Choosing pet-friendly plants for your home.

Love indoor plants, but want to keep your furry friends healthy and happy? Ensure your cats and dogs are safe with these non-toxic plants.

If you own pets, you’ll know that many cats and dogs enjoy chewing, biting or attacking plants (especially those with moving fronds) during play. If your furry friend is determined to chew through your collection, it’s important to ensure your plants are pet-friendly (non-toxic) to cats and dogs.

Today there are thousands of plants on the market, and as they grow in popularity, increased availability of some pretty cool exotic plants. The best way to protect your pets is to identify exactly which plants will be poisonous to dogs and cats and remember not to bring them home.

Hot tip: Any plant, toxic or not, has the ability to cause problems for pets if they are ingested. Even plants that are not toxic can cause a gastrointestinal upset for your furry friends. Where possible, try to discourage your pets from eating plants. Anything can be dangerous in large quantities.

What to do if your pet ingests a plant

If your pet eats one of your non-toxic plants or happens to eat a plant that could be harmful to them at home or out on a walk, the best thing you can do is identify the plant. If you can, look it up online for potential toxicity.

If you have any doubt as to whether a plant is poisonous to pets, call the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1800 TOX PET. The helpline service is FREE for all pet owners in Australia and New Zealand and aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality that is associated with animal poisonings.

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Which plants could be toxic to my pet?

  • Cannabis: Cannabis poisoning from plants, leftover matter and edibles is one of the most common plant poisoning issues vets see – especially in dogs. Symptoms to look for: Coma, depression, drooling, incoordination, possible respiratory problems, seizures and tremors.
  • Lilies: Lilies (including calla lily, Easter lily, peace lily and Tiger lily) are highly toxic and potentially fatal to cats. Dogs can also be affected by some types. Avoid having any plants from the lily family in or around the home. What to look for: Depression, diarrhoea, difficulty swallowing, kidney damage, kidney failure, lack of appetite, multiple organ failure, stomach pain and vomiting.
  • Sago palms: You’ll likely find Sago palms (cycads) in tropical or ornamental gardens. The whole plant is highly toxic to dogs, and sadly consumption of the sago palm can prove fatal. If you have these at home, be very careful when removing them and ensure no part of the plant is left behind. Symptoms to look for: Diarrhoea, liver damage, liver failure, multiple organ failure and vomiting.
  • Ivy: Many of the popular ivy plants, including English ivy, Devil’s ivy and Golden Pothos are moderately toxic to pets. Things to look for: Diarrhoea, excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, stomach irritation, swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, and vomiting.
  • Philodendrons: The philodendron family includes plants like the Swiss cheese plant (monstera deliciosa), heartleaf and fiddle-leaf philodendron. These have a mild to moderate level of toxicity for cats and dogs. Symptoms to look for: Difficulty swallowing, oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips and vomiting.
  • Rubber tree plants: The Japanese, Chinese, Indian and jade rubber plants are toxic to cats and dogs. What to look for: Decreased appetite, depression, diarrhoea, drooling, skin irritation and vomiting.
  • Aloe vera: While aloe vera is considered a medicinal plant for humans, it has a mild to moderate level of toxicity for cats and dogs. Symptoms to look for: Anorexia, change in urine colour, depression, diarrhoea, lethargy, tremors and vomiting.

What are some good pet-friendly, non-toxic plants?

Zebra plant

Pet-friendly plants for home: Zebra plants

Zebra plants look similar to aloe in shape and size. While aloe is toxic to cats and dogs, the zebra plant is totally pet-safe.

Chain of hearts

Chain of Hearts are a fast-growing plant that require very little water. It’s a great non-toxic hanging plant option. 

Most succulents and cacti

Pet-friendly plants for home: Hens and Chickens.

Most succulents are non-toxic to our pets. Consider Hens and Chickens, Burro’s Tail and Haworthia.

Spider plant

Pet-friendly plants for home: Spider plant.

Spider plants are non-toxic and low maintenance, so win-win! If they don’t scare your pets away, at least you can take comfort in knowing they’re safe for your home.

Ferns

Pet-friendly plants for home: Boston fern

Try something like a Boston fern to keep your home happy and healthy. Boston ferns are also air purifying.

Calathea

Renowned for their pretty and often unique appearance, calathea plants have been a hot trend in 2020. They’re also safe for your furry friends, so no need to stress around these.

Peperomia

Peperomia look great, and they’re non-toxic to cats and dogs. Extra bonus: They look great in hanging baskets, and don’t mind if you forget to water occasionally.

Palms

Most palms are fine to be kept around pets. Choose from Areca, Golden palm and Ponytail palm as pet-friendly options for indoors. Try to avoid any palms with the words ‘Sago’ or ‘Cycad.’

Bromeliads

Bromeliads are pet-friendly plants, easy to maintain and only need a bright window and a humid environment.

Venus flytrap

Pet-friendly plants for home: Venus flytrap

Venus flytraps might look intimidating, but they’re non-toxic to cats and dogs, so a curious nibble won’t result in a trip to the vet.

Orchids

Pet-friendly plants for home: Orchid

Love your orchids? If they’re your thing, you can safely add them to your list of pet-friendly plants for your home. These guys love partial light and will typically bloom a few times a year.

Lauren Vardy
Content Manager at | Website

Lauren Vardy is the author behind the Rent.com.au Blog, a site built to help renters find a home and navigate their renting journey. She is the Content Manager at Rent.com.au. Outside of work, she dabbles in all things health, fitness and houseplants.