Houseplants and pets

Cats, Dogs, Welfare

Most of the time, houseplants and pets get along just fine but it is worth knowing about potential dangers.

When choosing a houseplant, check the label – in garden centres all plants should have a warning label on.
A – Poisonous (usually not for sale!)
B – Toxic if eaten
C – Harmful if eaten

Many of the plants smell or taste disgusting to pets and it is unlikely your pet will ingest enough of any plant to cause serious damage. 

If your pet is a chewer (and those puppies who are teething!) they are most likely to have a reaction to the irritant such as blistering or itching of the mouth and gums (occasionally this is misdiagnosed as gingivitis), sneezing and eye problems. 

Keep an eye on your pet – if they are off their food for several days, vomiting, have diarrhoea, are drooling or pawing at their mouth, then get them to a vet and let them know which plant may have contributed.

Our top 3 plants to avoid owning if you have pets

Dieffenbachia known as dumb cane or leopard lily
Adenium known as desert rose 
Sago palm

Other common houseplants which you should check are not being chomped include…

Aloe (even aloe vera, if ingested)
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia)
Castor Oil Plant/ paper plant (Ricinus communis / Fatsia japonica)
Jade / money plants (Crassula)
Dragon tree (Dracaena)
Elephant’s Ear (Alocasia, Caladium Colocasia, Leucocasia, Remusatia & Xanthosoma)
Flamingo plant (Anthurium)
Lilies including kaffir lily and flame lily
String of pearls/hearts
Umbrella Plant (Schefflera)
ZZ plant

» Further reading about toxic plants for cats is available at International Cat Care

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