What Are Insoluble Calcium Oxalate Crystals
Many plants have evolved to protect themselves from herbivores with needle-like raphides of calcium oxalate. When the plant is chewed, these needle-like crystals embed in the delicate tissues of the oral cavity leading to swelling, vesicles, difficulty swallowing, oral pain, drooling, and in severe cases, swelling of the throat which can cause difficulty breathing.
Popular Houseplants That Are Toxic To Dogs
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Many houseplant enthusiasts have watched their prized plants get destroyed by their dogs anyone whos ever lost a specimen to their dog knows how infuriating it can be. Not only is it bad for your plant collection, but it can also be dangerous for your dog. Few things are more devastating for families than to see their dog injured or killed by such a preventable mistake.
If you have a dog, take extra caution with the following trendy houseplants.
Zz Plant Toxicity To Cats
ZZ plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, according to Dr. Leonard Perry of the University of Vermont, the same compounds that cause kidney stones in humans. When ingested, the sharp, tiny crystals cause pain and swelling of the mouth and throat. Typically, children are put off by the pain, which is akin to chewing glass, and wont continue to eat it. In cats, the needle-like crystals embed themselves in the mouth, causing vomiting, hypersalivation or drooling, and, sometimes, swelling of the pharynx.
Dr. Tina A. Wismer of the ASPCA Animal Poison Center says that obstruction of the throat is uncommon in cats, and that most cases of poisoning resolve within 24 hours. Treat the cat by washing out its mouth with water or milk, if you can, but if the case seems severe, call the veterinarian. Keep houseplants containing oxalate crystals like philodendron , dumb cane and peace lilies out of the reach of cats. Pick up dropped leaves and throw away trimmings when you prune the plant.
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How To Get Your Cat To Stop Eating Your Zz Plant
Cats love to explore and jump, which makes it challenging to keep toxic houseplants from their reach. Its advisable to learn the names of all houseplants in your home and their toxicity levels.
With this information, you can separate the plants that are poisonous to cats from those that are safe. Furthermore, if your cat ingests a poisonous or toxic plant, knowing the houseplants name will make it easier for the vet to treat the animal.
Since cats are extremely sensitive to scents, you can make your houseplants smell unappetizing. You can sprinkle citrus juice onto the leaves or throw a lemon peel into the soil to keep them away. Sprinkling ground cayenne pepper around the plant will also do the trick.
Cats hate the smell or taste of plants such as roses, cactus, and Rosemary. They also hate thorny plants since they are prickly. You can plant them indoors to keep your cats from messing with them.
Keeping your houseplants in places your cat cant reach can work. You may hand them in organic baskets from your homes ceiling or place them in sunrooms, bathrooms, or sunny bedrooms.
Mixing one part of vinegar liquid with three parts of water and spraying the solution to your houseplants will keep cats from eating them.
Are Zz Plants Dangerous
Although ZZ Plants are considered to be toxic, its worth mentioning that toxic is a somewhat relative term. Some toxic or poisonous houseplants produce isolated symptoms, often very mild, like rashes or upset stomach, while others cause very serious, sometimes life-threatening symptoms.
I mention this because some people talk about the ZZ Plant as if it will kill you if you look at it the wrong way. However, you have to interact with it sometimes quite a bit to experience any of the plants toxicity. In this case, were talking more allergic reaction-type symptoms and less the sap is pure rattlesnake venom hysteria.
The ZZ Plant is part of the Araceae family of plants, which includes many ubiquitous houseplants . Many of the plants in this family are considered toxic because they produce a compound called calcium oxalate.
Calcium oxalate is a compound found naturally in plants and animals. In fact, it is the substance that kidney stones are made out of. While this compound isnt necessarily considered toxic on its own, if you looked at it under a microscope, you would see its made up of tiny crystals. These crystals tend to have sharp, jagged edges that can irritate skin or soft tissues when they come into contact with it.
ZZ Plant produces calcium oxalate in all parts of its plant structure . Because of that, contact or ingestion of any part of it could potentially cause discomfort.
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How Do You Identify A Zz Plant
If youre getting a new kitten or rescuing a cat, youll need to make sure your home is cat-friendly, which includes throwing out or moving any houseplants that can poison your feline. If youre anything like me though, I bought most of my houseplants because they look pretty or are easy to maintain, and I couldnt tell you the names of most of the houseplants in my home!
