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Pets and Indoor Plants

09 Oct, 2021

It’s hard to know which plants are safe around pets and which plants are toxic, especially with indoor plants that originate from all over the world. Here is some information on which plants are safe for your fur babies, and which to keep up out of their reach.

Common indoor plants that are safe for pets

Ponytail palm

What cat can resist the long leaves of the ponytail palm?
Thankfully these plants are not poisonous to cats, and though not a great thing for them to chew on, it won't hurt them.
Ponytail palms have a 'bulbous' base that gets larger as the plant matures.

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Haworthia

A succulent that is safe for cats and dogs.
Great for window sills, this plant looks and grows like an aloe, but is much safer for your furry friends.
A beautiful Haworthia succulent with see-through 'windows' in their leaves.

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Phalaenopsis (moth) orchid

Orchids are pet-safe and fairly easy to look after – just don’t overwater them or else they can get root or crown rot.
Moth orchids come in a variety of colours and sizes.

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Boston fern

Known to help improve indoor air quality, these ferns, which love to be in darker, moist areas like bathrooms, are a classic houseplant, and are safe around pets.
Keep these ferns moist in well-lit bathrooms. They can grow fast, so be sure to repot them once every couple of years.

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Spider plant

A common and beloved fast-growing trailing plant, the spider plant helps clear the air of toxins, as well as being safe around cats and dogs. (This plant, in particular, seems to get nibbles from cats. If your cat is taking a liking to it, look into offering it cat grass indoors instead). Easy to grow and propagate from!

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Parlour Palm

Also known as Kentia palms, these are an absolute classic! This palm has been a prized houseplant for hundreds of years. As well as bringing a tropical feel into your home, it is also safe around cats and dogs. Slow growing palms are perfect for any corner of a brightly-lit room.

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African violets

A gorgeous plant with furry leaves and long-lasting blooms of white, blues, purples and pinks. These are safe to be on low tables around cats, and dogs will be fine if they nibble the plant.
African violets don't need a lot of care and like warm rooms with a good amount of indirect light. They come in a range of colours too!

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Hoya

Beautiful trailing plants with star-shaped flowers that can be arranged around south-facing windows, these plants are safe for cats and dogs. Hoya flowers appear in summer and can be in a range of colours depending on what variety they are.

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Christmas cactus

Also known as zygocactus, these plants like blooming in the darkness of winter. Christmas cactus plants are easy to propagate and are non-toxic to animals.
Plants flower in winter and can be pink, peach, white or red.

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Polka dot plant

These beautiful spotty plants are fairly easy to look after and are safe to keep around the pets.
Polka Dot plants come in pink and white, and can be pinched back to encourage clumping.

Maranta leuconeura (prayer plant)

The prayer plant moves as it reacts to the light levels in its environment, and is non-toxic to dogs, cats and horses.
Prayer plants are safe around all pets.

Common indoor plants that are poisonous to pets

Aloe Vera

Okay for humans, this medical plant is not that great for cats and dogs. If ingested, it can induce vomiting and diarrhoea. Though used to help heal scrapes on human skin, Aloe Vera is not to be used on animals.

Devils ivy

A beautiful and popular houseplant, it’s a good idea to keep devil’s ivy on the shelves instead of down low: ingesting can cause foaming at the mouth, vomiting and swelling of the mouth. All Pothos are not suitable for pets.

Dracaena (dragon tree)

A wonderfully low-maintenance and slow-growing plant that suits all levels of light, ingestion of the dracaena may cause drooling, vomiting and weakness.
There are many different types of Dracaena and all are not palatable for pets.

Asparagus fern

All true ferns are considered non-toxic to pets, but the asparagus fern is toxic to pets. Best keep this plant in the bathroom, high up out of reach of any pets that may be tempted to take a nibble. This includes the 'Foxtail' asparagus fern sold instores, or the Feather fern found in New Zealand forests.

Sanserveiria

One of the easiest indoor plants to look after, the snake plant will cause vomiting and diarrhoea when eaten. Mother in Law's Tongue is beautiful, but are not suitable to be chew-toys.

Peace lily

Beautiful plants with deep green foliage that help clean the air. Keen these on desks and tables away from pets, as they can potentially cause oral pain and gastrointestinal problems.
Peace lilies are fine around pets as long as they don't eat the leaves.

Rubber tree (ficus/weeping fig/fiddle-leafed fig)

A popular and common houseplant, most pets ignore this plant, but all parts of the ficuses are toxic to pets and the sap can even cause irritation to human skin. Keep these away from kittens and puppies as they are usually the ones that taste test everything!

How do I stop my pet from eyeing up the plants?

Young animals can be a handful at the best of times! Keep kittens and puppies well away from any indoor plants, and keep your plants up on high shelves or in rooms that pets are not allowed in until they are mature enough to stop chewing on everything in sight. Offer your cat other desirable plants instead, such as cat grass, catmint or catnip. If they have their own plants that they can play with and nibble and that help digestion in the process, they will take less notice of other plants. Take dogs on long walks to enjoy the vegetation outside. Add more play hours into your pet’s day; wearing them out will mean there is less energy to be spent indoors! Sometimes cats might try to use plant pots as kitty litter. This can be narrowed down to environmental stress or behavioural problems. To deter this, move your plant to another location, make the soil in the pot undesirable, allow frequent access outside or change out your kitty-litter box every day so it is nice and clean for your cat. You can also deter this behaviour by putting cat grass or catmint next to or in with the plant, creating a positive area for your pet that they won’t want to dirty.

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