Plants That Are Toxic to Pets and Safe Alternatives |
Are You Aware That These Common Household Plants Are Toxic to Pets?

Are You Aware That These Common Household Plants Are Toxic to Pets?

Toxic household plants and safe alternatives

Written by –
Iris Pun
on August 15th 2018
Iris is a creative and energetic university student based in Hong Kong. An art and design lover, she likes discovering inspiring and pretty decorations, innovative architecture and artistic illustrations, especially when they come with elements of nature!

As a pet owner, you probably already know how hard it is to avoid your pets chewing and playing with whatever they can get their paws on. Obviously, most people wouldn’t want their pets to eat anything toxic, but who knows what happens when you turn your back? I don’t want to exaggerate, but I’m letting you know now that some plants we like to have at home may be toxic and harmful to your cats and dogs!


For sure, it’s never fun to see them sick, and even worse to clean up after them. Therefore, choose safe houseplants and protect your beloved pets! I’ve listed some typical plants you’ll often find at home, but you should watch out because these are toxic to your pets. I’ve also chosen safe alternatives that you can consider.

Watch Out for These Toxic Plants

Toxic Plants For Pets: The white lily flower blossom |
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Cat owners must be aware that members of the Liliaceae family are considered highly toxic to cats, even if only small parts of the flowers are ingested. Many types of lily can be fatal to cats. Even if only two leaves or part of the flower petal is eaten, it is possible for cats to have dehydration within 12 to 30 hours, with risk of acute renal failure, and potentially causing death within three days to a week.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Pink and red potted rhododendron placed on the table |
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Not only poisonous to cats and dogs, this popular gardening flower is even dangerous for horses and… humans. Eating only a few leaves can cause serious problems, so be sure to keep them out of harm’s way.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Pink mini cyclamen with green leaves in the brick red pot |
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Cyclamen are common household plants, also known as the Persian violet or Sowbread. But be careful because they are toxic to both cats and dogs due to the saponins in the plant, particularly in the plant roots. Accidental absorption may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, including strong vomiting. There have even been reports of deaths in some cases.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Paperwhite narcissus the Chinese plant flower blossom in a black ceramic pot |
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So cute, so fragrant, yet so dangerous to pets! These beloved springtime favorites contain high levels of toxic lycorine, just like some lilies. Cats and dogs are better kept away from these popular flowers.

Mother in law's Tongue is toxic to pets, watch out! |

Mother-in-law’s Tongue

Also known as a dumbcane, this leafy plant is great for air purifying but not so great when it’s ingested. It contains oxalates and other substances, which can cause swelling and inflammation for the tongue and throat, hence its name. It was reported that in Amazonia where the plant is from, indigenous people used the sap to poison their arrows, and may have been given to slaves as a form of punishment.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Brown patterned cat looking and smelling the two potted green plants with cat drawing |
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Cats seem to have the run of the house, sometimes. But maybe keep them away from cacti. These fun plants are a delight to grow because they’re so low maintenance. Although they’re not necessarily toxic to pets, the sharp thorns on their stem can do damage to your pets if they try to take a bite or rub up too close. So you should still watch out for these cuties!

Some Pet-Safe Alternatives

It’s not all doom and gloom! As you know, it’s good to have some plants at home so consider one of these pet-friendly alternatives.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Pink and white mini valeriana officinalis flower planted in the grass |
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This perennial flowering plant is sweetly scented and helps to draw bees in to the garden. Unsurprisingly, cats love its smell too. In human consumption, the valerian root is extracted and used for sleeping, in fact it can sometimes be given to dogs to help them stay calm during a thunderstorm.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Brown patterned cat laying on the wooden floor smelling the catnip |
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One way to produce happiness and relaxation for your kitty is catnip! The smell of catnip can help stimulate your cat’s pheromone receptor and relieve their stress to have them feeling good. You’ll feel satisfied to see your kittens tumbling and turning circles on the floor with catnip.

Toxic Plants For Pets: Dog running in the purple lavender farm surrounded by hills and trees |
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The scent of lavender can help us relax and fall asleep, and it’s also effective in appeasing dogs — not for the dog to eat it, just to let the dog smell it. Its calming properties could help alleviate your dog’s anxiety, just as much as yours.

Spider plants are safe for your pets |

Spider Plants

These easy-to-care-for plants are great for air purifying and added bonus, they’re considered non-toxic. It’s cute how much cats are attracted to these plants, usually found in hanging baskets in the house. Something about the plants appeal to cats because they have similar properties to catnip, but eating too much of the spider plant could cause vomiting or diarrhea for your kitty. Consider hanging these beauties out of reach from your furball.

Before decorating your home with gorgeous greens, be more aware of which plants are toxic to pets. I hope you keep your pets safe and healthy thanks to these tips. Do let us know if you have any questions, by leaving a comment below.


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