Many common plants are poisonous to pets, but bamboo is not one of them. Bamboo is a non-toxic plant to dogs, cats or horses. If your pet encounters a poisonous plant, through ingestion or topical contact, you should be prepared with an emergency kit to treat potential serious effects.
Bamboo is a woody, tree-like, fast-growing plant that some people plant outside or keep as a houseplant for good luck. Additionally, bamboo is found in flooring, furniture, baskets and toys, among other products. When grown outside, bamboo can spread quickly and may appear invasive, like weeds. There are many different species of bamboo, but its most popular types include lucky bamboo or golden bamboo (sometimes called fishpole bamboo). Your curious pet may nibble on bamboo if you have it in your home or yard, but all members of the bambusoideae species are safe plants to have around pets.
However, Nandina domestica, otherwise known under its other common names of nandina, sacred bamboo or heavenly bamboo, is a completely different plant that is toxic to cats and dogs. It isn’t a look-alike and it’s not the same species, so if your dog or cat eats heavenly bamboo leaves or stalks, it’s not bamboo poisoning.
Other types of plants are poisonous to pets. Plants that are toxic to dogs and cats include azalea, begonia, calla lily, daffodil, hibiscus, lily of the valley and philodendron, among others. Many commonly sold indoor plants are poisonous to pets, including ribbon plants (commonly called dragon tree or corn plant), spider plants, parlor palms, and money trees. If you have a question about a particular plant, contact a nursery, your vet or the ASPCA poison hotline at 888-426-4435.
Treating Poisonous Contact
When your pet encounters a poisonous plant or substance, remain calm so your pet does not sense your fear. Remove the poisonous substance and place it into a jar or plastic baggie to bring to your vet if needed. If possible, seek emergency vet care immediately. You may first want to induce vomiting using hydrogen peroxide if your pet ate a poisonous object and wash their skin with mild dish soap for any topical contact. Watch your pet for adverse side effects, like excessive drooling, abdominal pain, dilated pupils and an abnormal heart rate. These may not occur until hours after contact.
Pet Emergency Kit
Emergencies with your pet, such as contact with a poisonous plant, may occur even with the best prevention steps. Assembling an emergency kit for your pet is useful in an emergent situation without immediate vet access. Include the following items in your emergency kit: 3% hydrogen peroxide, a syringe, saline solution, liquid dish soap, eye flushing lubricant and a muzzle and pet carrier for stabilization and transportation.