Are Ficus Houseplants Poisonous to Dogs?

by Elizabeth Muirhead
Ficus plants, including fig trees, can be very toxic if your dog consumes it.

Ficus plants, including fig trees, can be very toxic if your dog consumes it.

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Ficus plants can be very toxic to your dog, depending on how much he eats. Ficus plants belong to a plant genus featuring over 800 species, although one of the most common is the fig tree. These plants typically cause gastrointestinal or skin problems.

Toxic Compounds

Ficus plants have two toxic compounds. Ficusin is a psoralen. Psoralens are compounds from plants that are activated by light. Ficin is a proteolytic enzyme, which means it can break down proteins. According to The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, ficin’s toxicity depends on how much is consumed, and it does not appear to be absorbed when the intestinal tract is intact.

Signs of Toxicity

Common signs of ingestion of ficus plants are vomiting and salivation. If your dog consumes a lot, his stomach and intestines may become heavily ulcerated or eroded. He may have diarrhea or just not be interested in eating, due to his stomach ulceration. If the ficus sap comes in contact with his skin, your dog’s skin may become reddened or inflamed. It can cause serious dermal irritation if it gets into a cut or abrasion on your dog’s skin or into his eyes. If you think your dog has gotten into your ficus plants, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.

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