The dracaena plant is often used as home decoration, but there are some concerns about the safety of the plant. If you have cats, dogs, or are just concerned about your and your family’s health, it can be concerning to hear about how the plant is poisonous. But is this the truth?
The dracaena plant is not safe for dogs and cats when ingested, and as for humans, it isn’t toxic for them unless said person has specific allergies. The effects are far worse for dogs and cats and can cause vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
In this article, we will be going over in more detail how dangerous the dracaena can be in certain situations and if it is right for your home. If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to read further.
What Is a Dracaena Plant?
A dracaena plant is a common household plant that is originally native to both South America and Africa. It grows anywhere between 4 to 10 feet tall (1.2 to 3 meters). However, it takes quite a while to reach these tall heights as it takes approximately 10 years to reach 5+ feet tall (1.5 meters).
These slow growers pay off in the end because they are sturdy plants that adapt to their surroundings very well. Hence why they make good house plants with exceptions, more on that in a bit. They are low maintenance, only needing to be watered every 10 to 14 days with the occasional trimming when their leaves start growing out of bounds.
They are also suited for temperatures that are comfortable for humans and pets. They thrive and grow well in temperatures ranging between 65 to 75 ºF (18 to 24°C), and so as long as a home has climate control, or you are living somewhere where the temperature is in the optimal ranges, the dracaena plant will happily live as a house decoration that is easy to care for.
They are also inexpensive, not cheap, but not the most expensive house plant you could be buying. Considering that they are low maintenance, they are likely to last longer than some other plants as long as you water them.
A small plant can be as low as $50, while the utmost tallest ones are over $100. Some species are cheaper than others, such as the Madagascar Dragon Tree, which can be under $20.
If you want to know about the Dracaena plant and how to care for it, this video below will show you what you need to know:
They sound perfect as a houseplant, but there is just one concern we want to address today, and that is its toxicity. We all want to keep family safe, both humans and pets, and thus, choosing a safe houseplant is very critical.
Is Dracaena Toxic to Humans?
If you live in an all-human household, you can rest easy knowing that the dracaena plant is safe for humans to be around and even touch. There are exceptions such as allergies, but generally, exposure to this plant yields no ill effects.
However, it should not be ingested, and if you have small children, it is best to teach them not to put anything in their mouths that aren’t food for their own safety.
Is Dracaena Toxic to Dogs?
Different species react to various plants differently, such as humans can happily enjoy all the onions that they want while they are literal poison for dogs. The same applies to the dracaena plant.
Unfortunately, this houseplant staple is toxic to dogs. They can be around it, but ingesting it will lead to bloody vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
When a dog starts eating random plants, grass being a common one, it should be noted that it is a sign of nutritional deficiency. The most common cause of nutritional deficiency in dogs is poor quality dog food.
There is a lot of bottom-of-the-barrel dog food that is essentially junk food that many pet parents feed. They will contain many fillers to bulk up the quantity and not enough nutrients that the pooch needs to thrive.
Dogs are omnivores that require the right balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Not getting enough nutrients causes a dog’s body to signal that they aren’t getting enough. Thus, the pooch resorts to eating random plants.
Is Dracaena Toxic to Cats?
Like with dogs, dracaena is poisonous to cats and will cause similar effects such as vomiting, weakness, and specifically to cats, dilated pupils.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they only eat meat, but it isn’t out of the ordinary for them to nibble on plants. They can do this for a variety of reasons such as they like the taste or are just bored. In the wild, cats will eat plants for fiber and nutrients, but by no means does that make them omnivores.
Like dogs, cats may also start eating plants because they are hungry or not getting enough nutrients. Poor quality cat food will leave a cat feeling hungrier after a shorter time due to nutritional deficiency.
Their nutritional needs are dominated by protein with a moderate amount of fat and very few carbohydrates. Essentially they eat like bodybuilders.
What Makes Dracaena Poisonous to a Child, Dog, or Cat?
What makes dracaena poisonous to dogs and cats is that it contains saponin, which gives the plant its bitter flavor. Saponin is mildly toxic to humans in large enough doses.
However, you would have to eat a lot of dracaenas for any serious negative effects to take place, which is highly unlikely that anyone would choose to do this, even children.
What to Do If Your Pet Has Consumed Dracaena?
If your pet has consumed dracaena, immediately contact your veterinarian. They will be able to instruct you on what to do, depending on how much they have ingested. Make sure to keep plenty of water around as the symptoms caused will lead to dehydration.
Similarly, if someone in your house has an allergic reaction to the plant or a small child has consumed some, contact your doctor or pediatrician. There haven’t been any dracaena-related deaths that we know of, so there isn’t too much to worry about. But it is better to be safe than sorry.
Should You Keep Dracaena With Pets in the House?
It is best not to keep dracaena in the house if you have dogs and cats. While many pets don’t go after plants, it is hard to predict what they will choose to do next. So for their safety, it is better to look for pet-friendly plants.
Popular pet-safe plants include the spider plant, parlor palm, and Calathea orbifolia. So don’t worry about having to miss out on some natural greens in your home!
Dracaena is toxic to dogs and cats but is safe for humans. It’s a great plant for households who want a low-maintenance plant that isn’t too picky about temperature and constantly thirsty for water, but if you have pets, it is best to avoid having it in the house for safety reasons. In both species, consuming dracaena can cause:
- Loss of appetite
What makes dracaena toxic is saponin, which typically deters consumption due to the bitter flavor, but you don’t always know what pets will get up to.