Pet-friendly Houseplants and Plants to Avoid

Plants can help make a place feel like home, but some plants can be toxic for cats and dogs. Keep your furry friends safe with these pet-friendly houseplants!

Published on
October 4, 2023
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Pet-friendly Houseplants and Plants to Avoid


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Although we may love our indoor plants and furry companions, the two aren’t always compatible. In fact, multiple common household plants are toxic for pets. When consumed, specific plant species can lead to adverse effects in cats and dogs, such as nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, tremors, and seizures, which may ultimately prove fatal. Living with both plants and animals in your home can be a source of concern if you're unaware of which plants can pose a threat to your pets. It's important to recognize that even the most well-behaved pet may occasionally become curious about a plant every now and then (Kellog et al., 2021).

Fortunately, you don't have to make a choice between having a pet or owning plants. Here are 10 houseplants guaranteed to keep your furry friends safe, as well as a few varieties you’ll want to avoid while adding some greenery to your home!

Common Pet-Friendly Houseplants

  1. African Violet 

If you're craving a vibrant, blossoming plant, the African Violet, also referred to as the Cape Marigold, is an ideal choice for both you and your beloved pets. These flowers prefer indirect sunlight and moderate watering. In its infancy, this plant thrives in temperatures between 73 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but as it matures, it tends to favor cooler conditions, even as low as 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant can bloom year-round, but it may not attract the attention of pets as it has no scent or long, tempting leaves. (Morgan, 2022; Kellog et al., 2021). Unless your pets have an irresistible attraction to plants, this one is likely safe from their chewing tendencies.

  1. Burro’s Tail

Not all succulent plants are safe for pets, but Burro’s Tail is an exception to the list! The blue-gray, bulb-like stems may catch your pet’s attention as they hang over the side of the pot, but they are ultimately harmless. Originating from Mexico and Honduras, these succulent plants prefer direct sunlight, and dry heat, and can last long periods between watering. The stems are delicate and prone to breakage, particularly if you have an inquisitive pet. However, if a succulent stem does happen to break, you can easily grow your plant collection by repotting it (Morgan, 2022). Eventually, they will take root and you’ll have a collection of Burro’s Tail!

  1. Boston Fern

If you're in search of a pet-friendly fern, the Boston Fern is an excellent choice. It's low-maintenance, and your pets can play with it and even take a nibble – as much as you permit – because this plant is entirely safe for both cats and dogs. Boston Ferns prefer indirect light and high levels of humidity. Keep the soil damp by misting its leaves twice a week and placing the pot in a tray of water for easy care (Kellog et al., 2021).

  1. Chinese Money Plant 

Believed to bring luck and good fortune, the Chinese Money Plant is not only low-maintenance and fast-growing but also safe for your pets. This plant gained its reputation from its large, round leaves that resemble coins stacked upon one another. The Chinese Money Plant thrives in sunlight but can suffer from sunburn if exposed to intense, direct sunlight. Additionally, they prefer to dry out completely before receiving a thorough watering (Morgan, 2022).

  1. Friendship Plant 

With leaves that are gentle to the touch, Friendship Plants pose no harm to your furry friends. These plants typically reach a height of 6 to 12 inches and can thrive in low light conditions as long as they get a few hours of bright, indirect light each day. They also prefer temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and should be allowed to slightly dry out between waterings (Kellog et al., 2021).

  1. Herbs 

Practical and usually safe for pets, kitchen herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary make excellent additions to your home. These herbs thrive in direct sunlight, so you can conveniently place them on a windowsill and water them regularly (Kellog et al., 2021).

  1. Orchid 

Orchids are exquisite flowering plants that grace your space with their blooms for up to three months each year, and they are safe for pets. However, some may find them a bit challenging to care for. Orchids thrive in humid, warm conditions with bright, indirect light. During the warmer months, water them twice a week, and reduce it to once a week in colder seasons. Keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, which may indicate excessive sunlight or overwatering (Kellog et al., 2021).

  1.  Prayer Plant 

With its decorative leaves and vibrant colors, the Prayer Plant is sure to capture your pet's attention—and it's completely safe for them! Plant care varies, as it depends on the Prayer Plant type, but typically they prefer a temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and bright, indirect sunlight. Additionally, these plants should be fertilized once a month during the spring and summer, and they thrive when you allow the top 25% of the soil to dry out between waterings (Kellog et al., 2021).

