Unexpected vet visits can be costly but avoidable if you are knowledgeable about toxic vs. non-toxic plants. Be proactive in order to keep your furry family members away from harmful foliage. Our guide on how to keep pets safe from potentially poisonous and toxic plants will keep Fido from barking up the wrong bush.
Make informed decisions about the types of plants to include in your home and outdoor space to keep your home pet safe. The toxicity of plants differs between dogs and cats. There are some plants and flowers listed below that are non-toxic to dogs but can have serious adverse reactions to cats. Examples of a few plants that can be hazardous to pets if ingested include:
- aloe vera
- autumn crocus*
- baby’s breath
- elephant’s ear
- japanese pieris*
- lilies – including calla, Easter, Oriental/Stargazer, and Peruvian (alstroemeria) varieties.
- morning glory
The plants denoted with an asterisk are cardiotoxic and pose the highest risk to pets. Avoid these plants in your home and always cross-reference a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants, such as ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant searchable database. Symptoms from possible ingestion include mild nausea to death caused by kidney failure or a number of different subsequent reactions. A few signs of potential toxicity include cold extremities, racing or irregular pulse, vomiting, lethargy, and rapid breathing. As a precaution, it is strongly suggested that if you suspect your dog or cat may have nibbled a potentially toxic plant, visit the vet immediately and bring a small sample of the plant that your dog or cat may have ingested.
Non-toxic plants are just as beautiful and can brighten up any indoor or outdoor space where your pet may roam. A few examples include:
- African violet
- blue echeveria
- burro or lamb’s tail
- hens and chickens (evergreen succulents)
- ponytail palm
- tiger orchid
- wild hyacinth
To freshen your favorite indoor space, add the lush green foliage of a palm plant that is non-toxic to pets. Indoor plants are said to improve air quality and in some cases, combat air pollutants.
Tips for Plant Life with Pets
To keep playful pups away from your perennials, grow barrier plants that will encourage your four-legged friend to trot around as opposed to through your garden beds. Thorny rose bushes or tall bamboo are non-toxic plants that can be placed in your outdoor space to keep playful paws at bay. If fenced areas are an option, ensure the gate of the fence has a sturdy latch to avoid possible pet intrusions. This is ideal for vegetable gardens that you wish to have quick access to but want to keep your dog or cat out. Dogs are notorious for digging. Check the perimeter of the fence regularly for any holes.
Container gardening is another great alternative to protect both your pets and plants from one another. Place flowers, plants or vegetables in large pots or containers to avoid being trampled by your pet. Depending on the height of the pots or containers, select plants that are non-toxic. The Rosy Outlooks Rose Bush can be replanted in a larger pot or container and is the perfect addition to a porch or deck.
Avoid planting citrus trees where your dog may have access to fallen fruit.
Keep houseplants a safe distance away from pets’ reach. If your cat likes to peruse counters and tabletops, it is essential to only include houseplants that are non-toxic in your home.
Gifting Flowers or Plants
If you are unsure whether the person you plan to send flowers to has a pet, colorful Gerbera Daisies are a safe bet and is non-toxic to both cats and dogs. Avoid bouquets that contain Baby’s Breath, as it is toxic to cats and dogs. Bouquets of Long Stem Mixed Roses are cheerful and vibrant. The recipient will rest at ease knowing the beautiful bouquet is non-toxic to their pets.
The Pony Tail Bonsai or the Lucky 7 Bamboo Arrangement are great alternatives to traditional flower bouquets and are non-toxic to both cats and dogs. Either of the two options make wonderful houseplants and are both relatively low maintenance.