Rubber tree plants are popular houseplants prized for their dark green oval-shaped leaves. Although rubber tree plants have several incredible benefits, they may not be safe for pets. In this article, I’ll look at whether rubber tree plants are pet friendly.
Are Rubber Tree Plants Pet Friendly?
The ASPCA (American Society for the Protection of Animals) categorizes rubber tree plants as mildly toxic to dogs and cats. This also applies to other varieties of rubber plants, such as weeping figs (Ficus benjamina). Rubber tree plants are also toxic to humans due to the milky latex in their stems.
What Effects Do Rubber Tree Plants Have On Pets?
If ingested or rubbed against, rubber tree plants can cause negative effects on your pets. Rubber tree plants are mildly toxic to cats and dogs and can potentially cause severe stomach problems and mouth irritation. Pets that eat rubber plants will typically experience diarrhea and vomiting.
The milky sap from rubber tree plants can also cause your pet to experience skin or eye irritation. Rubber tree plants produce latex sap when the stems are damaged. This can occur when inquisitive pets chew or knock over nearby rubber plants.
If your pet has eaten part of a rubber plant or been exposed to the sap, look out for the following symptoms:
- Skin irritation
- Mouth irritation
- Excessive drooling
- Reduced appetite
What to Do if Your Pet Consumes a Rubber Tree Plant
If you think that your pet has consumed part of a rubber tree plant, keep an eye on them. Make sure that they drink plenty of water and monitor their appetite. Contact a veterinarian for advice and arrange an emergency appointment if necessary.
If your pet has been exposed to rubber tree sap, examine their skin for any signs of irritation. Wash any irritated areas gently with some warm, soapy water. Contact your veterinarian and book an appointment for your pet if advised to do so.
How to Keep Pets Away From Rubber Tree Plants
Rubber tree plants are mildly toxic to pets, so keeping them out of the reach of curious pets is essential. Place your rubber tree plants in areas or rooms where your pets are not allowed to go. Alternatively, position your rubber tree plant somewhere high enough that your pet can’t get to it. Train your pets not to investigate your rubber tree plants if you can.
If you’re growing rubber tree plants outdoors, use a fence or other enclosure to keep your pet away. You can also use companion plants to deter inquisitive pets. Companion plants either provide a physical barrier or release a pungent scent that is off-putting to pets.
About Rubber Tree Plants
Rubber tree plants (Ficus elastica) come from the fig or mulberry family (Moraceae). These evergreen trees are native to tropical regions of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeastern Asia.
Ficus elastica plants have upright trunks or stems and can grow up to 130 feet high in their native range. Rubber tree plants are also known for their large, oval-shaped dark green leaves. New leaves are protected by sheaths and emerge at the top of the stem.
Although mainly grown as houseplants, rubber trees can also be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 9 to 11. These tropical houseplants rarely exceed 10 feet tall when grown indoors.
Take care when handling rubber tree plants, as they produce a milky latex sap when the stems are damaged. This sap can cause eye or skin irritation. It’s also toxic to humans if accidentally ingested.
Are Rubber Tree Plants Pet Friendly FAQs:
Are Rubber Tree Plants Safe for Pets?
Rubber tree plants are not safe for pets because these plants are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. Keep your rubber tree plant out of reach of inquisitive pets, ideally in a room where pets aren’t allowed.
Is Ficus Elastica Safe for Dogs?
Ficus elastica plants are mildly toxic to dogs. If your dog consumes part of a rubber tree plant, it will experience problems like diarrhea or vomiting.
Are Rubber Trees OK for Cats?
Rubber trees are not safe for cats because these plants are mildly toxic. Rubber tree sap can also cause skin irritation if your cat brushes up against damaged stems.
Rubber tree plants are mildly toxic to both cats and dogs. If pets ingest rubber plants, they will experience stomach discomfort such as diarrhea or vomiting. Rubber tree plants also produce a milky sap that can cause skin irritation.
For more, see our ultimate guide to rubber tree plant care at home.