Under the glossy cloak of foliage, the popular Rubber plant easily hides its darker poisonous toxic trait that many people are unaware of.
Rubber plants are mildly toxic to humans and animals only when consumed or in contact with skin, nose, mouth, or eyes.
Ficus Elastic, also known as a Rubber plant, contributes as a feng shui to your surroundings. The indoor planting trend has provoked many to keep this as an interior decorative piece.
However, its poisonous trait leads many people to hesitate to bring them home.
People might freak out about keeping the toxic labeled plants inside their houses, knowing they are dangerous. Yet, having complete and correct contextual knowledge is essential.
Having said that, you don’t need to discard your want to get Rubber plants at home. You can enjoy bringing them home with proper precautionary measures.
Let us find out the severity of toxicity that Rubber plants have.
Table of Contents Show
- Is Rubber Plant Toxic?
- Which Part of Rubber Plant is Toxic?
- Are Pets Vulnerable to Rubber Plants?
- Symptoms of Rubber Plant Poisoning
- First Aid Care
- Treatment from Toxic Rubber Plant
- Tips to Prevent Rubber Plants Poisoning
- Safe Variety of Rubber Plant
- Editor’s Note
Is Rubber Plant Toxic?
A Rubber plant describes a sturdy, strong, and bold-looking character. They have thick, broad, and dark green leaves.
Pinching or breaking the stem or leaves of the plant can bring you some milky white material oozing out, called sap.
Rubber plants are considered toxic if their inner latex (sap) is exposed to living beings.
The irritation can vary from mild to severe problems depending on the individual sensitivity.
Although it sounds scary, the plant’s toxicity is technically leveled 4, which is the mildest.
Therefore, it does not create long-lasting harm or does not cause any fatality to people or animals.
The latex substance is present in the milky white sap inside the Rubber plant, containing all the toxicity.
Latex is the source of the problem, which causes discomfort and irritation. Adults might be well aware of it, but innocent children could be the victims.
Keep Rubber Plants Away from Children
Children are vulnerable and prone to many accidents, so keeping indoor Rubber plants with kids in the house can increase risk. Their curious behaviors can lead to harm.
Kids can be fascinated with the milky white saps oozing out from the plant while playing around or randomly experimenting with things.
The best way out for prevention is to keep them out of sight. However, accidents can happen.
Best to keep the Rubber plant out of reach of the little ones.
Which Part of Rubber Plant is Toxic?
You can find sap inside the plants that helps to transport nutrients and water. They are sticky, gooey, and highly elastic.
When chipped or broken, the sap contains latex in the stems, branches, and leaves of Rubber plants or trees.
Latex is produced from sap that compromises various components such as sugar, albumin, resin, and enzymes. These constituents are not that detrimental.
However, caoutchouc is what we are looking for as they cause allergic reactions in the skin, mouth, and eyes. It is a harmful substance that is toxic.
Latex is a common component that exists in all the Ficus families. Rubbers are made out of this white milky sap containing latex.
Are Pets Vulnerable to Rubber Plants?
Animals are allergic to Rubber plants, similar to humans. They tend to go through similar kinds of symptoms to us.
As curious, notorious, and fidgety are your furballs, they can be explorative with your plants.
It is more dangerous if you have your Rubber plants indoors within the reach of your pets.
Is Rubber Plant Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
The fur of cats or dogs acts as a defensive shield against the external environment.
Likewise, they play a significant role in protecting their skin if exposed to any Rubber plants’ sap.
It would be best if you take immediate action by washing it off with cool water.
Apart from the skin, the most sensitive parts of your furballs are their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Irritation can occur if the toxic Rubber plant sap comes in contact with your cats or dogs’ sensitive areas.
Since these sensitive areas are not covered with any extra layer of fur protection, this can escalate the effect due to the soft tissues present in their eyes, nose, and mouth.
In case of ingestion, irritation occurs in the gastrointestinal tract and around the mouth area.
Is Rubber Plant Toxic to Birds?
Today, a lot of people take pets as their most dear companions. Like before, pets are not only constricted to the category of cats and dogs. Many enjoy petting birds at home too.
Birds are prone to consuming the sap since they like to chew on plants. They have a susceptible respiratory system.
The ingestion of the plant leads them to have stomach distress and fall ill.
Symptoms of Rubber Plant Poisoning
You can contact the sap of Rubber plants unknowingly or while performing any activity with the plants.
As a result, these sap might create quite a discomfort for both humans and animals.
The allergic reaction to Rubber plants might immediately take place or occur in a day or two.
Rubber Plant Poisoning Symptoms in Humans
Following are the symptoms you could encounter.
1. Skin Dermatitis
Skin Dermatitis is joint skin irritation. It might occur in mild to acute intensity of skin uneasiness.
Itchiness, red rashes, blistering and stingy feelings are indications of skin dermatitis.
2. Sap Exposure in The Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
You will feel a severe burning sensation, and your eyes will be watery, itchy, or red if exposed to the plant.
3. In Case of Ingestion (Common with Children)
Keep an eye out for the following symptoms if you or your children have ingested the Rubber plant.
- Itchy, burning, and pain in the mouth and throat.
- Lethargy, nausea.
- Diarrhea, GI distress, and vomiting if the case worsens.
- The digestive disorder can prevail for a day or two.
Rubber Plant Poisoning Symptoms in Animals
It is by nature for cats and dogs to sniff around everything. Hence, consuming the Rubber plant with the oozing sap can lead to similar symptoms as humans.