  1. Spider Plant

If you're new to plant ownership, the Spider Plant is an excellent choice, suitable for both owners and pets. Spider plants are resilient, low-maintenance plants that prefer indirect bright light and a temperature range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to place them away from direct sunlight, as it can scorch their leaves. Otherwise, these plants are hassle-free and pet-friendly additions to your household. They excel at purifying the air and eliminating toxins from your home (Kellog et al., 2021).

  1.  Venus Flytrap

Concluding our list of pet-friendly houseplants, the Venus Flytrap may not be your initial thought, but it's a safe and easy-to-care-for choice. Venus Flytraps need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight, a couple of insects each month, and pure water, such as rainwater or distilled water. Keeping the soil consistently damp is essential, and you can enhance their environment by using moss, like sphagnum moss or peat moss, instead of traditional soil (Kellog et al., 2021).

Common Household Plants That Are Toxic For Pets

Having learned about safe household plants for your pets, it's equally crucial to be aware of the common houseplants you should avoid bringing into your home altogether. Here are 10 such plants that are toxic to cats and dogs:

  1. Aloe

Aloe is a popular household plant due to its ease of care and medicinal benefits. However, for our furry friends, chewing on Aloe can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Therefore, it's advisable to refrain from bringing this plant into your home if you have pets (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Chrysanthemum

Your pets may be attracted to Chrysanthemums due to their bright and colorful autumnal flowers, but this flowering plant has several toxic compounds for animals. Ingesting the plant can cause lack of coordination and vomiting. Luckily, symptoms remain mild if only a small portion is ingested (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Daffodil

While Daffodils present pretty white and yellow flowers in the spring, it's important to note that any part of the plant can cause severe symptoms in pets if consumed. These symptoms include abdominal pain, an abnormal heart rhythm, convulsions, diarrhea, and vomiting (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Foxtail Fern

Often hung in pots, Foxtail Ferns, also known as Asparagus Ferns or Emerald Ferns, grow berries and have feather-like leaves that can cause skin irritation in pets. If the berries are ingested, the side effects for pets include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Hyacinth

Another perennial of the spring season, Hyacinths are highly toxic to pets, with most of their toxins concentrated in their bulbs and roots. This flower can cause drooling, mouth burns, diarrhea, and vomiting. Similarly, Tulips can also cause similar symptoms for pets when they are ingested as they descend from the same plant species (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Jade Plant

Jade Plants are a popular choice when selecting succulents for your home, as they are believed to bring good fortune. However, it's worth noting that these succulent plants can lead to symptoms such as depression, loss of balance, and vomiting in pets if ingested (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Lilies

When bringing a bouquet home, it's extremely important to double-check that the bunch doesn’t contain Lilies as these flowers are one of the most poisonous plants for cats. Licking, inhaling, or ingesting even a tiny amount of pollen from Lilies can cause kidney failure and death. Pollen from Lilies is abundant,extremely loose, and can linger in air vents and carpets for a long period. It's best to keep these away from your home altogether (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Oleander

While Oleander, also known as Nerium, is typically an outdoor plant, it is often brought indoors during the harsh winter months to shield it from the elements. Oleander contains a compound called cardiac glycosides and when consumed by pets can cause abnormal heart rhythms, abdominal pain, diarrhea, drooling, and neurological effects (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Philodendron

Philodendrons are excellent choices for beginner plant enthusiasts due to their ease of growth and resilience. However, they are not recommended as a first plant for pet owners, as these houseplants contain high levels of a compound called calcium oxalate crystals, which can be harmful to pets if ingested. This compound can cause vomiting, mouth burns, and excessive drooling when consumed by pets. Similarly, pothos, also known as the devil’s ivy, and snake plants are also toxic to pets as they contain calcium oxalate crystals (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

  1. Sago Palm

Sago Palm contains a compound called cycasin, which is highly toxic to pets. All parts of this plant are toxic and result in fatality when consumed and not treated immediately, as it can cause liver failure within days after ingestion.This makes the Sago Palm another plant that should be kept away from your home if you have pets (VCA Animal Hospitals, n.d.).

Having both pets and houseplants can be a wonderful addition to any home, brightening up both your space and your mood. Allowing your pets to interact with non-toxic plants can even bring some joy to their lives! However, these lists only provide a glimpse into what is safe and what is toxic for animals. With a bit of research and careful plant selection, you can confidently bring plants into your home without worrying about your pets' well-being.

Looking for more information on caring for a house and its outdoor spaces? Visit our blog for more!


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