The pet-friendly guide to indoor plants and flowers

pet-friendly plants

Much like pets, indoor plants are great at making our home feel cosy, vibrant and interesting. They’re having a real moment now too, with the ‘crazy cat lady’ of yore rebranded into a ‘crazy plant lady’.

But sadly, some indoor plants and flowers are not conducive to a pet-friendly household. That’s right: your humble houseplant could put your animal’s health in grave danger. Welp!

In order to dispel any worry or confusion, we put together this handy guide of plants that aren’t safe for a household filled with pets.

Plants to avoid

While it’s lovely to receive a bunch of flowers or fill up your shelf with a dizzying array of potted greenery, it’s definitely not lovely to have a sick cat or dog on your hands.

Here are some popular indoor plants and flowers that are toxic if ingested by a cat or dog.

  • Aloe vera
  • Alocasia (elephant ear)
  • Arrowhead vine
  • Asparagus fern
  • Autumn crocus
  • Azalea
  • Cannabis
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Cycalmen
  • Daffodils
  • Desert rose
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dracaena (lucky bamboo). Including Dracaena fragrans.
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ficus benjamina (weeping fig)
  • Foxglove
  • Ivy. Including Devil’s ivy and English ivy.
  • Lantana
  • Lilies. Including peace lilies, flame lilies, Kafir lilies and calla lilies .
  • Oleander
  • Rhododendron
  • Rubber tree plants. Including Japanese, Chinese and jade rubber plants.
  • Philodendrons. Including the Swiss cheese, heart leaf and fiddle leaf philodendron.
  • Sago palms
  • Strelitzia (bird of paradise)
  • Tulips

While all the above plants are considered toxic to pets, it’s important to stress the toxicity of the following: lilies, sago palms, azalea, oleander and cyclamen.

It’s best to avoid having these plants at home or in your garden altogether because pets are often curious and explore their environment with their mouths. Pets may also be attracted by the smell and taste of a dangerous plant so preventing access is important.

If you’re the backyard gardening type, it’s also important to note that some fertilisers, pest repellents (such as snail bait) and composts can be toxic to pets as well.

If you want to check the potential hazard of a plant not listed above, ask your veterinarian first so you can ensure the plants inside your home and garden are considered safe for your pets.

How do I know if my pet has ingested a toxic plant?

pet-friendly plants

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something toxic, take them to your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

Signs of ingestion can vary greatly depending on the toxin/plant because different plants can have different toxins. However, some signs can include, among others:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy or excitation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tremors
  • Loss of co-ordination
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Collapse
  • Coma

For more information on toxic plants and pet poisons, visit the Pet Poison helpline here.