We absolutely love brightening up our homes with beautiful houseplants, but did you know that many of your favourite plants can be harmful and even toxic to cats and dogs? Many of our pets are naturally curious, and they may go munching on our indoor plants so it is important to make sure that any plants you have decorating your home are safe for curious cats and dogs! It is important to note that many plants go by multiple names, so it is important to thoroughly research what plants you have or are intending to buy to make sure they are safe for your furry companion. Before we take you through our favourite pet-safe plants we wanted to share a few popular plants that are definite no-no's for cats and dogs.
Houseplants that are toxic cats and dogs;
- Lilies: The Lily family of plants is quite large, but some members of it are toxic to dogs and cats. The Mauna Loa, also known as the Peace Lily, is toxic to dogs and cats while the Stargazer and Easter Lilies are toxic for cats only. In fact, the Stargazer and Easter Lily could be fatal to cats if it goes untreated as it affects the animal’s appetite and kidneys. As for the Peace Lily, your dog or cat could start vomiting and have a problem swallowing due to irritated lips and tongue if it’s ingested.
- Pothos / Devil's Ivy: This popular house plant can be identified by its variegated leaves that are often heart-shaped in appearance. It is also known as Satin or Silk Pothos. This plant is toxic to both dogs and cats as it can irritate the mouth and tongue. In addition, your pet may also suffer from vomiting, increased salivation and swallowing difficulties. The plant is related to Philodendron and can cause similar symptoms.
- Asparagus Fern: Though most species of fern are safe for pets, the asparagus fern is harmful to both cats and dogs. Also known as Emerald Fern, Emerald Feather, Sprengeri Fern, Lace Fern and Plumosa Fern, the plant contains a toxin called Sapogenin and if the berries are ingested it can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and inflammation of the skin.
Now that we know which plants are best avoided, here are some of our favourite pet-safe houseplants;
- Spider Plant: Chlorophytum comosum, commonly referred to as Spider Plants, are safe for dogs and probably one of the most widely recognised houseplants. These plants are popular for beginners because they are one of the easiest plants to care for. They are tolerant of neglect and can thrive in almost any home. They also grow relatively quickly, meaning they're perfect if you're looking for a big, dramatic plant fast. If you are a novice looking for a pet-friendly starter plant, we can't recommend spider plants enough!
- Tillandsia: More commonly known as air plants, they are the perfect plant for a home with pets. Air plants are non-toxic to dogs, low maintenance, very decorative and petite. Many varieties even flower! Since they do not require soil to grow, they can fit just about anywhere! Tillandsia are often displayed on shelfs set on driftwood, small urns, or in hanging glass bulbs – anywhere a little paws cannot get to them.
- Prayer Plant: The Maranta Plant, also known as the Prayer Plant, is non-toxic to both dogs and cats. This fascinating plant has a unique ability - its oval-shaped leaves raise to an upright position during the night and the leaves fold together as if in prayer. Their velvety green leaves often have reddish or pinkish veins running through them too. These plants are easy to care for, do well in hanging baskets and make for a wonderful pet safe house plant.
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- Maidenhair Fern: Maidenhair Ferns are soft ferns with fan shaped, feather-like leaves. Some people find these ferns harder to look after, but they can be easy to care for one you learn the trick. These plants love water so much that you practically cannot over-water them – add in a bit of bright light and you are set. They tend to do particularly well in well-lit bathrooms. These plants flourish in the right conditions and would make a wonderful addition to any pet loving home as Maidenhair Ferns, like many other true ferns, are non-toxic to dogs and cats.
- Cat Grass: Wheat Grass, also known as pet grass or cat grass is an easy to care for house plant that is actually good for your pets! This dog and cat friendly non-toxic plant is quite nutrient dense - containing chlorophyll, fiber, Vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium plus some protein and carotenoids. Wheat grass can also help soothe pets with upset stomachs. It’s easy to grow and care for but does require some clipping, similar to a garden lawn.
We hope you've been inspired to liven up your home with some greenery! There are plenty of beautiful, pet-friendly plants out there, so you don't have to miss out on the houseplant trend to keep your pets safe. Just remember to always do your research and if in doubt speak with your vet. What is your favourite pet-safe houseplant? Let us know!
Photographs of Io and Janosch by @panamapaws on IG