Are Bromeliads Toxic to Cats and Dogs | Harmful Plants

As a pet owner, you always want to make sure there’s nothing toxic your pet can get their paws on. This doesn’t only relate to food that’s gone bad, but to plants as well.

With that in mind, there are many pet owners rightfully asking are bromeliads toxic to cats and dogs.

To avoid any tragedies, we’ll be answering that exact question in today’s article!

Are Bromeliads Toxic?

Bromeliads are a family of plants with 3590 known species. Interestingly, some of those species are actually edible – such as the pineapple!

This family is mostly safe – nothing bad should happen if your pet eats a leaf off a plant (except for the yucky taste). However, I have to stress the word mostly, because even though they aren’t poisonous, bromeliads can still be mildly toxic.

Are Bromeliads Harmful to Cats?

Bromeliads

Bromeliads shouldn’t hurt your cat in any serious way. What you should keep an eye out for is slight intoxication.

Cats are carnivorous animals and their bodies aren’t able to handle eating plants. It doesn’t matter if your pet ate the flowers or the sap – it could cause a few issues (but it doesn’t have to).

The severity of the symptoms will depend on how much they ate and how resistant their digestive system is. Your cat can eat a few leaves and develop no symptoms. It’s also possible for it to eat the same amount and start vomiting.

A very important fact that needs pointing out – if eating them does turn into a health issue, bromeliads are most likely going to cause indigestion and nothing more than that. 

Cats are small animals and they usually don’t need to ingest much to poison themselves. This, however, isn’t the case with bromeliads! The toxicity level is so low that they would need to eat great amounts to cause serious trouble. This is very unlikely, though, as your cat won’t like the way any bromeliad tastes.

When it comes to pineapples, which I already mentioned, cats can eat pineapples – but only in small amounts and with all the thorns taken out.

Are Bromeliads Harmful to Dogs?

Dogs are just as inquisitive as cats, so don’t be surprised to find them munching on various houseplant leaves. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – no member of the bromeliad family is toxic to dogs.

However, we need to take this with a grain of salt.

Firstly, tackling the last thing I mentioned about cats – dogs can eat pineapple too. And just like cats, they can only eat it as a treat – not as a meal. Pineapple has too much fiber and sugar for dogs.

Secondly, when it comes to houseplants, your dog probably won’t have any trouble if it eats a few leaves or flowers. Some tummy trouble is the most likely result, and they mostly won’t be coming for seconds because of that!

Are Bromeliads Harmful to People?

Just like with cats and dogs – bromeliads aren’t toxic to people. However, it’s likely that nobody likes the way they taste because humans aren’t herbivores.

Unlike pineapple, which we can eat all we want, if somebody were to eat bromeliad leaves, flowers, or sap – they would most likely suffer from some indigestion and nothing more.

If anything, bromeliads are actually helpful! According to a study from 2016, bromeliads are great at removing volatile organic chemicals! Inhaling VOCs can lead to dizziness and allergic reactions, while their concentration is usually three to five times higher in closed environments (such as the bedroom) than out in the open.

Bromeliads absorb these chemicals, after which they break them down for your and their own benefit.

Are Bromeliads Harmful to Pets?

It’s important to note that while pet owners completely rightfully ask ‘Are bromeliads toxic to cats and dogs?’ – cats and dogs aren’t that attracted to plants. The occasional nibbling usually happens out of curiosity more than anything else.

If plant-eating does happen more often in your household, that probably means your pet is like that by nature. Even though it’s rare, some cats and dogs will eat plants on more than one occasion. We also can’t forget about pets that eat everything in their sight, as that’s just part of who they are.

However, in those rare instances that they do eat a leaf, a flower, or some sap in great amounts – something could happen. Let’s take a close look at what happens in those scenarios.

Is Sap from Bromeliads and Irritant?

If ingested in great enough amounts, yes – sap can be an irritant. Sap could be particularly interesting to both cats and dogs as both of these species are known for licking everything.

Licking a single drop of sap off the plant likely won’t bother their digestive tracts and they probably won’t feel it in their stomach. A skin reaction could happen, but only if your pet is allergic to bromeliads.

Plant sap of ‘oxalate plants’ contains calcium oxalate crystals that irritate the skin (of humans and most animals). Luckily, bromeliads don’t belong on this list. However, if your pet is allergic to bromeliads, the sap can be a powerful irritant.

Could My Pet Suffer an Allergic Reaction?

Yes, your pet could suffer an allergic reaction to bromeliad. Both dogs and cats can develop allergies at birth, but also later in life. Allergies to plants are just as common as allergies to foods.

If your pet is allergic to bromeliads, it will suffer an allergic reaction after eating a part of the plant. Depending on the severity of the allergy, the reaction can be very mild, but it can also require emergency veterinarian help.

If your pet is severely allergic to bromeliads, they can suffer a reaction without even biting into the plant!

Briefly, let me explain the possible symptoms of an allergic reaction. Mild allergic reactions can lead to itchiness, skin irritation, runny eyes and nose, and mild swelling. The swollen or irritated body part will often be hot to the touch.

More severe symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, severe swelling, and loss of consciousness. If you notice any of these symptoms, mild or severe, take your pet to the vet immediately.

There is some good news, though – severe allergic reactions are rare amongst pets! The chances of this happening to your pet are very slim, as animals are usually more resistant to their surroundings than people.

Why Is My Cat Vomiting After Eating a Bromeliad?

Cats are known to vomit after overeating (this happens to most animals), but if your cat vomits after eating a bromeliad, there might be trouble ahead.

Bromeliad isn’t poisonous to cats and your cat won’t throw up if it eats a leaf or if it licks some sap. However, if your cat is allergic to it, then its body will react to it as if the plant were toxic.

The natural reaction of the body is to clean the stomach, as there’s something in the stomach causing the reaction – hence the vomiting. If this happens, call the vet immediately!

What Houseplants Are Poisonous to Pets?

One of the most popular houseplants poisonous to pets is lilies. They’re so incredibly dangerous, especially for cats, that every single part of the lilies presents a potential health problem – even serious internal organ damage.

Dogs have it somewhat easier, as they usually just go through a bit of tummy trouble.

We also have aloe vera, which is immensely popular amongst people. Even though the gel is edible, the rest of the plant is toxic for both cats and dogs. It will likely cause lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested.

Chamomile – most people can’t believe that chamomile is toxic. However, if ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a whole plethora of allergic reactions. It can also cause skin reactions upon contact!

Bird of Paradise is toxic to cats and dogs. The hydrocyanic acid that is contained within the plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Lastly, the deadly nightshade didn’t get its name for no reason. It can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, severe behavioral changes, hypersalivation, and a slowed nervous system.

How to Tell If Your Pet Ate a Poisonous Plant?

The signs will most likely be obvious – vomiting, diarrhea, salivating, and skin dermatitis are all common signs of ingestion of a toxic plant. There are more serious symptoms, like convulsions and bleeding.

It’s possible for your pet to eat a plant and have no symptoms of poisoning (lilies, for example, can sometimes kickstart no symptoms). The best way to help your pet is by taking them to the vet.

How to Stop Your Pet from Eating Houseplants?

Firstly, put the houseplant somewhere out of their reach (which can be a problem if you have a cat). It’s likely that they won’t feel the need for eating a plant anymore, but in case they do, they won’t be able to get to it.

After that, it’s all about shouting at them every time they try to eat a plant. Both cats and dogs can recognize the meaning behind a particular tone of voice and they’ll probably realize that they should stop eating the plant.

Admittedly, dogs are much more trainable, so you’ll make a quicker breakthrough with a dog than with a cat.