Even I have written an article here in Dave’s Garden about poisonous plants for pets but I have not seen many on our site about plants that are good for pets. Although I have done one about outdoor plants that are okay for your furbabies, I don’t think I have ever done one about safe indoor plants. Of course, not all pets are the same. Something that dogs can eat with no problem may make your kitty sick as a… dog. But they are mostly similar in their danger zones. I know there are other pets like birds, snakes, hamsters, etc. Maybe I will do another article for those pets later.
Have you ever seen your dog or cat eat grass outside and then throw up all over the place? Some people say that they do this when they have an upset stomach and they know that the grass will help them throw up so they can feel better. Others say that it is because they have some kind of nutritional deficiency. If you ask your vet, they will probably say it is normal pet behavior. Anyway, it does not matter. Grass is okay for both dogs and cats and in fact, they even make indoor grass for pets to chew on. But what about other plants that you may have around your home?
One of the most common plants grown indoors in the United States is the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), also known as the sword fern. They are very easy to grow, can be grown inside or out, and have beautiful long green feathered leaflets. You can grow them in a pot, a hanging basket, and if you live in a warm area, you can even plant it outside. There are actually many varieties, but they are all safe for your furbaby. Also, a NASA Clean Air Study claims that the fern filters out toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde from the air. Bonus points!
Succulents are some hardy plants that are even easier to grow than ferns. And there are tons of varieties. They can grow indoors or outside, and you can get those that flower or not. In fact, a cactus is a succulent and they can live for weeks without water. Believe me, my cactus in the bathroom has gone several months without a drink! And there is a succulent called Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) that seriously grows wherever you put it. I heard that you could just toss them out in the dirt, and they will grow. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that several years ago, my hubby planted some out in the backyard and forgot about them and they are still alive and well. In fact, there are a lot more of them now. And yes, these are safe for dogs or cats to chew on. Although a cactus typically has sharp needles so choose something less sticky.
The good thing about perennials is that they come back year after year, so you don’t have to go buy new ones every season. Although there are many that are not good for dogs or cats, there are quite a few that are just fine. What you don’t want to do is take chances on something that “may” not be poisonous. Stick with the ones you know. Some of these include:
- Swedish Ivy
- Spider Plant
- Friendship Plant
- Aluminum Plant
- African Violet
Since herbs are great for humans, most people think they are good for cats and dogs too. And they would be right. And wrong. So many herbs can be shared with your pets that you would be shocked. However, there are many that are very dangerous for your fur buddy. Some of the SAFE herbs are:
- Lemon Balm
And those that are POISONOUS to pets:
- Tomato plants
- Marijuana (Is this really an herb?)
So, if you are going to grow herbs, be careful which ones you grow indoors. Even though you can put plants up high to keep them away from your pooch, don’t make this mistake. Some dogs can jump higher than you think. And cats, they can get anywhere they want to. They’re like Ninjas.
Palm Trees or Plants
Most palms are not safe for pets. So many of them can make your dog sick and may actually kill your cat if she insists on making a meal of it. However, there are a few you can choose from. The areca palm, dwarf palm (good luck palm), majesty palm, and the miniature fishtail dwarf palm are all nontoxic. Just don’t take any chances. No plant, no matter how beautiful, who gave it to you, or how much it cost you, is worth risking your pet’s health.