovery.
You must give your dog any special food recommended by your veterinarian at the specified time. If your dog vomited after eating or taking the medicine, wait about 12 hours before feeding again. If possible, feed the dog a mixture of small chunks of skinned and boned chicken breasts with boiled rice. You can also use chicken baby food. By gradually reducing the amount of chicken and rice over the next two days, you will be able to transition gradually to regular dog food.
How to prevent your dog from eating houseplants?
Houseplants are beautiful and make wonderful additions to any home or office. However, several beautiful plants such as snake plants or Sansevieria are not pet-friendly. It is possible to avoid discomfort or potential disaster even though many plants do not pose a danger.
Here are a few prevention tips so that your pets will not ingest the house plants you have.
If your dog can reach the plant, then move it to a higher shelf in your home. Especially if you have small dogs or puppies, it will make it hard for them to climb and eat the plant.
Keep your Sansevieria in a room your dog cannot enter. Keep the door closed so that your dog can’t get into the room.
The pot rims can be scented with a lemon or orange fragrance to repel pets. They don’t like the citrus smell.
One other good idea is to sprinkle cinnamon in the stalks of your snake plant. It will not only act as a natural insecticide, but it will also protect your snake plant from fungi and insects.
You may choose to remove snake plants from your home and place them outdoors for extra protection. Snake plants can thrive almost anywhere and are quite hardy.
Keep your dog indoors to protect it from toxic plants growing outdoors so that you are in full control of what it is exposed to.