Are Bromeliads Toxic to Cats and Dogs | Harmful Plants

For those of use who love our houseplants almost as much as our pets, it can be hard to find plants that are truly pet-safe. It almost feels too good to be true when we do find a species that won’t harm our dogs or cats.

Are Bromeliads toxic to cats and dogs? In this article, I’ll be answering that question and offering some tips to keep your pets away from your houseplants.

Are Bromeliads Toxic?

Bromeliads are a family of plants with around 3,500 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.

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Are Bromeliads Harmful to Cats?


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

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 huge amounts to cause serious trouble. This is very unlikely, though, as your cat won’t like the way any Bromeliad tastes.

Cats can technically eat pineapples but only in small amounts and with all the thorns taken out. Because of their carnivorous biology, though, there’s no good reason to be feeding your cat pineapple in the first place. The sugar content alone is likely to do more harm than anything else.

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 ASPCA, no member of the Bromeliad family is listed as toxic to dogs.

As with cats, dogs can technically eat pineapple. But they should only eat it as a treat – not as a meal. Pineapple has too much 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 probably won’t be coming for seconds because of that!

Are Bromeliads Toxic 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.

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 you and their own benefit.

Are Bromeliads Harmful To Pets?

While the opposite often seems true to the average houseplant collector, 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, it 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 an 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. 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 to this group. However, if your pet is by chance 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 a 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!

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 may be warm 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.

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?

Some of the most popular houseplants poisonous to pets are lilies. They’re so incredibly dangerous, especially for cats, that every single part of the lily presents a potential health hazard – this can include 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.

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, hyper-salivation, 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 also more serious symptoms, like convulsions and bleeding.

It’s possible for your pet to eat a plant and have no obvious symptoms of poisoning. 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 to eating the plant anymore. But, either way, they won’t be able to get to it.

After that, it’s all about redirecting them every time they try to eat a plant. Both cats and dogs may eat plants as a form of enrichment, so offering a chew toy or one-on-one playtime will act as a quick distraction.

In some cases, pets chew on plants because they’re craving nutrients within the leaves. Growing some pet-safe, edible grass is a great way to deter animals from chewing on your houseplants.