From purifying the air to helping reduce stress, science has shown that there are many benefits of having houseplants. But for those of us with pets, we have to be extra careful when it comes to the type of plants we keep in our homes. This is because many common plants are not pet-friendly plants and they can be toxic to dogs and cats.
If you’re wanting to enjoy the benefit of houseplants without the risk, consider adorning your home with some of the pet-friendly plants we mention below to help ensure your furry friend’s safety.
What Plants Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Many types of common plants are poisonous and even deadly to cats and dogs. And unfortunately, the list includes many popular indoor and outdoor plants, some of which you wouldn’t think would harm your furry family member. But they can.
A few of the most common indoor and outdoor poisonous plants include:
- African Daisy
- Peace Lilies,
- Tomato Plants
- Tulips, and others.
What Happens if My Pet Ingests a Toxic Plant?
If your pet’s curiosity inevitably gets the best of them and they consume a plant that’s considered toxic, they can suffer from a variety of issues. While different plants will present different symptoms, some of the most obvious symptoms include nervousness, muscle tremors, weakness, excessive sweating, stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, severe illness, coma, and even death.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant, you need to call your veterinarian or visit an emergency veterinarian immediately.
Keep in mind that some animals can also have allergies to plants. When this happens you’ll notice a lot of sneezing and possible scratching.
For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to keep all plants out of your pet’s reach.
What Are Some Pet-Friendly Plants To Keep In Your Home?
Plants not only bring add vibrancy and aesthetic to your home, but they also have health benefits too such as purification of the air, and increased humidity that could lead to soft and clean fur for your animal companion as well as healthy airways for you and your pet.
They also help improve attentiveness and focus. Plus, they can work to reflect and mute background noise, creating a more tranquil environment for your furry friend.
While many houseplants are toxic to pets, there are some that are not. Here are some of the most common pet-friendly plants you can keep inside your home. Please note, that some varieties of these plants may be considered toxic, so be sure you read carefully.
A money-tree plant (Pachira Aquatica) is popular for its thin and braided trunk which gives it a very attractive aesthetic. While it doesn’t grow money as its name suggests, superstition does hold that it brings luck and fortune to the household.
What’s more, it’s one of those household plants that are easy to keep alive for people who are not at home a lot and for those who enjoy traveling with pets.
The Money Tree is also an easy-to-grow indoor plant. You simply need to give it in direct sunlight and water it thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry out a bit between waterings.
While this plant is not considered toxic, it may cause a slight bit of tummy irritation as well as coughing and choking when swallowed.
Although the superstitions about it bringing financial success are not proven, it’s certainly not bad luck for your pet if he or she eats it.
Except for one type – the Rose of Sharon or Chinese hibiscus, the hibiscus is a beautiful plant that is generally safe for pets. Hibiscus (Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis) is a small tree or large shrub that creates big, trumpet-shaped, and vibrantly colored blooms. These attractive plants are an easy way to add beauty to your home. Hibiscus are typically categorized into two groups: tropical and hardy–which are considered safe for pets.
The Rose of Sharon or Chinese hibiscus is the type of hibiscus that is poisonous for cats and dogs and can cause your animal companion to lose appetite, as well as suffer from nausea and vomiting if ingested. So make sure you avoid it.
Grown for its multi-colored spiky foliage and appealing baby plantlets, the spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) has long been a reserve of houseplant lovers. Also known as ribbon plant, airplane plant, or the Spider Ivy, this tropical African native is indulgent of neglect and poor conditions, making it a good option for novice gardeners. The ribbon-shaped, grass-like leaves are particularly endearing to pets–especially cats– who like to chew, but all parts of the spider plant are safe.
However, once your feline friend chews on the spider plant’s foliage, it can cause her mildly hallucinogenic effect that can make her wild or jumpy. This is because spider plants create a euphoric sensation similar to Catnip plants and may also be the reason why your furry friend will be fascinated and obsessed with this plant. If this happens, it can put a risk to your feline pet by ingesting the leaves too much. Excessive ingestion may lead to diarrhea, vomiting and can make your cat sick.
Bamboo (Bambusoideae) is also safe for dogs and cats. However, similar to the case of hibiscus plants, there are 1400 species of Bamboo plants and only a few of these types are known to be non-toxic for animals.
As listed by ASPCA, there are some plants safe for pets with “bamboo” in their name. These count Phyllostachys aurea (also known as Bamboo, Golden Bamboo, Fishpole Bamboo), Chamaedorea elegans (Reed Palm, Bamboo Palm, Miniature Fishtail Dwarf Palm, Parlor Palm, Good Luck Palm), Smilax laurifolia (Bamboo Vine, Blaspheme vine, Laurel-leaved Greenbrier) as well as Smilax walteri (Red Berried Greenbrier, Red Berried Bamboo).
The toxic ones, on the other hand, are Dracaena spp (Lucky Bamboo, Dracaena, Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Dragon Tree) as well as Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo, Sacred Bamboo, & Nandina). Once ingested, these plants will cause mild to moderate poisoning depending on your furry friend’s health, size, and how much of the toxic plant he ate. But some of its common symptoms are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, incoordination as well as dilated pupils (in cats).
Indoor herb gardens will not only add life to your home, but it is also an easy way to add fresh flavor to your home-cooked meals. But not all of these plants are created equal when it comes to the safety of your animal companion.
Some house plants such as lemongrass, basil, sage, thyme, parsley, and rosemary are all known to be pet-friendly. On the contrary, standards like oregano and lavender are all off-limits.
In caring for indoor herbs, simply place them in a sunny window that receives at least four or five hours of direct sunlight every day and water them when the upper inch of its soil is dry.
Pet-Friendly Plants Final Tips
Although these pet-friendly plants are mentioned, make sure you know the botanical name as well as common names of plants–as some of them go by the same common name as “bamboo.”
In addition, take note that fertilizers or pesticides used on the plants could also be toxic, so make sure to read the labels first before bringing them into your home.
Moreover, even if they are called ‘safe’, pets also have a sensitivity or allergic reactions to certain substances like humans. Therefore, it’s important to observe your pet’s behavior for any potential signs of distress.
If your furry friend exhibits any symptoms of illness, call or seek advice from your veterinarian immediately. Delay of treatment may result in serious injury or death.