Are Indoor Plants Safe for Pets?

Close-up of an orange tabby cat sniffing a houseplant.

Accenting your home’s décor with houseplants is a wonderful way to bring the beauty of the outdoors in. Plus, plants provide clean air, a touch of brilliant green, and can be found in sizes to fit almost any space. 

But if you have pets—particularly the curious kind who love to sample the local “cuisine”—you’ll want to be mindful of the plants you pick and where you place them.

Before you head to the nearest hothouse, check out these pet safety tips from the experts at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates to help you be aware of plants that are poisonous to pets.

A Spring Cleaning Plant Purge

Part of keeping your pets healthy and happy throughout their lives includes making sure their environment is free of toxins and other potential dangers. Add spring pet safety strategies to your seasonal cleaning and remove (or move out of reach) any plants you currently have that are poisonous to pets.

Houseplants That Are Poisonous to Pets

If a plant is poisonous to cats, chances are it’s poisonous to dogs. Lilies, for example, are fatal to cats and will make dogs very ill. The following list, from the ASPCA, is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a primer in poisonous houseplants. Some plants that are considered no-nos can still be in the home if placed where your pets cannot access them. Otherwise, if you already have some of the following offenders in your home, you may want to gift them to a pet-free household. 

Severely toxic:

  • Sago Palm (one of the most dangerous plants for both cats and dogs)
  • Easter Lilies

Moderately toxic: 

  • Corn plants
  • Dragon trees
  • Ribbon plants
  • Jade plants

Mildly toxic: 

  • Fiddle Leaf Figs
  • Spider plants
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Dumbcane
  • Calla Lilies
  • Philodendron
  • Peace Lilies
  • Chinese Evergreens

For more inclusive lists that cover both indoor and outdoor plants, visit plants that are poisonous to dogs or plants that are poisonous to cats. 

Symptoms of Toxic Plant Ingestion

Some plants can impact pets with very little exposure, while others require your pet to consume a significant amount of the plant. If you notice bite marks or missing leaves on your houseplants, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Retching
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Diarrhea 
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

Keep in mind that while some of these symptoms don’t sound severe, the effects of plant poisoning can continue to worsen and, in extreme cases, lead to life-threatening complications such as kidney failure (in the case of Easter lilies) or liver failure (from Sago palms). 

What to Do

Contact us immediately if you suspect that your cat or dog has ingested a toxic plant, or contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.