Pets & House Plants – What ‘s Safe & What’s Not

Dog holding flower in his mouth
Photo credit: Spiritze / Pixabay

Plants and pets add warmth to our homes, and our pets are like our children – we love them, spoil them and do our best to take care of them.  But for those us who are plant lovers as well, this means making sure the houseplants we have won’t harm our fur babies.

The best approach is to simply keep poisonous plants away from pets.  But while keeping pets and plants separated seems like the obvious first step, it’s no so easy.  Cats especially can get anywhere in the house so even placing plants up high doesn’t mean your kitty is safe.  Instead, it’s best to avoid common house plants poisonous to dogs and cats, and focus on those that are harmless.

Here’s a list of both to get you started:

Plants Poisonous to Pets

Dieffenbachia in a wicker basket



This plant contains oxalate crystals that can cause your pet’s mouth, lips and tongue to become irritated. This can include a burning sensation, severe drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing. If your pet chews the leaves of the dieffenbachia it isn’t going to be pleasant.

Other names and varieties of this poisonous plant include:

  • Charming dieffenbachia
  • Dumbcane, giant dumbcane, spotted dumbcane
  • Exotica, exotica perfection
  • Tropic snow
Aloe plant
Photo Credit:marcegaral / Pixabay


This is a common houseplant and one that is great for humans. It cleans the air and the sap is very healing for burns. But for your pets, it can be an extremely toxic poisonous plant. Dogs and cats are affected by it. When ingested it causes anorexia, depression, diarrhea, tremors, and vomiting.

Close up photo of Philodendron plant.


Philodendrons are beautiful. They are easy to grow which makes them the perfect houseplant unless you have pets. They are related to dieffenbachia and contain the same oxalates only more so. If chewed they will produce the same symptoms as the dieffenbachia but only on a more severe level.

Other names and varieties of this poisonous plant include:

  • Elephant ear
  • Selloum
  • Pothos – a relative and common house plant
  • Green Heartleaf
  • Mini Split Leaf

Close up of snake plant.

Snake Plant

The snake plant isn’t as toxic to pets as some of the others but it’s still one to avoid. Snake plants produce saponins which protects the plants from fungi and insects. It can cause tummy troubles in pets.

Other names and varieties:

  • Golden bird’s nest
  • Good luck plant
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue

Jade plant in bowl on kitchen counter

Jade Plant

Another beautiful house plant but one that can cause real problems for pets. If ingested, this poisonous plant can cause slow heart rate, depression, loss of coordination and vomiting.

Other names and varieties:

  • Japanese Rubber Plant (or Chinese rubber plant)
  • Friendship Tree
  • Dwarf Rubber Plant

These are a few of the most common plants that can be toxic but here are a few more to watch out for:

  • Peace lily
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Caladium
  • Sago Palm – can cause liver failure
  • English Ivy
  • Poinsettia
  • Cyclamen
  • Asparagus ferns
  • Corn plant

Dog sleeping near Jade plant

Pet Friendly Plants

While many plants can make a pet sick, there are even more that would be safe! Here’s a list of pet-safe plants perfect for households with dogs or cats.

Spider Plants

Spider plants are easy to grow and care for. They produce lots of baby plants that you can clip and replant. The only risk here is that it does hang over and your kitty may think it’s a plaything.

Boston Ferns

These are quite lovely and are wonderful as a natural humidifier. So if you want to improve your air quality and keep your furry friends safe the Boston fern is an excellent choice.

African Violet

These lovely plants love sunshine and add a splash of color all year round. You can find them in brilliant purples and other eye-catching colors. Plus they are totally non-toxic to both cats and dogs.

Tradescantia Zebrina

This is a gorgeous plant with green and purple leaves. It hangs beautifully and appears to be a favorite with cats.

Wax Plant

Another plant that is known for its ability to help clean the air. No toxic problems with this plant.

Umbrella Plant

A nice big plant that will add lovely greenery to your rooms and keep your pets safe.

Choose Wisely

Before bringing any plant inside your home do your homework. Make sure plants are not poisonous to your pets. It’s your job to keep them safe.

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