Like plants, sharing our home with pets comes with many rewards. Nevertheless, we can be deterred from collecting plants when we worry that our inquisitive animals may be at risk. The good news is that there’s peace of mind once we understand how to safely welcome plants into the homes we share with our furry friends.
To minimize the possibility of your cat or dog being affected by plants that are toxic to them, we’ll detail what it means for plants to be toxic to our pets, tips for safe living with them both, and our top suggestions for options that are completely pet-friendly!
WHAT MAKES A PLANT TOXIC FOR PETS
Plenty of items in our home peak the interest of our pets. Houseplants are unique in that they are more likely to be placed somewhere accessible, especially as they grow with us over the years. When they’re ingested, the outcomes range from mild to severe symptoms of toxicity, though some plants are not harmful at all.
Some plants have clear risks, like the needles on the Golden Barrel Cactus. Others are less obvious, containing a toxic sap or small, sharp crystals inside the leaves and stems. When ingested by cats and dogs, symptoms are typically immediate or within a few hours. The most common responses to ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, or panting. These mild symptoms help animals expel irritants in the system and soothe any discomfort. The severity of toxicity will depend on the plant type, the size of your pet, and how much has been consumed.
For plants that are moderate to severely toxic, symptoms may include swelling of the face or airways, weakness, tremors, and loss of appetite. If you suspect your pet ingested plant parts, provide them with attentive supervision in case they show any signs of irritation. Should you observe concerning changes, take these immediate steps:
- Seek veterinary care or advice and be prepared to identify the plant.
- Contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, available 24/7.
- Encourage them to flush their mouth with milk, canned food, broth, or yogurt.
- Place the plant(s) out of reach or in a room that’s off-limits for your pet.
TIPS FOR LIVING IN A HOME WITH PETS + PLANTS
The best way to reduce the risk of your pet’s curiosity is to keep your plants out of their reach. While this may be particularly challenging for caretakers of agile cats, it gives us creative motivation to get crafty in our homes. Place smaller plants high up on bookshelves, floating shelves, or hanging planters. Larger plants look great on plant stands, stools, or even DIY greenhouses. Focus on options with a minimal surface area that would make it difficult for your pet to rest or prop on. Here are some other Grounded tips for living with pets and plants:
- If a leaf or stem has been injured by your pet, prune the injured part or sprinkle cinnamon on any exposed cuts to prevent infection.
- Trim plants with enticing silhouettes regularly to prevent teasing our furry friends (we’re thinking of the beautiful vines on the Pothos)!
- Make your pet’s environment stimulating and exciting with toys, exercise, and attention.
- If you have a bright room in your home, dedicate it to your plants and keep it off-limits to your pets!
- Cats and dogs are naturally deterred by the smell of citrus. Placing fresh citrus peels on topsoil can be a great and eco-friendly method of pet-safe care!
- Note that while citrus usually deters pets, some extra-curious companions may try to consume the peels, which are also toxic upon ingestion.
GROUNDED PET-SAFE PLANT OPTIONS
More than anything, we want to encourage connection with nature no matter the lifestyle you already live and love - pet’s included. We’re enthusiastic about our pet-friendly collection to offer you peace of mind in your home. Peruse some of our favorites - perfectly safe for the other companions in our lives!