Snake plant also commonly known as good luck plant or golden birds’ nest is a native plant from Africa popular with householders and is often used as a houseplant in many homes.
No, snake plants are not pet friendly as this seemingly innocuous-looking beautiful plant is poisonous to pets.
The snake plant contains a deadly toxin called saponin. If your pet comes into contact with the plant or consumes its leaves, it can cause gastrointestinal issues and skin irritation.
Today we will be discussing why snake plant is not safe for your pets, what makes it toxic to them, what happens if your dog eats snake plants and the benefits of snake plant as a houseplant.
Are Snake Plants Pet-Friendly?
Snake plants, although great houseplants, are not safe to keep around pets, especially cats and dogs.
Some symptoms of snake plant poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, excessive drooling, inflammation and swelling around the mouth, stomach pain, and sadness.
Although the effects are usually mild, you might still need to take your pet to the veterinarian.
Saponin, a poisonous toxin found in the plant, can produce uncomfortable reactions. For pets, including kittens, puppies, dogs, and cats, the toxicity is low to moderate.
When an animal consumes any portion of the snake plant, it may result in poisoning.
However, you do not have to worry about your dog or cat rolling off dead after ingesting a snake plant.
The total fatality rate of snake plants is low across all species. Additionally, the plant’s taste is quite bitter. This makes it unpalatable for your dog to take large bitefulls.
The bitterness should convince your dog to avoid the plant.
What About Snake Plants That Make Them Toxic To Pets?
As we mentioned earlier, snake plants contain a toxin called saponin.
Saponin acts as a natural pesticide and fungicide. Additionally, it defends the plant from other bacteria.
Saponin is the molecule responsible for the bitter taste of the snake plant.
Although Saponin is effective at warding off insects and fungi, it is not safe for pets. Saponin is poisonous to living organisms.
It works by inducing digestive reactions in humans and animals when consumed.
Chewing or swallowing excessive amounts of any portion of snake plants increases the risk of serious allergic reactions in people and animals.
In worst-case situations, these reactions may cause the mouth cavity and esophagus tissues to expand.
What If My Dog Eats A Snake Plant?
If you have a snake plant in your house, you should watch out for the following symptoms in your dog:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Excessive saliva
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the tongue, mouth, and throat.
These symptoms could however mean different things. If your dog exhibits any of the aforementioned, take the dog to the veterinarian for an examination.
You can also provide first aid to your dog. Ensure it has plenty of water to drink. If possible, try to remove bits of the plant from its’ mouth and teeth.
Do not administer any treatment whatsoever to your dog except you are directed by your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian is in the best position to treat your dog.
Can I Have A Snake Plant With A Cat?
Snake plants are as dangerous to cats as they are to dogs.
Snake plant ingestion often produces the same symptoms in cats as well and it is also relatively low toxicity.
However, if you have a cat and a snake plant at the same time, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of your cat ingesting the plant. They include:
- Relocate the plant to somewhere the cat cannot go
- Place the plant higher
- Make the plant repulsing to the cat. You can do this by spraying citrus blends on the plant. Cats do not like the smell of citrus so it will keep them away.
- You can spray the snake plant with a pet spray.
- Give your cat other alternatives to chew or munch on. This could include toys or cat grass.
Having a snake plant does not stop you from owning a snake plant as well. Just ensure you keep the plant out of reach of the plant and you are good.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Snake Plant?
As much as the snake plant is poisonous to pets, it still has its benefits and if you can safely keep your animals away, then it will be great to have in your house for the following reasons:
- Produces Oxygen and Filters Air
Snake plants help to purify the air indoors. The plant is special in that it is one of the very few plants that can transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen at night.
Because of this, it is an excellent plant for bedroom décor, since it can assist in maintaining healthy airflow.
- Removes Toxic Air Pollutants
Snake plants are also one of the few plants that help in the removal of airborne toxins. Snake plants can absorb minuscule amounts of cancer-causing chemicals, making the air indoors healthier to breathe.
Some of the toxic materials it removes are carbon dioxide, xylene, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene and trichloroethylene to mention a few.
- Reduces The Effects of Allergies
The snake plant is also effective against airborne allergies. Snake plants release oxygen into the air and purify the air. This way, they help to reduce the effects of airborne allergens such as dander and dust.
- Low Maintenance
Snake plants are relatively easy to care for and as such can be owned by anyone including amateur gardeners. Snake plants can be grown both in direct sunlight and in shade. Dry air and drafts don’t affect them and they don’t die easily from underwatering. In other words, they are tough plants that rarely get infected.
- Easy Propagation
Snake plants are notoriously easy to propagate. No matter the species, snake plants do not require much to proliferate and grow.
To propagate a snake plant: cut the rhizomes as close as possible to the stem. Leave them in a glass jar with water to develop larger roots.
Then plant in a container with excellent drainage.
You can as well place the leaf-cutting in the glass jar to develop roots before planting it in the pot. Try this and watch your snake plant grow without a hitch.
What To Do If A Dog Eats A Snake Plant
If your dog consumes a bit of snake plant, he may get poisoning symptoms.
The majority of symptoms are modest and related to gastrointestinal distress. However, the rupture of the red blood cells is a more serious side effect that could occur.
This often requires more serious treatment. Once you notice your dog has had a snake plant, you can take the following steps:
- Ensure that the dog does not continue eating it.
- Attempt to remove any visible leaf fragments from the dog’s mouth and teeth.
- Immediately contact your veterinarian. You can also try the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
- If you are unable to reach any of these resources, local poison control centres may be able to assist you.
- Determine the species name of the snake plant that your dog has consumed.
- Take a leaf sample to the veterinarian.
- Check how much of the plant your dog has consumed.
- If you can, record the exact or approximate time of eating.
- Do not induce vomiting in your dog unless your veterinarian instructs you to do so.
- Ensure that the dog consumes lots of water to prevent dehydration from diarrhea.
Your veterinarian will be in a better position to administer treatment to your canine. He should be right as rain after the treatment.
Snake plants have a lot of wholesome properties. That is a major reason home owners love to keep them around the house.
Their benefits range from purifying the air to reducing incidence of allergies.
However, they are not pet-friendly.
Your pet having a bite of a snake plant could cause poisoning and discomfort in the pet. Some of the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, swollen mouth and tongue to mention a few.
Contact your veterinarian for treatment once your pet has swallowed a snake plant. It is always best to keep the plant out of reach of your pet.