When we have four-legged family members roaming our homes, it’s important to make sure any plants within paws-reach are non-toxic. Both dogs and cats alike can get very sick from ingesting poisonous plants, and the toxicity will mainly affect their gastrointestinal tract. Some symptoms include difficulty breathing, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urination, and irregular heart beat. If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant, call the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 764-7661 right away!
In the following lists, you might see a “spp.” (plural), which is used to refer to multiple plants in the same genus, or “several species”. For example, “Dracaena spp.” refers to multiple species within the Dracaena plant genus. If you would like further clarification regarding the confusion surrounding plant names, please see my super nerdy post, Common Name Confusion.
The following list includes, but is not limited to, common houseplants that are TOXIC to dogs and cats:
Note: For safety purposes, please assume all plant species of the same genus would be toxic to pets. So for example, Monstera deliciosa is toxic to pets; therefore, it’s safe to say that all ~50 species of Monstera would also be, e.g. Monstera adansonii.
- Aloe vera
- Dracaena spp.
- English Ivy, Hedera helix
- Kalanchoe spp.
- Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum wallisii
- Pencil Cactus, Euphorbia tirucalli
- Pothos, Epipremnum aureum
- Sago Palm
- Satin Pothos, Scindapsus pictus
- Snake Plant, Sansevieria trifasciata
- Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa
- Umbrella Tree, Brassaia actinophylla
- Wandering Jew, Tradescantia flumeninsis
- Weeping Fig, Ficus benjamina
- Yew, Taxus baccata
If you can’t live without some of these plants, I don’t blame you. I can’t either. But be sure to keep them out of reach. Keep them off any counters or shelves where your feline friends can get to. For example, keep your Pothos, English Ivy, or Wandering Jew trailing along the ceiling where your cat can only admire them from afar. You could even consider keeping your toxic plants in a room that is off-limits to your pet. If your pet is strictly indoors, depending on the plant and your hardiness region, you could keep it outside.
Another thing you can try, is to make a tea with chili flakes. Let it cool, put it in a spray bottle, and spray on the leaves to deter your pet from ingesting toxic plants that are impossible to keep away from them. Test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure no damage will be done to the appearance of the leaves.
Here is a list of NON-TOXIC common houseplants for dogs and cats:
- Air Plant, Tillandsia
- African Violet
- Asparagus Fern, Asparagus densiflorus
- Asparagus plumosus
- Boston Fern
- Button Fern
- Calathea spp.
- Donkey’s Tail, Sedum morganianum
- Ghost Plant, Graptopetalum paraguayense
- Goldfish Plant, Hypocyrta nummularia
- Haworthia spp.
- Hens and Chicks, Echeveria elegans
- Holiday Cactus (includes “Thanksgiving Cactus”, “Christmas Cactus”, and “Easter Cactus”)
- Ice Plant, Lampranthus piquet
- Lipstick Plant, Aeschynanthus humilis
- Parlor Palm, Chamaedorea elegans
- Peperomia obtusifolia
- Pilea ssp.
- Rattlesnake Plant, Calathea lancifolia
- Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum
- Staghorn Fern, Platycerium bifurcatum
I try to keep my cats away from all my plants, just because I don’t like how the leaves look when masticated by feline fangs. Wheatgrass specifically grown for cats can help curb their appetite for your ornamental houseplants. As Jackson Galaxy would say, “follow a no with a yes”.
A note about bamboo: My cats love it. The minute they go outside, they love chomping down on my several bamboo plants. They’ll visit each variety like they’re at a salad bar. Oh is it annoying! But after all, bamboo is a grass, which in small amounts actually helps them with digestion.
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