Does wandering jew affect dogs?

Does wandering jew affect dogs?

A Cause for Curiosity: Exploring the Effects of Wandering Jew on Dogs

Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina), with its cascading growth habit and vibrant foliage, is a popular houseplant prized for its easy care and visual appeal. However, dog owners know all too well the boundless curiosity of their canine companions, often leading to an exploration of their surroundings, including houseplants. A crucial question then arises: Does Wandering Jew pose a threat to the health of these curious explorers? While this houseplant boasts undeniable charm, understanding its potential effects on dogs is essential for responsible pet ownership.

Unveiling the Potential Risks: Understanding the Irritant Properties of Wandering Jew

Unfortunately, like many other plants, Wandering Jew contains calcium oxalate crystals. These microscopic structures, while not inherently toxic, can cause irritation in a dog’s mouth and digestive system if ingested.

  • The Mechanism of Action: Calcium Oxalate Crystals and Canine Discomfort: Calcium oxalate crystals have a sharp, needle-like structure. If a dog chews on or ingests a part of the Wandering Jew plant, these crystals can irritate the delicate tissues in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. This irritation manifests as a burning sensation, causing excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, and difficulty swallowing. In some cases, the crystals might irritate the stomach and intestines, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Symptoms to Watch Out For: Signs of Wandering Jew Ingestion in Dogs: If you suspect your dog has ingested Wandering Jew, be aware of the following symptoms:
    • Oral discomfort: Excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, and difficulty eating.
    • Gastrointestinal upset: Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
    • In severe cases, swelling of the mouth and throat might occur, causing difficulty breathing.

It’s important to note that the severity of symptoms typically depends on the amount of plant material ingested. If you notice any of these signs after your dog has had access to Wandering Jew, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Mitigating the Risks: Creating a Safe Environment for Dogs and Wandering Jew

The good news is that with a few precautions, you can still enjoy the beauty of Wandering Jew while prioritizing the safety of your furry friend:

  • Strategic Plant Placement: One of the most effective ways to minimize risk is to keep your Wandering Jew plant out of reach of your dog. Hanging baskets or placing the plant on high shelves are excellent strategies. Consider using decorative plant stands or keeping the plant in a closed room your dog cannot access.
  • Supervision and Enrichment: Close supervision is crucial, especially when introducing new plants into your home. If you cannot constantly monitor your dog’s interaction with the plant, consider keeping it in a designated pet-free room. Additionally, providing your dog with ample enrichment, such as chew toys and interactive play sessions, can redirect their attention away from potentially harmful exploration.
  • Considering Dog-Safe Plant Alternatives: Several houseplants exist that pose no threat to curious canines. Popular options include spider plants, bromeliads, and certain varieties of ferns. If you’re looking for vibrant foliage, consider a non-toxic alternative like a Purple Heart (Setcreasea purpurea) or a Polka Dot Begonia (Begonia maculata).


While Wandering Jew contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation in dogs if ingested, responsible plant ownership and taking preventive measures can help ensure a harmonious coexistence.While Wandering Jew offers undeniable aesthetic appeal, its presence in a dog-owning household requires a well-considered approach. Understanding the potential for irritation and taking preventive measures are essential for responsible plant ownership. By keeping Wandering Jew out of reach, providing supervision and enrichment for your dog, and considering dog-safe alternatives, you can ensure the safety of your furry companion while still enjoying the beauty of houseplants. After all, a happy and healthy dog, along with a thriving houseplant collection, can contribute to a truly harmonious home environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *