If you are on the hunt for a way to liven up your living space, you might have stumbled across bonsai trees. These small trees give you something beautiful to look at and something to do since they require lots of attention and maintenance.
However, if you have pets, you need to be aware of the plants that you bring home. Many plants are toxic to animals. If you have dogs at home, think hard before getting a Ficus bonsai.
No good pet owner will ever intentionally cause their animal harm. However, sometimes things can slip through the cracks and accidents can happen.
Armed with the knowledge of which plants are toxic to your pets, you can prevent any potential plant poisoning disasters at home. Read on to learn more about why Ficus bonsai trees are considered poisonous to dogs.
Ficus Bonsai Trees Are Poisonous to Dogs
Ficus bonsai trees should not be kept in a home with dogs or other pets. This is because Ficus bonsai trees are poisonous to dogs as well as cats. Your furry friends are not entirely safe if toxic plants reside in their dwelling, so avoid them and choose plants that are pet-safe instead.
Ficus plants, as a whole, are toxic to dogs. Since Ficus bonsai trees are simply Ficus trees that have been grown and shaped using the bonsai art of creating dwarfed trees, it makes sense that Ficus bonsai trees would be toxic as well.
It is important to note that there are over 900 different species of plant in the Ficus genus. Bonsai is a delicate art so only a select few Ficus trees are used to create successful Ficus bonsai trees. These species include:
- Ficus Retusa
- Ficus Ginseng
Both of these species are poisonous to dogs and cats. If you hear talk of fig trees or rubber trees, those are Ficus trees as well. Know the common variations and their nicknames so you can ensure your home is filled with only the safest, pet-friendly houseplants.
What Makes Ficus Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Dogs?
Ficus bonsai trees are poisonous to dogs due to their two toxic compounds, the proteolytic enzyme ficin, and the psoralen ficusin. Proteolytic enzymes like ficin can cause digestive upset and psoralens can cause a digestive upset as well as skin irritation.
These compounds are found both in the leaves of the Ficus bonsai tree as well as in the sap that the tree secretes. Because Ficus plants contain both of these compounds, it is important that your dog not consume any portion of the Ficus plant.
Symptoms of Ficus Poisoning in Dogs
Ficus poisoning occurs most often when dogs eat the leaves of a Ficus bonsai tree. Leaves are an easy target for dogs because dogs can grab them, pull them off the tree, and swallow them without much effort.
A dog may eat quite a few Ficus leaves before they are caught by their owner or they begin feeling sick and showing symptoms of Ficus poisoning.
If your dog consumes Ficus leaves, you can expect gastrointestinal symptoms, agitation, skin symptoms, and clear signs that your dog is in pain.
Ficus poisoning symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth pain
- Red, inflamed skin
If your dog has come into contact with a Ficus tree, it is important to get immediate veterinary care. Even if your dog is not showing symptoms, or the symptoms are very mild, get your dog to the veterinarian to ensure your dog is safe from a serious illness.
Your veterinarian will be able to look over your dog and gauge its symptoms. Using your account of the situation and your dog’s condition, your vet can come up with a treatment plan if it seems like your dog has a case of Ficus poisoning.
Your vet will likely give your dog fluids through an IV since hydration is important. Your vet may induce vomiting and prescribe an ointment for any skin irritation your dog is experiencing.
Is Ficus Poisoning in Dogs Serious?
Ficus poisoning in dogs is not usually life-threatening. It is rare that a dog who consumes Ficus or comes into contact with components of a Ficus bonsai tree will become seriously ill or suffer major symptoms. However, every dog is different and will react differently to toxins.
You should never chance an encounter between your dog and a poisonous Ficus bonsai tree. While Ficus poisoning may not be considered life-threatening, there is no acceptable amount of poisoning that your dog should experience.
Other Bonsai That Are Poisonous to Dogs
Ficus bonsai trees are extremely popular for indoor houseplants. Other types of Ficus plants, such as the fiddle-leaf Ficus are also popular choices for indoor plants.
However, these should be strictly placed in no-pet households since they can cause the nasty symptoms described above.
There are other types of bonsai trees that are even more poisonous to dogs than the Ficus bonsai. The list of bonsai below should never, under any circumstances be in a home with pets.
While they are beautiful pieces and totally safe for humans, they can be extremely dangerous for animals.
- Cycad bonsai
- Sago Palm bonsai
- Azalea bonsai
Both Cycad and Sago Palm contain the toxin cycasin, which can induce liver failure in dogs if consumed. Azaleas contain the neurotoxin grayanotoxin. These toxins are more serious than the enzymes found in the Ficus bonsai.
Cycasin poisoning works quickly. The first noticeable symptoms are drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting and those occur within 15 minutes of plant ingestion.
Cycasin poisoning can lead to neurological symptoms such as paralysis, seizures, and coma; accumulation of abdominal fluid, nose bleeds; and liver failure, as mentioned above.
Azalea bonsai poisoning can do damage to a dog’s nervous system. Only a very small amount of azalea consumption can lead to severe symptoms including arrhythmia, dropping blood pressure, shallow breathing, tremors, temporary blindness, seizures, and coma. If Cycad, Sago Palm, or Azalea bonsai poisoning is left untreated, it can prove fatal.
Safely Keeping Dogs and Bonsai
As long as you avoid the three seriously toxic bonsai trees listed above, you can theoretically keep bonsai and dogs peacefully under the same roof. You just have to keep your dogs out of your bonsai plant.
It is no secret that dogs tend to lick, chew, and eat a great many things, regardless of edibility. If you were to keep Ficus bonsai trees in your home, you would have to ensure that your tree was safely out of your dog’s reach at all times to prevent the consumption of leaves.
- Keep your bonsai on the other side of a doggy gate
- Keep your bonsai on a high shelf
- Research pet-safe bonsai
- Keep your bonsai outdoors and supervise your dog’s time outside
If you are an especially nervous person, you may believe that you can never truly guarantee your pet will always stay out of your bonsai.
This is especially true if you have cats in the house because they reach new heights all the time. If you must have bonsai, ensure you have found a way to keep your pets separate. Otherwise, it is best to appreciate bonsai from afar instead of bringing one home.
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Ficus bonsai trees are poisonous to dogs, though the symptoms are usually not life-threatening. Still, the best way to ensure your dog is protected is to keep your bonsai completely out of reach or avoid bringing a ficus bonsai tree home in the first place.
If you believe your dog has consumed poisonous bonsai leaves, call your veterinarian immediately so your dog can receive proper treatment.