Spring has sprung, and you're probably tidying up your home (or preparing to) as we speak – and maybe bringing fresh energy into your home with some leafy green houseplants! While plants can bring a lot of benefits to your space, keep in mind that not all plants mix well with pets. Some houseplants are toxic to pets, and it’s important to know which ones to avoid.
If you’re planning on bringing some new plants home, refer to our tips before you visit the nursery. Plant parents, don’t fear – we have recommendations and replacements that will keep your space beautiful and won’t harm your fur-babies.
Recognizing the signs of plant toxicity in your pets
If your fur-baby does get into something they shouldn’t, it’s important to know the signs of plant toxicity in your pets. Signs to look out for include:
If your dog or cat is experiencing any symptoms of plant toxicity, please call your nearest emergency veterinarian. If they are not available, contact the Animal Control Poison Hotline online or by calling (888) 426-4435.
Please do not attempt to treat your animal for plant toxicity on your own. Attempting to induce vomiting may be harmful to your pet, as different plant toxicities require different treatments and solutions. Consult your emergency veterinarian or the Animal Control Poison Hotline for further instruction.
Popular plants that are toxic to dogs and cats
To minimize the chance of your fur-baby experiencing plant toxicity, we recommend leaving certain plants out of the household altogether – particularly for cats who spend time home alone, as they may explore the house and get into a potentially dangerous situation. To keep your pups and kitties safe, refer to the ASPCA’s thorough list for detailed descriptions of toxic and non-toxic houseplants.
Here are some of the most common houseplants that are dangerous for your furry family members.
Lilies (Extra Kitty Caution!)
Be extremely careful around lilies! Each part of the lily plant is toxic to your feline. Even the pollen from an Easter lily can cause kidney failure. Though non-toxic to dogs, pet parents should still exercise caution, as Easter lilies can still cause intestinal discomfort for dogs.
Be mindful to keep other popular toxic flowers such as daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and tulips away from cats, too. With spring on the brain, check out our blog post with even more spring safety tips for indoor and outdoor cats.
The Sago palm is a popular, aesthetically-pleasing plant known for giving off a tropical vibe to your home. The spiked fronds and fibrous trunk are actually extremely harmful for dogs and cats. If any part of the plant is ingested, it could cause liver failure and heart issues. This plant is also toxic to humans and it is recommended to handle it while wearing gloves.
The easy-to-grow corn plant only needs watering every seven to ten days. If you’re looking for convenience, though, you may want to search elsewhere. The corn plant can cause appetite loss and vomiting in your dog or cat.
Though a fresh bunch of chives from the garden is a great addition to your dinner, keep it away from your furry friends! Chives are part of the Amaryllidaceae family and are known to cause vomiting, anemia, high heart rate, panting, and blood in urine in both felines and canines.
An ivy trellis may be a beautiful sight in the springtime, but not if your pup or kitty ingests it! The compounds in ivy can cause internal bleeding and abdominal pain in pets. Keep an eye out for ivy when you’re out on a walk with your pooch, as well, particularly if your dog likes to chew wild flora.
The jade plant, a member of the succulent family, is known for resilience (forgivable for those who are prone to killing plants) and rubber leaves. The jade plant is toxic for dogs and cats and can cause depression, vomiting, and slow-heart rate.
The aloe vera plant may be helpful for humans, but our four-legged friends should avoid them. Chewing on leaves can release toxins in the white latex of aloe (called anthraquinone glycosides). These toxins can cause diarrhea, appetite changes, and vomiting in both cats and dogs.
The pothos has become increasingly popular for new plant enthusiasts, but pet parents should think twice before bringing these into the house. The marble-leaved plant is aptly nicknamed “the Devil’s ivy.” The leaves and stems of the pothos contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are released when a dog or cat bites into the plant. This causes decreased appetite, burning sensation in the mouth, and vomiting.
The simple and slender snake plant is a favorite indoor addition for many people. However, these plants are actually poisonous to dogs and cats. Pet parents should reconsider, as ingestion can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Pet-safe houseplants we recommend
If you’ve been eyeing a new plant that you find out is toxic, don’t despair! There’s a long list of dog and cat safe alternatives. Whether it’s for aesthetic purposes or functionality, there is a replacement for almost any toxic plant. Here are some of our favorites.
A non-toxic friendly lookalike to the common aloe vera plant is the haworthia succulent. These tiny guys are spiky, striped, and don’t require frequent watering.
If you’re looking for a statement piece, try the pilea plant! Also referred to as the money plant, the round, disc-shaped leaves are unique and won’t harm your pets.
Don’t confuse the money tree with the money plant. The money plant is highly toxic to dogs and cats. The money tree, however, is safe. In contrast to the money plant’s circular and rubbery leaves, the money tree has drier, longer leaves that grow in bunches of five or six. Known in Feng Shui as a traditionally lucky symbol, the money tree is said to bring prosperity and positivity to the owner.
This plant’s velvety leaves and deep purple petals are a great substitute for other seasonal flowers. Also available in hues of blue, pink, and red, the gorgeous African violet is low-maintenance and non-toxic to dogs and cats.
The spider plant is easy for beginners and pet-friendly! Spider plants are non-toxic to both cats and dogs.This plant is low-maintenance and will still thrive in any location that’s out of reach of your pet.
Similarly, Boston ferns are great hanging plants. This means they can be kept out of reach from cats and dogs and provide a gorgeous seasonal ambiance to your home.