Yes! If you are both a pet parent and a plant parent, you can successfully live with houseplants and pets.
Is eating houseplants an automatic death sentence for your dog or cat? Perhaps, but hopefully not! You can have plants, and you can have pets, but you may have to be a little creative with where you place your plants, how much training you can do, and/or you may not be able to get certain plants.
Here are some tips to follow for living harmoniously with pets and houseplants.
Buy Non-Toxic Houseplants
Although there are houseplants that are toxic to pets, there are several that are not! If you are just starting to collect houseplants, I would suggest starting with ones to ensure you will be safe around your pets. Once you start bringing more plants into your home, you can start to desensitize your pets. Gradual desensitization will slowly expose your dog or cat to your houseplants while increasing the intensity or proximity of contact with the trigger until it no longer is exciting/interesting/a trigger for them. Over time, your pets can learn to ignore your plants.
Here are a few Non-Toxic Houseplants for Pets:
- African violet
- American rubber plant
- Bamboo palm
- Boston fern
- Cast iron plant
- Christmas cactus
- Feather palm
- Gerbera daisy
- Lipstick plant
- Parlor palm
- Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria)
- Piggyback plant
- Ponytail palm
- Prayer plant
- Spider plant
- Venus flytrap
**If you have any plants toxic to dogs or cats in your home and you’ve discovered they’ve ingested any part of them, you should immediately call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or call your veterinarian. Signs of poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, coughing or vomiting blood, pale gums, collapse, or weakness.
Hang Your Houseplants
Once you have invested in safe houseplants for pets, you will want to keep them out of the animals’ reach. Hanging the plants will not only ensure physical separation but also add a stylish look to your home. Consider using wall mounts or hanging the plants from the ceiling. You can also place them on plant stands or high shelves.
I have a blog post listing several houseplants that do well in hanging planters HERE.
Teach Your Pets to Ignore the Plants
Some pets find houseplants fascinating. Such animals may dig up, chew or knock over your plants either due to stubbornness or curiosity. To avoid such issues, you should train your pets to ignore the plants. Whenever they approach any of the plants, shout “No” to get their attention. In case they respond by moving away from the plant, praise or reward them immediately.
Shut Doors: Keep Plants in Rooms That Pets Do Not Have Access To
Cats and dogs can be sneaky. They may climb to access the houseplants you have placed out of their reach. To keep the plants safe from your pets, you can dedicate a room for placing valuable and delicate plants. You can also include plants that attract the most attention. Lastly, you want to be careful to ensure your pets do not access the room.
Protect Your Plants
Having a protective barrier around your houseplants is a simple but effective way to ensure your pets and plants coexist peacefully. Placing the plants in a glass container or box will help keep them safe while allowing them to thrive. It would help if you also covered the pots to keep your cat from using the plant as a litter box. This will provide an extra layer of protection and give your plants a unique look.
Provide an Alternative
Dogs and cats will want to satisfy their instincts to paw and chew. If you have dog-friendly houseplants in your home, pets can turn these into a scratching post. You can draw the pets’ attention from your plants by providing an alternative target. Provide pet toys for distraction and ensure your furry friends get enough exercise regularly to help them burn off excess energy.
Consider Using A Pet Repellent Spray
If your pets just can’t stay away from the plants, consider removing the appeal by spraying garlic powder, cayenne pepper, diluted lemon juice, or a pet repellent on the houseplants. The smell will get them to find somewhere else to play. However, the pet repellent should be safe for you, your pet, and your plants.
The importance of purchasing safe houseplants for pets cannot be denied. Harmful and toxic plants can lead to increased conflict when your pets and plants cross paths. IMustGarden has one that is all-natural and is pet and houseplant safe.