ZZ Plant Toxic to Cats, Dogs & Peoples | How To Grow Them Safely

Is the ZZ plant toxic for you? What about pets? Are they deadly for our pets too? What about our children and us?

Zamioculcas zamiifolia, sometimes known as the ZZ plant, is an excellent option if you’re seeking a hardy, low-light house plant. However, you might be concerned about whether ZZ plants are dangerous and whether your family and pets can safely use them.

ZZ plants do indeed harm both people and animals. Direct contact with ZZ plants can irritate the skin and eyes, and consuming them can result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. But if you take a few easy steps, you can live securely with a ZZ plant. There was a lot of misinformation about ZZ plants out there a few years ago. Many people thought that handling the plant safely required wearing gloves and that it was so toxic that it may cause cancer. That is very untrue.

Let us now discuss the answers to your questions, “is the ZZ plant toxic for you? What about pets? Are they deadly for our pets too? What about our children and us?”.

Why Are Toxic Plants So Popular?

Some people may be confused as to why someone would keep a ZZ plant at all given the dangers it may pose to humans and animals. Despite these dangers, this plant is adored by gardeners for a variety of reasons, and for many people, its advantages outweigh its low chance of toxic exposure. There are many tempting characteristics of this plant, one of which is its capacity to filter the air inside your home.

Are Zamioculcus zamiifolia Plants Poisonous?

Your ZZ plant is a member of the Araceae family, which includes toxic plants. Though many people are unaware of how toxic the plant is. The sap and leaves of the plant can be harmful to both people and animals, but at worst, simply touching the plant will only result in minor problems. To make sure that no residue or sap that could irritate your skin, get into your eyes, or unintentionally wind up in your mouth, wash your hands right away after touching the plant. Some people think that handling a ZZ plant requires the use of gloves. Though not technically essential, this can be a smart move.

The ZZ Plant’s Poisonous Characteristics

The plant makes calcium oxalate, which is the main component of human kidney stones. This substance has sharp edges and a crystal-like shape. This is what irritates the skin when it comes in contact with the sap and might irritate inside tissues if consumed.

Can ZZ plants kill people?

Although Calcium oxalate is produced by the entire ZZ plant, it is unlikely to be fatal. To produce more than just stomach trouble, one would need to consume a large amount of sap. The majority of humans and animals who come into touch with the plant simply experience allergy-like symptoms. The epidermis and mucous membranes are two areas of the body that are particularly vulnerable to calcium oxalate. You should anticipate experiencing stomach pain, possible diarrhoea, and perhaps vomiting if you or your children consume any part of the plant. The best course of action is to keep yourself hydrated as the poison leaves your body and keep your children away from it.

How Does Eating It Affect Me?

The ZZ plant should not be eaten! Here is what you might anticipate if you, your child, or someone you know consumes this plant. An acute toothache feeling of burning in the tongue and throat swelling in the neck and mouth brief hoarseness is what you or a child can feel. 

Usually, people will spit the plant out because it hurts, but if they consume it, they may have the following symptoms: 

  • Constipation
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Vomiting

With most of these plants, vomiting and diarrhoea are minimal and should last only a few hours, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Small doses of these herbs should not result in any symptoms when consumed. However, consuming even a portion the size of a small salad would be harmful. It is not advisable to ever include this plant on your dinner menu, no matter how alluring the idea of a bitter, toxic salad may sound.

How Can A ZZ Plant Touch Affect You?

Exposing yourself to this plant will cause skin irritation and even a small rash because of the sharp crystals. After handling a ZZ plant, touching your eyes might also make you feel uncomfortable and irritated. Although coming into direct contact with this plant will only slightly annoy you, it is still best to avoid it.

Exposure to ZZ Plant Treatment

Even though exposure to the ZZ plant rarely leads to any serious problems, it can nevertheless be uncomfortable. Therefore, to minimize the unfavorable reactions, it is best to correct the problem as soon as possible.

How can you treat people if they are affected by ZZ plants?

Follow the instructions that we have mentioned below if you or any child is affected by ZZ plants:

  • Spit out any plant matter that is still in your mouth if you or someone else consumes a ZZ plant.
  • Wash your hands after wiping your mouth with a soft towel. Consume milk, ice cream, or popsicles to relax the affected area and wash away the crystals from the mouth. 
  • The greatest remedies are cold drinks or frozen foods. 
  • If you or anybody else touches the plant, wash your hands as soon as you can and refrain from putting your hands near your eyes.

Do Dogs, Cats, And Other Pets Get Poisoned By ZZ Plants?

What happens if a pet consumes a portion of a ZZ plant?

ZZ plants can cause allergies in humans if they come into contact with their sap. Many individuals believe that the ZZ plant can have a greater impact because their cats and dogs are smaller than humans.
In reality, ZZ plants are toxic to animals, but they are not deadly. A pet who comes into contact with a ZZ plant may get skin, ocular, or mucous membrane inflammation. Your pet will feel some discomfort if they consume some ZZ plant material, but they will eventually be alright. Your cat or dog will likely experience severe diarrhoea and a stomachache. If your pet vomits, make sure they are properly hydrated. Dehydrated animals can pass away. Getting your pet to eat might help the body eliminate toxins and plant matter. Avoid bringing the plant into your home or relocating it to a location where pets won’t be able to get it if you have too curious cats or dogs.

How can you treat pets if they consume some portion of ZZ plants?

