As a caring pet owner, you might be reluctant to bring plants into your home for fear they could harm your dog or cat. Several plant varieties are poisonous to animals, but there are just as many pet-friendly house plant options. From spider plants to Christmas cacti and even the common moth orchid, there are many beautiful plants you and your pet can both appreciate. That's not to say that you should encourage consumption of these plants, as ingestion of any plant material can potentially lead to vomiting or diarrhea. However, you can enjoy peace-of-mind that your furry friend is safe with these pet-friendly plant varieties, even if they decide to take a bite.
Pet-friendly House Plants
There are many sacrifices you have to make as a pet owner. Fortunately, owning plants doesn't have to be one of them. You're probably familiar with the poisonous plants you should avoid in a household with animals, but do you know which ones are safe? These 10 plant types are attractive, relatively easy to care for, and non-toxic to dogs and cats.
Spider plants grow rapidly and tend to drop small "spiderettes," or baby plants. If your dog happens to gobble one of these off the floor, there's no need to panic, as spider plants aren't toxic. They are also a great animal-friendly option because they can improve the air quality in your home. Spider plants are known to remove harmful toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, so they'll help keep you and your pets healthy.
Most succulents are safe to have around pets, including echeveria, which is likely the most well-known succulent type. They come in a wide range of sizes and shades. Other pet-friendly succulents include lithops, haworthia, plush plants, donkey's tails, hens and chicks, and ghost plants. However, you should avoid aloe vera, jade plant, and string-of-pearls, as these can be harmful to animals.
Petite and pretty, the African violet is a great choice for households with pets. They're small enough to fit on a windowsill or shelf so they're out of reach. However, even if your dog or cat does get a hold of one, know that African violets are not poisonous. That includes both the plant and flowers.
The moth orchid (Phalaenopsis orchid) is the most common type of orchid available in stores and given as gifts. Even though these flowers are often confused with lilies, they are not from the same family, so these plants do not carry the same kidney-damaging properties that lilies have. Instead, all parts of these orchids are not toxic to pets.
Pilea cadierei, more frequently referred to as the aluminum plant, is a stunning, variegated indoor plant. It earned its name because it looks like the leaves were splattered with aluminum paint. But unlike paint or aluminum, these plants are safe for pets. Most other members of the Pilea plant genus are also considered non-toxic, including artillery plants, friendship plants, and Chinese money plants.
One of the most attractive and resilient pet-friendly plants is the prayer plant. There are several varieties you can choose from, which all have unique colors and veining along their large leaves. In addition, prayer plants do well in low light, so they're a great option for spaces without many windows. That also means you can keep them on a bookshelf away from your cat, though they are non-toxic, if your pet should get to them.
If you're looking for a large houseplant that's also pet-friendly, the money tree is a great choice. These beautiful trees feature tall trunks, which are often braided together. Because they can grow very tall (up to 8 feet!), it's unlikely that your dog or cat will have the opportunity to munch on the leaves, but if they do, know that money trees are non-toxic to pets. Not only that, but these plants naturally purify the air and are used as a good luck symbol in Feng Shui. Just be careful not to confuse the money tree (Pachira aquatica) with the jade plant, which is sometimes referred to as a money tree or money plant, because jade plants are toxic to pets.
Despite the name, Christmas cacti are not just reserved for the holidays. These trailing plants can invigorate any space year-round, whether you keep them in a hanging basket or on a shelf. And you don't have to worry about having them in a home with pets because both the plants and flowers are non-toxic. Consider gifting a Christmas cactus to friends with animals instead of a toxic holiday plant.
If you're looking for a house plant with lush foliage, consider a Boston fern. These beautiful plants are safe to keep in a house with animals. Ferns can grow to be several feet tall, so they can make a great indoor floor plant, though some people choose to place them in hanging baskets. However, if you don't care for the look of the Boston, there are other pet-friendly ferns you can choose from, including bird's nest and maidenhair ferns. Just avoid keeping toxic ferns, like the asparagus fern.
While this might not be the most attractive house plant, it's definitely the safest one for your pets. In fact, eating it can have health benefits. Cat grass can provide animals with nutrients, including vitamins D and A, folic acid, and fiber. Even though it's called cat grass, this plant is not just for cats; dogs can enjoy it, too. Just make sure your pet doesn't overdo it, as too much of anything can cause gastrointestinal upset. Keep this plant low to the ground to avoid your pet knocking the pot over while they graze, and never use chemicals or pesticides on cat grass.
Non-toxic Plants Can Still Cause Digestive Upset
It's important to know that, even if a plant is confirmed to be non-toxic and will not poison an animal, your pet can still experience side effects if they eat it. Ingestion of pet-friendly plants can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or drooling, particularly if your dog or cat has a sensitive stomach or eats a large amount of the foliage. Always monitor your pet and seek veterinary care if you notice the following signs:
- Difficulty breathing
- Ataxia (wobbliness)
- Extreme lethargy
- Not eating
- Continuous vomiting
- Unresolved diarrhea
Choose Pet-friendly Plants for Your Home
It's possible for pets and plants to live harmoniously. By choosing pet-friendly plants, placing them in inaccessible areas like shelves or hanging baskets, and using deterrent techniques to keep pets out of the plants, you can protect everyone. If you'd like to venture outside of the plants listed here, use the American Society of the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) non-toxic plant list as a reliable resource when choosing outdoor plants or houseplants.