Are Hosta plants poisonous? This is a common worry among pet and livestock owners. Some toxic plants cause severe symptoms that lead to liver and kidney damage and the death of pets.

Poisonous Hostas Plants for Pets

Although Hosta plants are not poisonous to human beings, they contain glycoside saponins which are toxic to cats and dogs. Find more about the toxicity of Hosta plants in this article. 

Are Hosta Plants Poisonous and Intoxicating?

Yes, hostas are poisonous and intoxicating to animals, especially cats and dogs. On the other hand, no, it is not poisonous to humans, it is safe, even if one consumes it, its sap will not harm the health of a person.


Poisonous and Intoxicating Hostas Plants

However, the Hosta plant’s saponin is toxic to cats and dogs and causes symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. The plant can also harm small children because they have a more sensitive digestive tract.

These greens are ones that grow low to the ground and is characterized by its ribbed leaves. On the other hand, the hosta flowers grow in clusters of white or blue-purple blooms at the stalk’s tip. The leaves contain a toxic substance called saponin, which helps the plant to repel animals and insects, as a result, it is harmful for the health of the animal.

– Symptoms in Dogs

When your dog ingests Hostas poisonous leaves, you must rush it to the vet. The pet could develop symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, loss of appetite, and distress. The plant’s toxicity also causes twisting of intestines which can be painful to your pet. 

Eating Hostas parts causes saponins to foam as the plant enters the digestive tract and paralyzes the tract, leading to the twisting of the intestines. This causes abdominal pain in the dog or cat and other symptoms like loss of appetite. Besides the poisonous saponins, these plants also cause skin irritation to pets if they get close to them.

– Symptoms in Cats

The symptoms in cats would appear in different ways, as they would get intoxicated and would result in lethargy, and even diarrhea, then, they would even start vomiting, and loss of appetite. 

Poisoned Symptoms in Cats

The flowers, leaves, and roots of Hostas plants are toxic to cats. In cats, the saponins change the structure of cell membranes which causes the red blood cells to break down. The toxins also affect cats’ respiratory and digestive systems by irritating them to cause gastrointestinal effects.

The symptoms of Hosta poisoning in cats are nausea, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and cardiac abnormalities. Failure to take your pet to the vet can lead to fatal symptoms due to the fast dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting. 

– Symptoms in Rabbits

These plants contain a poisonous sap called saponin which affects cats and dogs, but the plants are safe for rabbits, but of course, not in a high quantity, because they would even be mildly intoxicated, too. 

Bunnies like to hop and feed on these plants’ leaves because they provide high amounts of fiber. However, don’t let your bunny have too many Hosta plants because it could cause stomach discomfort. 

What Are Treatments of Hosta Poisoning in Pets?

The treatments of hosta poisoning in pets would include consulting a vet, getting different tests done, thoroughly washing the areas that are contaminated. At the end, the vet may even prescribe IV fluids, in order to cleanse out the poison.

– Consulting a Vet

Once you take the pet to the vet after they have ingested this plant that’s poisonous to them, the vet will induce vomiting to help it remove any remains of the plant.

Consulting a Vet for Cats

The vet could ask about the amounts of the plant consumed when the dog ate the plant, and the symptoms you noticed. 

– Testing

They will perform blood testing and urinalysis and check for irritation around the mouth and skin. The vet can give the dog activated charcoal to prevent more absorption of the toxins to their body. 

– Thoroughly Washing

They also perform decontamination to remove any sap on the pet’s coat and skin and wash the eyes and mouth. This will help remove all the necessary toxins that re on the body, because they may lick it off, and the latter would cause different issues.

– IV Fluids

If there is lots of diarrhea and vomiting, the vet administers IV fluids to the dog for rehydration. Dogs and cats die fast from dehydration. IV fluids also maintain levels of electrolytes and help the kidneys to function better.

This is, of course a final step, so that they would see the risk and manage it in the long run.

How To Keep Dogs and Cats Away from Hostas?

To keep dogs and cats away from hostas, you can sprinkle some citric acid juice, and the pets will stay away, you can even spread some vinegar, and chili powder around the plant, and lastly, you can even use some alchol around them. 

Keep Away Cats from Hostas

When ingested, this plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in cats and dogs, and these are, as mentioned the commonly seen symptoms. Keeping your pet away from them is actually helpful for their lives.

These symptoms lead to worse conditions like dehydration which can cause death to your pets.

– Sprinkle Citric Acid Juice

Cats and dogs dislike the smell of oranges and lime juice. It is pungent to their nosy noses and will keep the pets away from your plants. 

Use Vinegar or Chilli Powder

Besides citric acid, cats also dislike the pungent smell of vinegar. Sprinkling some near the plants creates an imaginary wall.

Using Chili Powder

Chilli powder is a cat, and dog repellant used to keep pets away from plants. 

– Use Alcohol 

Spraying alcohol on a Hosta plant can destroy it, so avoid using the substance directly on the plant. Instead, you can place a cloth soaked in alcohol near the garden to prevent cats and dogs from accessing it. 


1. Are Hostas Poisonous to Goats?

 Hostas do no harm goats, so they can eat the plant comfortably, and you can give it to them as a treat. However, they should have it in moderation because the leaves of the plant are tough to chew. Also, ensure the plants are not infested by slugs, as these parasites cause infections when ingested by goats. 

2. Are Hostas Poisonous to Deer?

Deers can also eat Hostas without showing signs of illnesses. These animals are not picky with the kind of Hostas to feed on, but they mostly like the young ones because they have tender and smaller leaves. 


Hostas plants are safe for people, but you should keep them away from your cats and dogs. These pets are adventurous and could suffer poisoning symptoms if they ingest Hostas leaves. You should call your vet immediately if you see your cats or dogs eating hostas.

To summarize this article:

  • Keep your pets away from Hostas because they cause vomiting and diarrhea, some of the symptoms that lead to death.
  • Hostas plants are also poisonous to children because of their delicate skin and digestive tract.
  • You can give Hostas to goats, cows, and deers in moderation, but check for slugs

Since rabbits like to feed on Hostas plants, you can build a high fence to restrict these nosy animals from accessing the garden. Use citric acid and alcohol to prevent cats and dogs from going near the plant for their safety.


  • Amanda Howland. (August 3, 2022). Hosta Pests and Diseases. Michigan State University.
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