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  • Writer's pictureBecca Shrimpton

Are your plants safe for your pets?

We get asked about pet-safe plants a lot in the shop. The answer depends entirely on the personality of your pet - I have a dog and cat at home, and neither of them are the slightest bit interested in any of our plants, they've never bothered with them. I hear that there are cats and dogs that nibble on plants though (Why on earth? Who knows) and there is a lot of info online about the dangers.

Realistically, there are few plants that will actually kill or seriously damage a pet - most will cause a tingly mouth, some digestive upset until the plant has passed through them, or minor skin irritation. Most pets won't enjoy the experience and not go back for more!

True lilies (usually grown outdoors) pose the most dangerous risks to cats. Within a few hours of eating any part of the plant, licking the pollen or even drinking water the flowers are in, cats can lose their appetite, become lethargic and vomit. If they ingest a lot of the plant, it can damage the kidneys, and in severe cases can lead to kidney failure and be fatal.

Here are some common indoor plants that can cause issues for a plant-nibbling pet:

  1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily): Contains calcium oxalate crystals that can lead to mouth or skin irritation and tummy trouble.

  2. Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane): Sap can cause mouth irritation

  3. Philodendron: Contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause tummy distress

  4. Pothos (Devil's Ivy): Can cause mouth irritation and digestive problems for our pets.

  5. Dracaena species: Varieties like the Corn Plant and Dragon Tree can cause symptoms like vomiting, drooling, and loss of appetite if your pet eats a mouthful or two

  6. Caladium: Contains calcium oxalate crystals

  7. Aloe Vera: Great for humans, Aloe Vera can cause digestive issues, lethargy, and tremors in furry creatures (again, they need to eat a fair bit)

  8. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Calcium oxalate crystals

  9. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata): Not so lucky for pets - can cause vomiting, depression and incoordination if consumed. It's not know which compound in a Jade plant causes the problem.

  10. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica): The sap in the stem of a Rubber Plant can cause skin irritation and digestive problems in pets.

The good news is, we don't have to get rid of all our plants - obviously we can put the questionable ones out of reach, and there are also pet-friendly alternatives:

  1. Spider Plant

  2. Areca Palm

  3. Boston Fern

  4. Bromeliads

  5. African violet

  6. Calathea

  7. Parlor palm

  8. Peperomia

  9. Ponytail palm

  10. Prayer plant

  11. Friendship plant

  12. Christmas Cactus

  13. Orchid

  14. Cast Iron plant

  15. Money tree

  16. Staghorn fern

  17. Pleated Bird's Nest Fern

  18. Areca palm

  19. Polka dot plant

  20. Lipstick plant

  21. Phalaenopsis orchid

  22. Philodendron

  23. Baby tears

  24. Echeveria

  25. Crane's-bill

  26. Haworthia

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