For anyone like me, here are some ways that you can identify a Zamioculas Zamifolia:
- Roots: ZZ Plants have very peculiar-looking roots known as rhizomes which store water. They look similar to potatoes and are easy to spot, so are great for identification.
- Leaves: The Zamioculas Zamifolia has wide leaves which are quite fleshy and measure a couple of inches in diameter. They are dark green in color and have a waxy texture.
- Stems: The ZZ Plant will have several stems that each have multiple leaves branching off similar to a tree. Some of these stems will grow straight upwards, while others curl over, and will grow to a maximum of around 3 feet in length.
- Flowering: Most owners will not see flowers on a ZZ Plant. However, they can grow if the plant is well maintained and will bloom at the base of the plant.
If you think any of the plants in your home are ZZ Plants, you will need to keep them out of reach of your cat or remove them from your home altogether. Although they will not cause lethal toxicity or serious poisoning, they can cause sickness, discomfort, and irritation which could be avoided.
How To Keep Zz Plants Safely:
If you want a low-maintenance, easy going plant that does well indoors, ZZ is the most suitable plant for you. Most people are concerned about it being poisonous, especially if they have pets or children in their homes, and rightly so.
There are ways that you can keep ZZ plants in your homes without them being dangerous to yourself and your animals, we have a lit for you to follow d make sure you get the most of these amazing plants:
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Is A Zz Plant Poisonous Or Or Toxic
Yes, zz plants are poisonous to cats, dogs and humans, however they will not kill you or cause significant harm to you or your pets. The sap of the plant reacts with the mucus membrane of the skin which causes irritation when touched.
If consumed, the body will try to expel it by inducing vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms should subside within a few hours. You can safely keep them in your home if you follow some guidelines.
Keep reading to learn what you need to do to keep yourself and your pets safe while living in harmony with a ZZ plant.
How To Keep Pets Safe With A Zz Plant In The House
You like to keep your ZZ plant, yet you also love your pets to bits.
So, how can you keep both without worrying about any illness or accidents with your cats?
There have been myths revolving around the ZZ plants and how they can actually cause cancer. However, this is only an assumption as there is no truth in it.
The plant does have toxic effects when ingested. But simply touching it or brushing your skin against it will not kill you at all.
You may suffer from skin irritation when you fail to wash your hands well after being in contact with the plant. The same holds true with rubbing your eyes after you touch this plant.
If you have pets in the house, it is best to keep the plant out of their reach. They may be curious enough to try to chew on the leaf.
Now, when cats consume the sap or even the leaves, this can be quite harmful. Stomach irritation with symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting may arise.
Ingesting the leaf will not at all be fatal. However, it is concerning when you see your pet suffering from a wide range of stomach issues.
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Why Is The Zz Plant Poisonous
ZZ plants contain calcium oxalate. If you have never heard of that term before, it is what kidney stones are made of. Calcium oxalate is very sharp even though we cant see it without a microscope. Unfortunately, all parts of the plant contain this substance. It includes roots, seeds, leaves, etc.
When a ZZ plant comes into contact with skin, it can cause burning and irritation. You need to wash it off as soon as possible and not touch your eyes. It will cause the same problems with mucous membranes. If someone tries to eat any part of a ZZ plant, they will immediately feel pain and swelling in the mouth. The discomfort will be enough for a child to spit the plant out.
However, if a youngster swallows a piece of the plant, it will experience stomachache, cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. The severity depends on the amount of the plant that is ingested. The symptoms usually last for a couple of hours and are manageable.
Your pets will have the same reaction to the calcium oxalate. If they brush against the plant, they will get skin or eye irritation. Additionally, when your pets ingest a ZZ plant, they will quickly develop symptoms of food poisoning that include vomiting and diarrhea.
How Dangerous Are Zz Plants
In the early part of this century, there were some rumors claiming that contact with this plant could cause cancer however, these are simply untrue.
Although all parts of this plant are toxic, its not quite as dangerous as you might fear. As with many toxic plants, ZZ Plant is not especially appetizing. A pet that nibbles on it is unlikely to eat much.
If a significant amount of the plant is ingested, it will cause gastric distress, diarrhea, and vomiting however, these symptoms are not likely to be severe.
The sap of the plant is irritating and can cause a skin rash and/or damage to the eyes because the sap contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and gastric distress because it is made up of crystals with sharp edges that are quite irritating.
Contact with soft tissue such as eyes, lips, and tongue will cause an instant burning and swelling sensation. This is what prevents ingestion of the plant.
