Most of us enjoy the extra color and spice that indoor plants bring to our house and decorations.  Insert your pets in the mix with your plants, and there could be trouble!  Pets, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits, love to explore in, on, and around plants and sometimes even chew on them. Below is a list of some of the most common houseplants that can be toxic to your pet, and some great pet-safe alternatives to keep in your home.  Happy house-planting!

Aloe Vera Plant

Watch your pets around this plant! you may need some of the aloe to soothe their mouth!

While the aloe inside the plant does not cause any harm to pets, the outside prickly part of the plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy (laying around the house due to not feeling good!)  A great alternative to the Aloe Vera Plant would be the Spider plant, which has a similar look without the bad side effects if your pet were to get into it.

Spider plants have that spiky look to them, similar to the Aloe Vera Plant.

Arrowhead Vine

Arrowhead Vines are smart plants with their natural defense mechanisms.

This plant has a natural “defense” mechanism from being eaten! It has calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves, so when your pet munches on this plant it will cause oral irritation, intense burning in the mouth, vomiting, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing.  Instead of the Arrowhead Vine, try the pet-safe Aluminum Plant, which is just as pretty!

The Aluminum Plant has a very similar look to the Arrowhead Vine.

Caladium “Elephant’s Ear” Plant

Caladium “Elephant’s Ear”

If your pet eats this plant or munches on its leaves, it will cause the same symptoms as the Arrowhead Vine. If you are worried about your pets munching on it, instead try the Calathea Plant which looks similar without any of the harmful side effects if your pet chomps on it!

Calathea Plants definitely look different from the Caladium, however they still have that same beautiful coloring!

Dieffenbachia “Dumbcane” Plant


I’m noticing a theme! This plant as well causes the same symptoms as the Arrowhead Vine if chewed on or eaten.  Instead of this plant, try a Candle Plant or a Cast Iron Plant, which are equally as beautiful.

The Cast Iron plant has similar looks to the Dieffenbachia without the bad side effects!

English Ivy

English Ivy

If this plant is eaten, it could cause vomiting, intense abdominal pain, and diarrhea for your pet. Not fun! Try the Ivy Peperomia or the Climbing Begonia for a similar look to the Ivy.

Ivy Peperomia is a safe alternative to the English Ivy.

Paper Whites

Paper Whites, a Holiday tradition

These beautiful flowering plants are very popular around the holidays, however extremely toxic if your pet were to eat one! These can cause mild symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, but symptoms could also be as severe as experiencing convulsions, causing low blood pressure, tremors, and even cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). The bulb of this plant is the most toxic part. Instead of Paper Whites, try a seasonal Christmas Cactus.

While still celebrating the season, the Christmas Cactus is a safe alternative to Paper Whites.

Peace Lily

Peace Lily

Once again, this plant causes the same symptoms as the Arrowhead Vine.  Instead of a Peace Lily in your home, try an Anthurium, which looks very similar.

Anthurium, a safe alternative to the Peace Lily.
Lilies are so beautiful, but can cause very ugly circumstances for kitties!

Lilies, in general, are very toxic to cats- even something as simple as kitty brushing up against the flower and getting some pollen could cause kidney failure. So, if you have cats in your home, steer clear of any Lilies in your home or outdoor garden.  Lilies are not known to cause any health problems in dogs, aside from the Peace Lily mentioned above.


Poinsettia, a beautiful Holiday Tradition!

This beautiful holiday plant could cause some irritation to the mouth and stomach, and maybe even some vomiting. Instead of a Poinsettia, you could try a Red Anthurium plant to get in the holiday spirit.

The exotic looking Anthurium can be just as beautiful as the Poinsettia around the holiday season!

Shamrock Plant

Shamrock Plant- not the best of luck for your pets!

This is one plant that does not bring luck to your pets! If ingested, it could cause excessive salivation, tremors, and even kidney failure in pets. Instead of this plant, try a Money Plant or an African Violet. Both are beautiful alternatives.

The African violet

Snake Plant

This plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A safe alternative to this plant is the Ficus Plant or even the Spider Plant.

The ficus tree is a safe alternative to the snake plant and grows even bigger!
If your critters are mischievous about the houseplants like mine, check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control website!

As you can see, some of our most popular houseplants can cause some undesirable side effects if you have curious critters in the house like mine. This is not a complete list of toxic houseplants, just a list of some of the most common ones found in homes. If you are concerned that your pet has eaten a plant that is not on this list, check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control website for more information.  If your critter is a repeat offender like mine are, they have a free app for your phone that you can download, which also includes foods toxic to your pet!

Please note none of this information is meant to replace the advice of your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control center! When in doubt, contact the professionals!

Thanks for reading my post, and check out my other pet health posts on my website at www.livingthepetlifestyle.com.

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