If your pet begins to exhibit signs of exposure to ZZ plants, you should follow the instructions that we have mentioned below: 

  • Take out any plant matter they may still have in their mouth. 
  • Make sure they get plenty of water. Show them extra affection! 
  • Drinking water can assist your pet keep hydrated if they have consumed enough of the plant to upset their stomach and cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • It could be a good idea to monitor them for the first few hours after becoming aware of their symptoms to make sure their condition is getting better. 
  • This might be a great time to give your pet a cold snack if they like ice cubes or other pet-safe frozen treats. 
  • Their mouth will feel less scorching, the swelling will go down, and the coolness will assist. You can also give them a small treat after a difficult day for them.

How To Safely Grow A ZZ Plant?

The majority of people can keep ZZ plants in their homes fairly safely, even in the presence of pets and children. They are stunning and very popular houseplants. There are certain crucial actions you must take to guarantee the safety of your ZZ plant for every resident of your home. Check out those actions below!

1. Learn About Your Plant’s Toxicity

Knowing which of your houseplants are hazardous is very important so that you can take the necessary safeguards if you are aware of which are safe and which are not.

2. Keep your ZZ plant away from children

If you have young kids, making sure they are safe at home is of utmost importance. If you have a ZZ plant, keep it out of the way of young children or in a location in your home where they cannot get it.
Older children can be made aware of the toxicity of your ZZ plant, but you should evaluate each child’s comprehension and compliance before allowing them to be near a ZZ plant.

3. Keep pets away by using deterrents

Placing your ZZ plant out of reach isn’t always practical because both dogs and cats, but especially cats, are very skilled at getting to difficult-to-reach sections of your home when they want to. But a few straightforward obstacles can lessen their curiosity about your ZZ plant. You might add some coffee grinds or orange peel to the soil surrounding your ZZ plant. Dogs and cats frequently avoid areas where strong odors are produced because they dislike them.

Also, you can spray your ZZ plant with a little vinegar solution to dissuade the most tenacious animals.

4. Replace a non-toxic plant with your ZZ plant

There is always the option of switching out your ZZ plant with a non-toxic substitute if you truly want to be very safe.

How to handle and water a ZZ plant?

Although this tough plant may survive for a long time without water, it still needs care and attention and also watering accordingly. Let’s check out the ways you can handle this plant to make it a healthy living!

  • Avoid touching the plant’s leaves or stems when watering it. With a regular watering can, this is typically simple to accomplish. 
  • It is acceptable to touch the plant during repotting, relocating, or under other circumstances. Don’t freak out! Simply remember to wash your hands to prevent discomfort and from transferring the crystals to delicate places like your eyes.
  • Additionally, you can increase your level of safety by using gloves when working with the plant.

How to find the perfect position to keep your ZZ plants at home?

Find a suitable location for your ZZ plant that is out of their reach if you have pets or small children. 

  • For example, keep it out of reach of your children and dogs on a shelf, table (depending on height), hanging from the ceiling, or any other place in your home. But not all animals remain on the ground. You can employ a variety of deterrents to keep cats away when they are notoriously nosy and appear to think there is nowhere they can’t go. 
  • For instance, you may scatter cayenne pepper around the plant’s base, scatter citrus rinds all over it, or even mist lemon juice on the leaves. Unfortunately, this plant might not be the best choice if you have a stubborn pet that frequently consumes plants.


Q1. Does ZZ plant pruning need to be done? 

Ans. ZZ plants typically don’t need to be pruned. Simply take away the dead leaves, that’s all. Of course, feel free to cut the branches if they are blocking the path. Dusting the leaves off from time to time is another helpful hint because it promotes photosynthesis and keeps the plant clean.

Q2. Do ZZ plants need additional watering? 

Ans. There isn’t any watering schedule. Wait until the soil is dry and then apply water. If you want to give your ZZ plant additional nutrition, you can even fertilize it once a month. Just fertilize during the summer and keep the plant in full or partial shade as it dislikes direct sunshine.

Q3. ZZ pants suitable for beginners? 

Ans. This plant is ideal for novices because it doesn’t take much time or effort to care for. A ZZ plant is an excellent option if you want to have lush, green leaves in your living space but occasionally forget to water the plants. Your ZZ plant will grow successfully on its own as long as you use well-draining potting soil.

Q4. Do ZZ plants need to be replanted frequently? 

Ans. If your ZZ plant is still young, you might want to think about repotting it once a year. Every spring, before the growth season, carry it out. Your plant will have adequate time to adjust to the new surroundings. Except in cases when they are outgrowing their existing container, mature ZZ plants don’t require repotting.


As long as you follow the safety recommendations, keeping a ZZ plant in your house is generally safe. For instance, refraining from eating the plant directly, avoiding contact with bare skin, and keeping pets and children out of the vicinity. However, you must be aware of any risks associated with owning a ZZ plant so that you can decide what is best for your circumstances. Before adding a new plant into your home, as with other plants, it is essential to become aware of any potential concerns. We wish you luck in bringing this lovely plant into your home if the ZZ plant seems like it might be a good choice for you.

We hope this article was informative to you, if any more doubt is on your mind about ZZ plants, then please feel free to comment down below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

Related Articles


  • Prachi Parate

    Prachi Parate is an enthusiast writer. She is a native of a science background, where botanical science was one of her favorite subjects. It was always Prachi's dream to combine her passion with a career. Hence, her fascination with plants led to a career as a writer. Also, she believes that taking good care of yourself is key to happiness. Time spent in nature is one of her favorite self-care practices. It is her goal to transform her learning into content that helps readers.

  • Vinni Balyan

    11 years ago when we left NY and started living in the suburbs, I developed the passion for gardening. I'm a mom of two, and a big time gardener here helping you pick you right battle in gardening. 🙂 Stay tuned.

Leave a Comment