Did you know a majority of common houseplants are toxic to pets? As a novice plant parent, this never even crossed my mind. Then one day I noticed my cats’ mouth looked slightly irritated and it wasn’t until later down the road that I realized my cat was nibbling on my Dieffenbachia. Thankfully, she never ingested enough to cause a major reaction but it could’ve ended up much worse. Dieffenbachia, along with many common houseplants, contain calcium oxalates. And when chewed, those crystals are released and will cause irritation of the mouth, throat and can even cause gastrointestinal problems.
I’ll share my top 4 tips on keeping your pets and plants safe.
- Putting your plants out of reach: Try to invest in some plant shelves, grow racks, or a few plants stands to raise your plant up away from playful pups and curious cats. Or you can use this as your excuse to turn your guest room into a plant room where no animals are allowed.
- Adding a top cover: When it comes to big plants, cat owners often run into the problem of their fur baby defecating or just digging around in the soil. You can add a top layer of decorative rocks or even covering the pot in aluminum foil will disinterest the cat.
- Provide distractions/alternatives: When my cat would chew on my plants, I decided to buy some cat grass to give her an alternative. And it worked like a charm. Luckily, cat grass is readily available at PetSmart, ready for your cat's chewing needs. When it comes to a hyper pup, make sure you offer your pup lots of toys and distractions. Every time your dog goes near your plants, offer a toy as a distraction—maybe it’ll be the perfect time for a game of fetch.
- Fill your indoor jungle with pet safe plants: If you want to save yourself the trouble, fill your place with pet safe plants! Plants like; Spider Plant, Calathea, Peperomia, and Ponytail Palm are perfect to start off with! You can always check out the entire list of toxic plants at ASPCA.org
Now you know how to keep your fur babies safe while nurturing your indoor garden! In my experience, pets eventually lose interest in plants. And offering those alternatives and distractions really will do wonders!