When you think about your pet getting into something toxic around the home, you may think about certain human foods or pesticides. However, some indoor houseplants can also be incredibly harmful to your pets, too. You’re not alone if you haven’t looked up the toxicity of every plant in your house, and you may have gotten lucky up til now that your pets have left them alone. Unfortunately, it just takes one time for your pet to get curious. Don’t let that happen! Keep reading to learn why some plants are toxic to pets. Plus, we detail five indoor plants that are without toxins.
No green thumb is required! Let’s get into it.
What Is It About Plants That Can Be Toxic to Pets?
Many plants contain various compounds that can be toxic to pets. Some parts of the plant may have a higher concentration of toxins, but if it’s a known harmful plant, you should keep your pet away from all of it. The toxin could exist in the leaves, stems, flowers, and berries.
Toxic plants can cause skin irritations or mouth and stomach inflammation. And some may have more severe effects on a pet’s organs. The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What Are Some of the Most Toxic Plants?
You may unknowingly have an unsafe plant in your home but don’t feel too bad. Many of us (us included) have made this innocent mistake and have pets that naturally avoid the plants. However, as responsible pet owners, we probably shouldn’t rely on luck for our pet’s health. Now that you know, you can take steps to keep these plants safely away from your pets or find them new homes.
There are several very popular indoor plants that aren’t good for cats, dogs, or both.
Plants that are toxic to cats include: lilies, jade plants, peace lilies, snake plants, aloe vera, monstera, sago palms, English ivy, tulips, daffodils, chrysanthemums, and poinsettas.
Plants that are toxic to dogs include: aloe vera, ivy, jade plants, sago palms, elephant ear, philodendron, peace lilies, dumb cane, and pothos/devil’s ivy.
But these aren’t the only dangerous species. There are over 470 household plants that pose a threat to animals. Some of the other plants on the list include daisies, hydrangeas, peonies, chives, mint, and mistletoe. It’s a good practice to look up each plant in your home specifically and either elevate them out of access or remove them completely.
Be Careful! We’ve noticed that many websites recommend alternatives to a particular plant that may not be toxic to one species but can be for the other.
What Makes a Plant Pet-Friendly?
Pet-safe indoor plants are without any toxic substances that cause harm when ingested. They also have low allergens and don’t have thorns that can hurt a pet.
Any plants indoors or around your pets should be safe for an animal to touch or potentially chew. While it’s best to prevent a dog or cat from ingesting any type of plant, ensuring they’re pet-safe in case your fur baby takes a bite is crucial.
In addition, a pet-friendly plant should be low maintenance all around. Specifically, avoid options that require toxic chemicals or fertilizers that harm pets.
Pro Tip: Avoiding toxic substances and plants is just one of the many ways to help increase your pet’s life expectancy.
5 Indoor Plants That are Pet-Safe
You can still decorate and have a cozy home when dogs or cats are part of the family. Pet-safe indoor plants are easy to find and can brighten up any space. Let’s look at five non-toxic options.
1. African Violets
African violets are small household plants with fuzzy green leaves and white, purple, or blue flowers. They’re categorized in the genus Streptocarpus and are native to the rainforests of Tanzania and Kenya. The plants do best in temperatures between 55 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
African violets are pet-safe indoor plants. The non-toxic option is also small enough to be put out of reach of pets. However, for cats that enjoy climbing, you might have to secure the small pot, so it doesn’t get tipped over.
2. Spider Plants
Spider plants are one of the most common household plants. Some have solid green leaves, while others have variegated leaves with strips of white or yellow. They’re easy to grow and maintain. In addition, they grow in clumps, so depending on the pot size, you may need to split it up into additional pots after a while.
They’re non-toxic and can live in harmony with your pets. Often pet owners will put spider plants in hanging baskets to keep away from swiping paws or nibbles from fur babies. But these plants are pretty resilient in case they get knocked over.
3. Prayer Plants
Prayer plants, also known as Maranta leuconeura, are topical with decorative leaves. They have tricolors with green, velvety leaves that have arching red veins. The plants are relatively small but can reach up to 12 inches high. They require a bit more maintenance than the other plants on our list. For example, they do best in high humidity.
These pet-safe indoor plants can be set up high on a shelf out of reach. They add a colorful piece of decor to any room.
4. Boston Ferns
The Boston fern has beautiful green leaves that often have ruffles or texturing. It’s a low-maintenance house plant that requires medium light and temperatures between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Boster ferns are non-toxic and easy to care for. They offer a vibrant addition to any room in your house without worrying about a pet being harmed for nibbling or brushing up against it. You can also put a fern in a hanging pot to keep it out of reach of curious cats.
Golden bamboo can be grown indoors. It’s a quick-growing plant that spreads, so you’ll want to choose a pot accordingly. It can grow from two to four feet tall. And most bamboo prefers a humid environment.
Keep in mind that not all bamboo may be pet-safe. However, golden bamboo and fishpole bamboo are non-toxic to dogs and cats.
What Should I Do If My Pet Ingests a Toxic Plant?
Remain calm if your pet ingests a toxic plant. The first thing to do is try to remove any plant material from your pet’s mouth or fur without harming it or yourself. Also, get the animal away from the plant.
Next, keep your pet in a safe place and monitor it closely for any symptoms such as vomiting, skin inflammation, etc.
Then, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435. They’ll ask you a series of questions, including what type of plant your pet ingested or is having a reaction to. And they’ll instruct you on the next steps, including going to the veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital.
We also recommend placing part of the plant in a ziplock bag to take to the vet clinic if you’re advised to take your pet in, especially if you’re unsure what the plant is.
Pets and Plants Can Live In Harmony
Pet-safe indoor plants allow you to have the decor you want in a house with dogs or cats. And they’re both likely to bring you joy!
Do you have non-toxic plants in your house? Which are your favorite? Leave a comment below.
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