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A Quick Guide to Pet-Friendly Houseplants

  • 5 min read

A Quick Guide to Pet-Friendly Houseplants

Pet parents know that their animals’ health always comes first– especially when it comes to finding new additions to your home, like houseplants. We’re all terrified of having our pets eat something potentially harmful to them, so let’s go over the plants we’ve got on our site and their safety levels for pets.

What is a “Pet-Friendly” Houseplant?

For this piece, we will define a “pet-friendly” houseplant as non-toxic when eaten or touched. Other potential dangers with your houseplants include the presence of needles or burrs that can physically harm your pets, spores that can cause respiratory infections and long vines that pets can get trapped in. 

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Choosing the plants suitable for pets is very essential. 
Photo by Westend61

Our guide will be separated into three sections: plants that are entirely safe for pets, those that may pose some danger, and plants that pet parents should be extra careful around.

Houseplants Suitable for Pets

Plants in this category are completely safe to have around pets, and you won’t need to worry if your furry friend takes a bite from these houseplants.

Calathea

Calathea plants are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, making them an excellent choice for bringing some colorful foliage into a pet-friendly home.

Air Plants

Air plants are generally non-toxic to animals and people, and they’re a great choice for pet parents who want to avoid dirt. Young air plants, however, may pose a choking hazard to your pets. 

Palms

Palm plants, like the Parlor palm and Bella palm, are non-toxic to animals. However, they’re not the most resilient when it comes to being eaten! Try to keep young palms away from animals for the plant’s safety.

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Photo by New Africa 

Hoya

Hoyas are a type of succulent that is non-toxic to pets and particularly hardy. These plants are great to keep around pets, especially on small tables or near sunny windows. 

Hypoestes Phyllostachya

Better known as the Polka Dot Plant, Hypoestes Phyllostachya is non-toxic to animals and people. They are a real deal for plant lovers.

Spider Plants

As one of the best beginner houseplants around, the Spider Plant is an excellent choice for any pet-loving household. They are not toxic to any animals or people.

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Potentially Dangerous Plants

These houseplants vary in toxicity, and while some might not be toxic, they can pose other dangers to your pets. 

Ferns

Ferns are tricky because there are plenty out there that are toxic to animals if eaten, and some also release spores that can cause respiratory infections in your pets. However, ferns like the Bird’s Nest Fern, Boston Fern, and Crissie Fern are not toxic to animals. 

Toxic ferns will cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and stomach pain when eaten.

Kalanchoe/Calandiva

Although they aren’t deadly, members of the Calandiva genus are toxic to animals and people. Ingestion usually causes nausea, but severe poisoning cases may also cause vomiting and diarrhea. 

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Photo by Alexandra Jursova

Ivy

Ivy isn’t deadly, but it is poisonous. Ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Since these plants are so often kept in hanging baskets or on high shelves, they’re generally safe to keep around pets as long as they’re out of reach. 

Callisia Repens

Another toxic trailing plant, Callisia Repens can cause serious poisoning if eaten in large amounts. However, these plants are also often kept hanging in baskets or somewhere out of reach, so they don’t pose as much of a threat to your pets as other houseplants. 

Snake Plants (Sanseveria)

As one of the best starter houseplants out there, Snake Plants are quite popular. They are, however, toxic to animals and people if eaten.

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Photo by Adriana Duduleanu

Ceropegia Woodii

Better known as the “String of” plants, the Ceropegia Woodii is not toxic to animals or people. However, its curly vines are very easy to get tangled up in– keep this plant out of reach to avoid any accidents. 

Tradescantia

Like most trailing houseplants, tradescantias are pretty easy to keep out of reach since they look best atop high shelves or hanging in baskets. As mildly toxic plants, animals may experience irritation of the mouth and skin, nausea, and vomiting when eaten.

Peperomia

Peperomia plants aren’t toxic to most animals or to people. However, they do tend to upset cats’ stomachs. 

Ficus

Despite its existence as an air-purifying favorite, most Ficus plants contain poisonous sap that will cause skin irritation when touched and indigestion when eaten. Keep your Ficus just out of reach to ensure no one gets hurt, and always wear gloves when handling this plant!

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Photo by Kseniya Ovchinnikova

Plants to Avoid

These plants are highly toxic to animals and should be kept away from them as best as possible. Many of these houseplants have unique names for the types of poisoning contracted from ingestion.

Dieffenbachia, Philodendrons, and Monstera

We’ve grouped these three genera together because they all contain the same kind of toxin: Calcium Oxalate. Calcium Oxalate forms tiny needle-like structures that can cause tiny, painful injuries when ingested and skin irritation when touched. 

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Monstera Swiss Cheese is one of houseplants to keep away from pets.
Photo by Kseniya Ovchinnikova

Syngonium

Syngonium poisoning is called Nephthytis poisoning among doctors. It causes irregular heartbeats, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, drooling, dilated pupils, labored breathing, appetite loss, numbness in exposed areas, vomiting, and swelling at the lips and tongue. 

Dracaena

Dracanea houseplants are toxic to animals and people, and ingestion will cause nausea, vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea (also with blood), appetite loss, dilated pupils, and excessive drooling.

Pothos

Just like most other plants on this list, members of the Pothos genera are toxic and can cause drooling, vomiting, pupil dilation, and difficulty swallowing. They can also irritate the tongue, mouth, and lips.

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Pothos genera are toxic and can cause drooling, vomiting, pupil dilation, and difficulty swallowing.
Photo by Dmitry Marchenko

Senecio

Despite their massive variety, it’s best to assume that all Senecio plants are toxic. When eaten, the Senecio can cause liver poisoning and liver failure in both animals and people, making it one of the most dangerous houseplants on this list. 

ZZ Plant

The ZZ Plant is another beginner favorite, but they are toxic to animals and people. It’s best to keep this plant away from animals or children. Touching or ingesting this plant’s sap can cause skin irritation, pain or burning on the affected area, swelling of the lips and mouth, and general dermatitis.

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Despite being a beginner favourite, ZZ plant needs to be kept away from pets.
Photo by Anastasia Baldyniuk

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