However, check the table below to find the symptoms and how you can identify them.
|Symptoms||How to Identify|
|Vomiting||Dogs lose appetite and keep throwing up.|
|Diarrhea||The consistency of the feces has changed to fluid.|
|Salivation||Excess saliva secretion than normal.|
|Depression||Dogs are not active as usual. Less barking and playfulness.|
|Drooling||Drooling or salivating more than normal without being aware of it.|
|Nausea||Dogs feel sick and do not move much. Drooling also shows they are nauseous.|
|Lack of Coordination||Imbalance in the movement of the dogs.|
|Oral or Skin Irritation||Itchiness on the skin (dogs scratching around); mouth area can become reddish or swollen.|
|Symptoms||How to Identify|
|Dehydration||Check out for skin tenting (fragile skin elasticity).|
|Vomiting||Cats lose appetite and keep throwing up.|
|Weakness||Unable to actively move and looking lethargic.|
|Diarrhea||The consistency of the feces has changed to that of a fluid.|
|Oral Irritation||Itchiness and uneasiness around the mouth area.|
|Swollen and Reddened Lips||The appearance of pinkish-red lips or mouth; puffy mouth than usual.|
|Symptoms||How to Identify|
|Diarrhea||Check for watery droppings: The feathers near its vent are stained and the birds are fluffed up.|
|Vomiting||Birds will nod its head and stick out their neck, throwing up unwanted content.|
|Depression||Loss in appetite; less movement and chirpy.|
First Aid Care
It is essential to give immediate attention to those that come in contact with the Rubber plant, be it you or your plant.
First Aid for Humans
It is better to take corrective actions as soon as possible when you come into contact with the sap of Rubber plants.
In case of exposure to sap, follow the below points.
- On the skin: Quickly wash the area with soap and wipe it with cold water.
- In eyes: Wash the eyes with lukewarm water for some time ( 10 – 15 minutes ).
- Sap intake ( in case of children ): Rinse the child’s mouth thoroughly.
First Aid for Pets
If you find out that your pet has ingested a Rubber plant, then get ready for immediate reflexes below.
- Firstly, go with the physical examination of your pet with the symptoms and your observation.
- If you have a white substance in the mouth (latex) or the plant leaves, immediately remove them and try to rinse the mouth thoroughly with water and wipe it properly.
- Do not induce your pet to vomit until your vet suggests it.
- Keep your pet as hydrated as possible with enough supply of water.
- Just for a sample test of the plant, keep the ingested part to show the vet if the condition worsens.
Treatment from Toxic Rubber Plant
You know what they say; prevention is better than cure. However, you should be able to treat Rubber plant intoxication at home without much fuss.
Since Rubber plants are mildly toxic, they do not result in severe harm.
However, do not be alarmed if the tips below do not work immediately if treatment is required.
Bear in mind that the recovery takes place within a few days.
Usually, it takes one to two days. In the meantime, keep the victim well hydrated, and they should be perfectly fine.
Treatment for Humans
Usually, critical treatments are not required due to the poisoning of Rubber plants.
However, if there is a severe reaction with rashes, burning sensations, or blisters, it is best to immediately call the concerned medical center or doctors.
An emergency hotline number of Poison Control Centre 1-800-222-1222.
Treatment for Pets
As mentioned earlier, the chances are less for a severe illness that will require serious treatment.
Nevertheless, if the situation deteriorates, calling and consulting your veterinarian is better.
Do not panic, and communicate the symptoms and behaviors of your pet thoroughly.
Call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at (888) 426-4435.
Tips to Prevent Rubber Plants Poisoning
A little bit of cautiousness can prevent you from the harm of your Rubber plants. You can easily apply the tips below.
- Keep Rubber plants further away (out of reach) from children. You can do this by placing them on higher tables, racks, corners, and such.
- Wear gloves and an apron. Be alert about exposing yourself, your children, and your pets to the plant sap while pruning, watering, cleaning, repotting, or moving the plant.
- Avoid touching your eyes when you are working with Rubber plants.
Preventing Your Pets from Eating Rubber Plants
Animals are curious creatures like children. Moreover, placing your Rubber plants in out-of-reach tables, racks, and corners can also help to dodge your pets from eating Rubber plants.
Other than that, you can apply creative ways for pungent smells to avoid your pets’ inquisitive behavior.
Follow some of the tips below.
- Spray vinegar around the plant.
- Add coffee, lemon, and citrus peels to the plant’s base.
- Sprinkle pepper around the plant.
- Potting marigolds to keep dogs away.
- Lavender and rosemary to keep cats away.
- Aluminum screening around the plant in a U-shape, hanging Rubber snakes, creative scarecrows, and helium-filled balloons around the plant to keep birds away.
Safe Variety of Rubber Plant
As we have discussed the Ficus Elastic Rubber plant, you might fear its poisonous nature.
Do not worry if you are concerned about your little ones or furballs at home.
American or Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia Obtusifolia) is a non-toxic Rubber plant that you can get for your house.
The pet-friendly plant is from a succulent family, which requires less water and can thrive in indirect lighting.
However, bright indirect lighting is recommended.
You can relax at your house with these baby Rubber plants if the Ficus Elastic Rubber plant gives you the need for extra concern.
You can find them on Amazon.
Enough with the dreads of Rubber plants. They are a great piece to add to your home. With proper safety measures, especially for your kids and pets, it is a beautiful plant that you won’t regret in your space.
Rubber plants amazingly bring an aura with their elegant massive leaves, making the surroundings look more attractive.
Also, they are easy to take care of and fast-growing plants. You don’t need to change your mind if you are thinking of getting one.