Keeping our pets safe is one of the most important things in life and making sure that there isn’t anything in our home that could harm them is a big part of that. When it comes to houseplants, there are many that are extremely dangerous for dogs and cats to ingest, some that are only mildly toxic and luckily a good amount that are completely safe for pets to be around and nibble at if they decide to.
Unfortunately, all types of Monstera plants are toxic to dogs and cats. However, they are not deadly unless they are ingested an extremely significant amount of the plant. In this article, we will cover why Monsteras are toxic to dogs and cats, what you should do if your pet does ingest some as well as give you a few friendlier, less toxic houseplant options if you decide to remove it from your home.
What makes Monsteras toxic to dogs and cats?
The reason that Monstera plants are toxic to dogs and cats is that the sap in the plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. They can be dangerous to pets when ingested as although they are tiny particles, they are sharp which can cause micro-cuts in the mouth, throat and stomach of your pet.
Whilst these crystals can help fend off pests, it makes your Monstera dangerous to both your pet but also to you if pruning your plant. This is why we always recommend that you wear gloves to avoid skin irritation.
What are the symptoms if my dog or cat eats a Monstera?
This can vary a lot but the first sign you will often see is your dog or cat pawing at their face and making distressed noises. This will be a result of the crystals causing mouth and throat irritation. At this stage, you may begin to see swelling around the face, mouth and throat which can then quickly move to vomiting and drooling. This may seem scary but vomiting at this stage is good as it hopefully removes some of the toxins.
Over the next week or two, you may find that your dog or cat has a reduced appetite so monitor this carefully.
One rare but long-term impact of digesting large parts of a Monstera is kidney damage. However, because of the immediate irritation caused by eating only a small part of your Monstera, this will discourage your pet from eating any more so this is a very rare issue.
What should I do if my dog or cat has ingested a Monstera?
If your pet has only eaten a very small part of your Monstera (eg. the edge of a leaf) then they will likely not really show any symptoms. It might still be a good idea to visit a vet just to be sure but if they aren’t showing any symptoms straight away then it’s likely not impacted them.
However, if they have ingested enough to be showing symptoms of distress, then you need to take your pet to the vet straight away. It can be a good idea to cut off the leaf that they have ingested and bring it with you so that you can show exactly what your dog or cat has eaten and how much of it. This will all help your vet find the right treatment.
Often they will give your dog an IV to help with the dehydration but they may also choose to evacuate your pet’s stomach to give them almost instant relief.
How to prevent your dog or cat from eating your Monstera
Put your Monstera out of reach
This only really works for dogs as cats will be able to climb their way onto anything, but if you do have a dog that is tempted by your toxic plants, then putting them out of reach is the only way. As they aren’t trailing plants you can simply pop your plant on a shelf to keep the leaves out of reach.
Incorporate this into their training routine
This also primarily works on dogs but it can be a very effective way to bring in a training element that teaches your dog to stay away from your houseplants. Not only will this keep them safe but it’ll also keep your plants from having bite marks and chunks taken out of them which is a bonus too!
There are a few easy ways to turn your cat or dog off your Monstera through smells without it actually smelling bad to you. A lot of pets really don’t like the smell of citrus fruit so it can work to put a few pieces of the peel on top of the soil. Otherwise lining the pot in citrus oil or juice has also worked for us in the past!
Remove from home
Although this isn’t ideal, prioritising your pet’s health is the number one priority and if they are continuing to nibble at toxic plants, then it’s best to remove them from your home. Gift your Monstera to a friend or even sell it to make a little bit extra cash! Luckily, just because you have a pet doesn’t mean you can’t have plants as there are so many dog and cat-friendly houseplants out there to fill the Monstera hole in your life…
Alternative, dog and cat-friendly houseplants
Spider Plants are the perfect plant for a houseplant beginner as they are super easy to care for, grow pretty quickly, and produce an abundance of spider babies which can be propagated in seconds. In fact, Spider Plants is how we started our obsession with houseplants so we will always have a soft spot for them.
