With people spending more time at home over the past 18 months, many of us have sought new ways to bring joy into our households. We know people love their pets, but animals aren’t the only new members of our families! According to national plant suppliers, business is booming like never before. Whether you’re a new pet or plant parent, you may not be aware that many plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. So, we’ve compiled a list below of pet safe plants and unsafe plants for your household.
As you can imagine, there are thousands of different plant types and species! This list is meant to highlight the most common indoor and outdoor plants that are safe or unsafe to our four-legged family members. For a more comprehensive list, use the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants list as a resource to determine if it’s safe for your pets.
These very common, easy-to-care-for houseplants can brighten any room. Spider plants are hardy, pet safe plants that can handle cooler conditions and prefer to be root bound in their pots—they don’t need to be repotted often! Spider plants like to be well watered, but not soggy. So allow them to dry out between watering. They produce babies on their tips that can be cut and replanted. They come in several varieties including “Bonnie” which has unique curling leaves.
African violets come in limitless colors, shapes, and sizes. These are perfect pet safe plants for Atlanta as they love warm, humid and bright conditions. Their thick velvety leaves and brightly colored flowers are very eye-catching! African violets prefer a good breeze to keep mold from accumulating on the soil. It’s beneficial to prune regularly, but don’t repot too soon or you won’t receive blooms.
Christmas Cacti are a holiday favorite of many plant lovers. The two other variations—Thanksgiving Cactus and Easter Cactus— are named after the time of year during which they bloom. Their flowering colors range from pink and orange to lilac. Since poinsettias are well known for being toxic to plants, consider adopting a Christmas cactus as your new pet safe plant to mark the start of the holidays.
Succulents are another favorite houseplant, especially for those who believe the green-thumb gene skipped their generation. Succulents are much more drought tolerant than other houseplants.
Common types of succulents that are safe for pets include Blue Echeveria, Chickens and Hens, Ghost Plant, Mexican Rosettes, Painted Lady, Plush Plant, and Wax Rosettes
Nerve plants and Polka Dot plants
These are brightly colored plants that come in a variety of colors including white, pink and magenta. Although these are fairly easy pet safe plants to care for, they are dramatic both in appearance and behavior. They are prone to “fainting” when they need water, but perk back up quickly. Although these plants are generally non-toxic to dogs and cats, they may result in mild vomiting and diarrhea.
Haworthia (Zebra plant)
Zebra plants are popular houseplants due to their unique appearance. They make a great decor piece for coffee tables, bookcases, shelves, desk and window sills. Thankfully they are safe for pets and can be planted in rock gardens with other succulents.
Their deep green leaves and braided trunk make money trees a popular favorite among houseplants. Money trees are known to symbolize wealth and good fortune.
Cat grass is an easy, pet safe plant that is generally a mix of either wheat, barley, oats, or rye. This is NOT the same grass that grows outdoorse which could contain pesticides. Small amounts of cat grass can be a fun treat for your cat and possibly provide small amounts of fiber to their diet. They also contain folic acid which can be beneficial in a cat’s diet.
As with all things you give your pet, moderation is key. Although these pet safe plants are “non-toxic,” there is always risk when non-food items are ingested. You should seek advice from a vet before bringing new plants in if your pet is a “snacker.” If any plant is consumed in excess, please contact a medical professional for advice.
Corn Plant (Dracaena)
Corn plants are great starter plants for people who believe they have a “brown thumb.” On average, they can grow up to 8 feet making them a great statement plant in any room. Sadly, corn plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. They can cause vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation and dilated pupils in cats.
Aloe Vera is a common houseplant due to its remedial properties. But sadly, these plants are not safe for either dogs or cats. Its white sap can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors and general central nervous system depression in your pets.
This pretty plant with large leaves is poisonous to dogs and cats. Elephant ear plants can cause increased salivation or drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
Every part of this exotic-looking plant can be toxic to pets. Unfortunately, most pets love the way they taste, so be sure to keep them out of their reach. Side effects of ingestion include diarrhea, vomiting, liver failure and even death.
Philodendrons are sought-after houseplants due to their large and unique green leaves. However, this common house plant contains crystals which are irritating to pets’ lips, gums, tongue and throat. Pets may quickly begin drooling, retching, pawing at the mouth and vocalizing.
There are many varieties of lilies. While some aren’t toxic, others can be deadly. Stargazer and Easter lilies are very toxic to cats only, and can cause death if left untreated because they damage the kidneys. Peace lilies are toxic to both dogs and cats, and can cause vomiting, irritated lips and tongue and problems swallowing.
Most people don’t realize that tomato plants can harm pets, so keep them behind fencing or in the front yard. If ingested, the plant’s green stems, leaves and unripe fruit can result in diarrhea, drowsiness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate and confusion
These springtime perennials are popular due to their beautiful flowers and cold-temperature tolerance. Most flower bulbs are poisonous to pets. However, daffodils can cause more severe symptoms than tulips and hyacinths, for example, including vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, low blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia.
Rhododendrons are late-blooming evergreen shrubs that enhance outdoor landscapes. Their bright flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds in the spring. Despite their beauty, Rhododendrons and Azaleas are toxic to pets. They can cause vomiting, irregular heart rhythm, changes in blood pressure, neurological problems and death.
Begonias are popular for their colorful flowers, unique leaves and easy maintenance. There are over 1,000 species of begonias, and all are toxic to pets. They contain the same crystals as the philodendron, but they also contain an additional crystal that can cause kidney injury and inflammation.
If any of your house plants are mentioned in the list above, it’s best to be safe and keep them out of your pet’s reach. Alternatively, you can give your plant to a friend who doesn’t have pets, and consider buying pet safe plants from our list above. If your pet displays any of the symptoms listed above or if you think your pet may have ingested part of a poisonous plant, please contact your vet immediately. You can also call the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888.426.4435.