Today is Houseplant Appreciation Day, and if you’re a nature-loving animal-loving person (like me!) then you’re keen to share your home with both plants and pets. Unfortunately, some common houseplants can be hazardous to pets. Sometimes pets can be hazardous to the houseplants, too! With a little extra knowledge and strategic placement to avoid unwanted nibbling, knock-overs, or (eek!) potty problems, plants and pets can safely share your home. Not only can houseplants beautify your space, they can help to purify the air (always helpful with pets), regulate humidity, and boost your well-being. Sounds pretty nice, right? Let’s take a look at houseplant safety for pets.
This post has been created in collaboration with our partner blog Green in Real Life and by invitation from the creative folks at Fix to share their pawesome pet plant safety infographics. The poisonous plant graphic below is an excerpt of a more comprehensive graphic and article at Fix.com. Check out their full How to Grow Houseplants without Harming Your Pets post for more great info.
Choosing Plants for a Pet-Friendly Home
Choosing Safe (or Safer) Plants for Pets
As with pet-friendly gardens, indoor planting choices and placement are important for pet safety. Many common plants can be toxic if eaten (like the peace lilies pictured above) and/or cause contact irritation. The ASPCA has a great tool for checking for potential pet-toxic plants. This is especially important if you have a young puppy, kitten, or a grazer. It’s worth a little extra effort to check for safer varieties and/or be aware of potentially hazardous plants if you have tiny paws (and/or tiny human feet!) at home.
Choosing the Right Plants for the Right (Pet-Friendly) Places
Safety isn’t the only determining factor in suitability. Different plants will be better suited to your growing conditions. Consider the ambient conditions of your home, as well as the specific room and position in which they will be placed, such as temperature, humidity, and light. By selecting well-suited varieties, it will be easier to grow healthy houseplants. Yay for simple!
Mitigating Safety Risks with Plant Placement
Being safety conscious doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating all potentially hazardous plants. Placement and access control can play a role in keeping your pets safer. Bouquets and seasonal decorations are lovely, but may also contain potentially harmful plants and require similar care.
On the flip side, some plants are pet safe but highly attractive (catnip, anyone?) or doggone delicious and may also need to be access controlled. For any plant, be cautious of placement to minimise tipping or toppling risks, especially around pets. the same cautions also apply when child-proofing.
Soil, Fertiliser, and More
The actual plants are only part of the equation when it comes to houseplant safety for pets. The plants, pots (see placement notes above), and everything that goes with them needs to be considered for pet safety. Be careful with any chemicals used with your plants, including the actual potting soil mix itself as well as any sprays, plant foods, or fertilisers. Eco-friendly or natural products can still be toxic. Read labels carefully, try to select safe alternatives, and store with care.
Houseplant Potty Problems
Large specimen plants, it might look like an attractive litter box alternative. Eek! I haven’t (fortunately) experienced this, but have heard that topping soil with pebbles or similar can help. If your dog decides a large houseplant might be a prime spot for marking, nip unwanted bathroom behaviour in the bud by gently and methodically reinforcing house training. Remember, punishment isn’t the answer.
Caution: If the behaviour starts suddenly without recent changes to your indoor jungle, consider whether physical/mental health or other environmental stresses may be causing your pet to behave out of character. Misusing houseplants might be a symptom, not the source of the issue. Have a chat with your trusted vet for guidance and advice.
Planning and Planting Pet-Friendly Houseplants
Pet-Friendly Houseplant Home Decor
Got your green thumb itching to start planting? Pawfect! Look at your space considering the suitability factors above and then look for potential plants that suit both your available conditions and the type of look you’d like to create in your home. Double check your preferred plants through the ASPCA’s toxicity check link above and either reconsider the selection or revise your planned position if needed. Happy planning, planting, and growing! Good luck and enjoy!
Pet-Friendly Indoor Gardens
If you’re feeling the plant-paw love, you can even create an indoor garden especially for your pets. This could be as small as a few pet-friendly herbs (you can share them) on your kitchen counter or as elaborate as an indoor garden. Size wise, this is perhaps a little more practical for cats than big dogs like mine – I’d need a whole room for our beasts and that would definitely create a few potty problem risks! Haha! Fortunately, our climate allows us to enjoy our outdoor pet-friendly garden all year round.
Additional Ideas and Inspiration
Looking for more pawesome inspiration? Check out all of our pet-friendly home decor ideas. This post will also be pinned along with plenty of other doggone great tips and ideas on our Better Living with Pets Pinterest board.