It would be difficult for a pet or a child to eat enough of the ZZ Plant to cause cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ache however, if this happens, symptoms should resolve on their own within a couple of hours.
More on Is The ZZ Plant Poisonous?
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What Happens If I Eat It
Eating the ZZ plant is not advised! In the rare circumstances that you, your child, or someone you know eats this plant here is what you could expect:
- Sharp mouth pain
- Burning sensation of the mouth and throat
- Swelling of the mouth and throat
- Temporary hoarseness
Usually people will spit out the plant due to the painful sensations, but if swallowed the following symptoms are likely:
- Stomach cramps
The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia notes that, with most of these plants, vomiting and diarrhea are mild and should last only a few hours. Ingesting small quantities of these plants should not cause any symptoms.
However, eating an amount comparable to the size of a small salad would be poisonous.
As tantalizing as a sharp poisonous salad may sound, it is not advised to ever add this plant to your dinner menu.
What Are The Symptoms Of Zz Plant Poisoning In Cats
Below are the occurrences or symptoms that will follow if consumed by your cats
Meanwhile, the onset of the above symptoms in your cats or other pets will appear in the space of 2 hours after consuming the ZZ plant and will most likely recover within 24hours.
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What Happens If Your Cat Gets Into Contact With A Zz Plant
Just like humans, the sap from the ZZ plant causes temporary discomfort and irritation when your cat gets exposed to it. The sap mainly irritates the eyes, mucus membranes, and bare skin of your cat.
If your pet tries to eat it, the calcium oxalate crystals will inflict oral pain. As a result, your pet will quickly spit it out to avoid further pain or discomfort.
Your cat is likely to exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling when it consumes the sap of this houseplant.
Other symptoms include pawing at the mouth, decreased appetite, swelling of the upper airways , and oral pain.
Most of these symptoms start manifesting at least two hours after your pet consumes the ZZ plant.
Spare a few minutes to identify the specific plant that your cat ingested. You should then seek urgent veterinary help once you spot these symptoms on your beloved pet.
Remember to carry a sample of the toxic plant with you when visiting the clinic. You can also bring a sample of your cats vomit or poop that contains the plant material.
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Will A Zz Plant Kill A Cat
Though ZZ plants are toxic to cats, they are unlikely to cause significant harm or death when consumed. There are no known cases of cats that died due to ZZ plant poisoning.
Your cat will only experience mild symptoms such as oral pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Its coat may also feel itchy since the sap of this houseplant irritates when touched.
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Keep Out Of Reach Of Children And Pets
If you want to live with a ZZ plant and keep your pets and children safe, you need to pick the best spot for the plant.
If you want to keep your little humans and furry friends safe, the best thing you can do is put them in a place that they cant access.
As your children get older, be sure to educate them and tell them about the toxicity of the ZZ plant. Who knows, maybe they will develop a love of plants themselves.
What Happens If You Or Your Pets Come In Contact With The Zz Plant Crystals
If sap of the plant containing the crystals comes in contact with skin, you may experience burning or swelling. This is because the crystals have sharp edges that cause irritation and rub against the skin, which leads to pain and swelling.
Ingesting the sap or leaves is more harmful than simple contact. If the plant is ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach ache while your body tries to expel the sap. The symptoms last for a few hours. Encourage your pet to drink lots of water because it helps them expel the toxins and avoid dehydration from the diarrhea.
It is unlikely that the ZZ plant could kill you. A very significant amount of the sap would have to be ingested for it to be that toxic. Most of the contact just causes stomach upset or irritation. Chances are, if you cat or dog tries to eat a ZZ leaf, they will quickly stop before that point because it tastes so bad.
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Is The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Poisonous To Cats
And if your cat gets a mouthful of this plant, he could be seriously injured: All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. The ZZ plant is prized for its tough nature Jennifer Schultz Nelson, horticulturist with the University of Illinois, calls it almost indestructible and for its attractive form.
How To Handle Your Zz Plant
To protect your hands from the sap, wear gloves when you are repotting your plant, getting cuttings, propagating it, or planting the rhizomes.
If you do come in contact with the sap, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water to reduce the irritation.
Keep it out of the way of dogs, cats or curious children. In small quantities, the plant usually causes mild irritation. However, if a lot of the plant is consumed and you notice your pet or child appears very ill or the symptoms have not resolved after a few hours, call your veterinarian/pediatrician immediately.
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