The best thing about Spider Plants (apart from the fact they are dog and cat safe) is that they are actually really hard to kill. So if you’re away a lot or just busy, then these can be a nice little way to bring some greenery into your home.
Find out more in our Spider Plant care guide.
Native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, the Prayer Plant is loved for its variegated leaves with intricate vein patterns and are some of the most vibrant pet-friendly plants out there.
There are several varieties of Prayer Plants that all have slightly different leaf patterns but all are completely dog and cat safe which is great. The most common variety is the tri-colour which has red-veined leaves but you’ll sometimes see varieties with silver patches or dark green splashes.
Learn more about them in our Prayer Plant care guide.
If you’re looking for a large mature plant to take over the spot where your Monstera once was, then the Kentia Palm is a great option. They are hardy and can adapt really well to a wide range of environments.
The good news is that they are completely safe and non-toxic to dogs, cats, other pets and humans so they are perfect to create a safe home that still feels like an urban jungle.
Find out more about what these plants need in our Kentia Palm care guide.
Looking for more non-toxic houseplants to replace your Monstera with? Check out our favourites in our list of dog-safe houseplants.
What part of the Monstera is toxic to dogs?
All part of your Monstera plant is toxic to dogs when ingested as it contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in the stems, leaves and roots.
What part of the Monstera is toxic to cats?
All part of your Monstera plant is toxic to cats when ingested as it contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in the stems, leaves and roots.
What happens if my dog eats part of a Monstera?
The most common symptom is that your dog will start displaying signs of discomfort alongside swelling of the mouth and throat. This can then lead to vomiting if your dog has ingested a large chunk of your Monstera. Other symptoms include pawing at the face, whining and excessive drooling.
What happens if my cat eats part of a Monstera?
The most common symptom is that your cat will start displaying signs of discomfort alongside swelling of the mouth and throat. This can then lead to vomiting if your cat has ingested a large chunk of your Monstera.
Can Monsteras make my pet sick?
Yes, Monstera plants are toxic to cats and dogs which means they can display signs of discomfort if they ingest any part of the plant. Other symptoms can include drooling, vomiting, dehydration and a loss of appetite.
What are the symptoms of Monstera toxicity in dogs?
Symptoms of Monstera toxicity in dogs include drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, pawing at the face, whining, dehydration and a loss of appetite.
What are the symptoms of Monstera toxicity in cats?
Symptoms of Monstera toxicity in cats include drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, dehydration and a loss of appetite.
Are all Monstera varieties toxic to dogs and cats?
Unfortunately, all Monstera varieties are toxic to dogs and cats.
How much of the Monstera does a dog have to ingest to become sick?
If your pet has ingested just a small tip or edge of the leaf then they will likely not display any serious symptoms. However, if they have taken a large chunk out of one of the leaves or stems then they will often show signs of discomfort and should be taken to the vet.
Can Monstera toxicity be fatal to dogs?
Luckily it is extremely unlikely that Monstera toxicity can cause death and only happens if your dog ingests a very significant amount of the plant. Because the oxalate crystals in the plant are designed to cause discomfort, this will usually prevent your dog from eating too much.
Can Monstera toxicity be fatal to cats?
Luckily it is extremely unlikely that Monstera toxicity can cause death and only happens if your cat ingests a very significant amount of the plant. Because the oxalate crystals in the plant are designed to cause discomfort, this will usually prevent your cat from eating too much.
Are there any long-term health effects if my pet ingests Monstera?
The only long-term health problem that Monstera toxicity can cause in dogs and cats is kidney damage. However, your pet needs to have ingested a significant amount of the plant for this to happen which is why it’s very rare.
Whilst Monstera plants might be incredible to look at and bring a bit of the jungle to our homes, it’s worth remembering that they can be toxic to our cats and dogs. If your pet has no interest in any of your houseplants then it’s likely safe for you to have a Monstera in your home but if they are prone to nibbling at the leaves then action needs to be taken.