Pet-Friendly House Plants

There’s no better way to infuse your home with a sense of color, texture, and healthy energy than by adding houseplants. Besides the aesthetic benefits of trailing green leaves or bursts of color in bloom, they also purify the air and add oxygen, so they positively benefit our health, too.  

Unfortunately, not all of them are good for your pet’s health—many of them cause dangerous side effects, and some can even be deadly. Here’s a roundup of the most poisonous houseplants you need to avoid for your cat or dog, as well as some safer, nontoxic alternatives to make you and your furry friend happy.

Aloe plant (also known as medicine plant or Barbados aloe): It’s great to have on hand for sunburns and soothing skin, but certain parts of this common succulent can irritate your dog or cat’s digestive system, causing vomiting and urinary problems.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: African violet

via ASPCA

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Asparagus fern (also called emerald fern, emerald feather, plumosa fern, lace fern, or sprengeri fern): This frilly favorite is actually poisonous for dogs and cats and can cause not only diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, but skin irritation, too.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Air plants

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Corn plant (also known as Dracaena Fragrans, cornstalk plant, dracaena, dragon tree, or ribbon plant): This tropical beauty is easy on the eyes, but it’s ugly news for your dog or cat. With symptoms of vomiting—often with blood—as well as appetite loss and depression, this is one plant you’ll definitely want to skip.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Ferns (Maidenhair, Boston, and Bird’s Nest)

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Cyclamen (also known as sowbread): This perennial flowering plant sure is pretty—especially when lining the ledges of your windows—but beneath the blooms lie toxic roots, which can cause your dog or cat heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures, and even death.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Orchids

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Dumb cane (also known as dumb cane, tropic snow, or exotica): If you’ve got one in the house, trash it fast: ingesting this plant can cause your cat or dog severe swelling and burning of the mouth, difficulty swallowing and/or breathing, and even death.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Spider plant

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Elephant ear: (also known as caladium, taro, pai, ape, cape, via, via sori, or malanga):  Forget the pink-centered pretty leaves—this colorful plant results in a toxic reaction for pets: difficulty swallowing, swelling and burning of the mouth, excessive drooling, and vomiting.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Zebra plant

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Ivy (also known as pothos, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy, and taro vine): The trails of ivy may be pretty for your wall, but they can be deadly for your furry friend—this plant can cause oral irritation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and can even lead to paralysis or a coma.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Peperomia or Ponytail palm

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Jade (also known as baby jade, dwarf rubber plant, jade tree, Chinese rubber plant, Japanese rubber plant, or friendship tree): This popular plant may be well-loved among black thumbs for its hardiness—but it’s not meant for households with pets. Known symptoms of jade ingestion include decreased heart rate, vomiting, lack of coordination, and depression.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Prayer plant

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Philodendron (also known as horsehead or heartleaf philodendron, cordatum, fiddle leaf, panda plant, split-leaf philodendron, fruit salad plant, red emerald, red princess, or saddle leaf): It’s one of the most common indoor plants, but it’s toxic to dogs and cats. If ingested, it can cause burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, which can lead to difficulty swallowing, vomiting, digestive issues, and even seizures.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Areca or Golden Palm

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Sago palm (also known as Cycas Revoluta): Beware of this exotic plant, because every part of it—roots, leaves, seeds, and all—is poisonous to your furry companion. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, potential liver failure, and even death.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Haworthia succulents

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Lilies (also known as Mauna Loa): Most plants of the lily family are poisonous for cats, and many are toxic for dogs, too—so when in doubt, avoid all lilies. Side effects will include vomiting, severe pain of the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and possible kidney failure, which can result in death.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Bamboo

via Ben White Florist

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ZZ plant (also known as Zamioculcas): Popular because it survives in low-light conditions, this glossy-leaved houseplant causes toxic symptoms in cats and dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea.

A safe (nontoxic) alternative: Burros tail succulent

Now that you’ve got some pet-friendly, safe alternatives to these toxic plants, you can have a livelier, more colorful home—and, best of all, the peace of mind that your favorite feline or mutt is healthy and happy.

 

About the Author: Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who’s passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She’s currently writing her debut novel.

 

14 replies
  1. Feedfond
    Feedfond says:

    Hello, Lauren Pezzullo
    These are some great tips. After going through your article, I came across a lot of information which is very useful to me. I think ALOE PLANT is very useful; it works well as a medicinal plant although some of the dogs breed faces issues with it- like vomiting and digestion. But African violet could be a perfect solution for them. I think your review of various types of plants is very useful & meaningful. Most importantly, thanks for aware of Sago palm (also known as Cycas Revoluta), I think it is very harmful, especially for puppies. Thank for sharing! Cheers! 🙂

    Reply
    • EntirelyPets
      EntirelyPets says:

      I didn’t know about the aloe plant as an issue for pets. The same is true for humans, there is a strong diuretic that needs to be removed from the leaf before people can digest it. Love 🐕🐶

      Reply
  2. Laila Smith
    Laila Smith says:

    I hope you also post the list of common house plants that is harmful for pets cause that would be great! If you already have, please do reply with the link. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Eric Morgan
    Eric Morgan says:

    Agree! I once made my doggy left the house because of putting Daffodils in the sala(A plant/flower that is toxic among dogs). I was really worried. Luckily he had worn the pet collar, trackimo, a gps tracking device or else it would have been very hard to find my dear hershey. After that, I always make a research first what plants to consider inside a home before displaying them.

    Reply
  4. Felix Morgan
    Felix Morgan says:

    Thank you for this information this able to help me of what to plant and what not to plant in our garden because my dogs loves to play in our garden.

    Reply
    • EntirelyPets
      EntirelyPets says:

      Kamal, I often find myself in the nursery sections picking out new plants. They are a great way to make the home feel lively with your animals.

      Reply

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