Houseplants might not be the only living creatures you share your home with. If you have indoor pets, knowing which plants are safe for them to live alongside and which ones could kill them is an important distinction to make.
Plants labeled pet-friendly are considered non-toxic when eaten by animals, but it isn’t foolproof branding. There are as many different kinds of pets as there are plants, yet some marked as safe for companion animals are only friendly to cats, or only to dogs. It’s important to fact check each plant you plan to bring home with a trustworthy source like the ASPCA, Farmers’ Almanac or your local plant shop to ensure they don’t pose a life-threatening risk to your animal companions.
‘Friendly’ means different things to different pets
If a plant is toxic to animals, it means that the consumption of plant material may cause a range of physical symptoms from discomfort to death. Some animals are uninterested in houseplants, whereas others are tempted to bite, chew and consume our green friends.
Some pets ingest plants out of boredom. Some pets have fiber cravings that would be satiated by eating grass or consuming more fruits and vegetables in their diet. For some, they lack external stimuli from toys or routine play, so they act out and resort to gnawing on the houseplants, which can in turn lead to a host of ailments from drooling and difficulty breathing to kidney failure and cardiac arrest.
Likewise, some non-toxic plants that are technically pet-friendly can still cause issues for indoor pets. The alluring curling leaves of the spider plant is a temptation especially for cats who love to paw at their wiggly trailing growth. Although they won’t kill cats if ingested, spider plants have mild hallucinogenic effect on pets.
Don’t forget about plants and flowers that enter your home as a special occasion bouquet or holiday gift like poinsettias :The festive flower isn’t deadly, but it can cause severe mouth irritation and tummy troubles if eaten by cats and dogs.
Understanding your pets’ behavior and meeting their emotional needs with adequate affection and care is one of the best deterrents to them making a regrettable meal from your houseplants.