7 Indoor Plants Safe For Dog and Cat Households

Picking the perfect houseplant is hard enough, but finding a plant safe for your pets can make it even harder. We’ve pulled together a list of seven beautiful, varied and popular houseplants that are non-toxic to cats and dogs. Check it out, and add some flora to your already fauna-friendly home! 

Christmas Cactus by Christine H. via Flickr

1. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) and Thankgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)

These lovely succulents are great for amateur gardeners, as they need only moderate maintenance and thrive in indirect sunlight. Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti get their names because they flower in winter, with reddish pink blooms appearing just in time for the holiday season. This makes them a popular, non-toxic holiday plant option for dog and cat owners. (Even so, you should discourage inquisitive pets from nibbling on your cactus, as eating the fibrous plant material can upset their stomachs and potentially lead to vomiting and diarrhea.) On a more positive note, with proper care, these plants can live for decades, and can be propagated and passed down from family member to family member to delight multiple generations!

Pony-Tail Palm by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

2. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

To add some beachy feel to your land-locked apartment or house, try a beautiful ponytail palm tree. Its characteristic wispy palms grow lush, long and green with relatively low upkeep. The ponytail palm is actually not a palm but is instead a succulent. Leave it outside or in bright sunlight for half the year, and it’ll be just fine indoors in lower light during the winter.

Baby Rubber Plant by Forrest and Kim Starr via Flickr

3. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia)

Shiny and compact enough to fit in a variety of stylish containers, a baby rubber plant is a great addition to a pet-friendly apartment. The baby rubber plant is yet another succulent, so it also thrives in indirect sunlight and needs only minimal watering. Note: The Baby Rubber Plant’s larger cousin, the Rubber Tree (or Ficus benjamina), is actually toxic to dogs and cats. According to the ASPCA, contact with the skin can cause dermatitis, while ingestion can cause oral irritation, salivation and vomiting.

Phalaenopsis Orchid by Thor Thorsson via Flickr

4. Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)

Orchids are a stunning, graceful addition to any home that also happens to be non-toxic to cats and dogs. Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to cultivate, but several types, including the phalaenopsis orchid, can thrive indoors. Phalaenopsis are native to Southeast Asia, and thus prefer east or southeast windows where the light is not too intense, warm daytime temperatures and moderate-to-high humidity. They are also quite adaptable, making them a popular variety for first time orchid growers. There are lots of great online resources for orchid fans, so if you’re curious, read up and find the perfect specimen to enliven your home.

Boston Fern by Dick Culbert via Flickr

5. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)

If you’re looking for a lush, draping fern that is non-toxic to pets, try the Boston Fern. Despite it’s name, this plant is actually native to Florida, Central America and South America. It got its name when it was discovered in 1894 among a shipment of similar “sword” ferns that was en route to Boston. Boston Ferns thrive in humid environments in indirect sunlight. When indoors, it is important to keep the soil damp with regular watering, and to spray water on the leaves 1-2 times a week to keep them from drying out. Give your Boston Fern this loving attention, and it will repay you by absorbing moisture from the air, making your home much more comfortable when humid weather strikes.

Blue Echeveria by Edward O'Connor via Flickr

6. Blue Echeveria (Echeveria derenbergii)

Just one look at the hypnotic image above, and you’ll see why blue echeveria is one of the most beloved of all succulents. The echeveria’s stunning rosette shape ranges from 2cm to 50cm in diameter, and they generally flower (in colors from white to red) in the summer. Like most succulents, they love sun and need only occasional watering. Just don’t leave them outside all afternoon during those hot summer days, as it can result in burned leaves. And with leaves this stunning, you won’t want to lose even one from that gorgeous array!

Spider Plant by Maja Dumat via Flickr

7. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Don’t worry, it’s not actually a spider! Spider plants (also known as ribbon plants) have lovely leaves that drape elegantly over the sides of a planter, like a gorgeous green creature with lots of long legs.  Their graceful form, striking white stripes and ability to thrive in most light and temperature conditions make them a popular choice for pet-friendly households. Spider plants look great in hanging baskets, but looks aren’t the only thing going for it. They also help keep your indoor air clean by absorbing air pollutants!

And Here’s 9 Popular Houseplants That are Toxic to Dogs and/or Cats

  • Aloe Vera
  • Asparagus Fern
  • Dumb Canes (aka Dieffenbachia)
  • Elephant Ears
  • Flamingo Flower
  • Geranium
  • Lilly (toxic to cats but not dogs)
  • Sago Palm
  • Wisteria

For a complete list and to search by plant name, visit ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control site.

If you have one of these plants listed above, or if your pet is a fan of knocking over, munching on, or otherwise disturbing your houseplants, talk to your local DogWatch Dealer about our Indoor Boundaries. Our indoor pet fences let you control where your pets roam in the house, and you can use the same collar with both the DogWatch indoor and outdoor fences.

Happy planting! And if you do pick up one of these stunning, pet-safe plants, share your photos with us on Facebook!

Photo Credits
Christmas Cactus” by Christine H. (CC BY-SA 2.0) [The plant is this photo is likely a Thankgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata).] “starr-070906-8683-Beaucarnea_recurvata-in_pot-Kula_Ace_Hardware_and_Nursery-Maui” and “starr-010704-0008-Peperomia_blanda-leaves-Makawao-Maui” by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)
Phalaenopsis – 2” by Thor Thorsson (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Nephrolepis exaltata” by Dick Culbert (CC BY 2.0)
Echeveria” by Edward O’Connor (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Grünlilie (Chlorophytum comosum ocean)” by Maja Dumat (CC BY 2.0)

Featured Image (clockwise from top left): “Echeveria,” “New Flower” by Pasji horizont (CC BY-SA 2.0), “Grünlilie (Chlorophytum comosum ocean),” “Wonder what it tastes like ?” by Trish Hamme (CC BY 2.0) and “Christmas Cactus.”

Photos have been cropped.

2 Comments on “7 Indoor Plants Safe For Dog and Cat Households

  1. The good news? All Schlumbergera (aka Christmas Cactus and Thanksgiving Cactus) are OK for pets. But just to be clear, your photo is of a Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, not a Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera bridgesii. An easy way to tell the difference: Christmas cactus have totally smooth, curved leaf edges. Thanksgiving cactus have pointy tips on their leaves, as the plant in your photo does.

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