Pets are more than just animals that live in our houses – they are members of the family, a part of the fold and integrated into our daily routines with love. We would stop anything that tried to do them harm and we would do whatever is in our power to stop them from hurting. But did you know that sometimes it could be the items that are in our home that could cause them hurt and harm? Namely the houseplants that you might have in decorative urns on the floor or those displayed beautifully on tables with low hanging branches. There are houseplants that could cause harm to your pets, whether they are ingested, or they come into contact with their skin. Some plants could leave a residue on the fur of your pets which slowly seeps through and into the skin, causing painful skin reactions.
The potential for disaster in terms of having house plants around your pets – both canine and feline and even birds or mammals such as hamsters – is higher than what people realize and it is important to gain awareness on what plants are pet friendly and which ones aren’t before bringing your new family member(s) home!
What Kind of Reactions Could Your Pets Have?
There are two main reactions that your pet could exhibit when it comes into contact with a harmful houseplant – a skin reaction and a digestive reaction.
The skin reaction would manifest itself in the form of a rash, hot spots, or flaky, dry skin all over their body. Their noses could by dry and flaky as well, with spots of visible irritation in their ears. They will be scratching and rubbing against the furniture or door facings to relieve the itch in their body. Anti-allergen medications could help, and the use of an oatmeal paste to reduce inflammation in the skin; provided that you can stop them from licking it off. Contact a vet before administering any home treatments to be sure it is safe for your pet.
Digestive reactions could manifest itself in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases; foaming at the mouth and potential seizures. These reactions generally indicate that your pet has ingested a part of the houseplant, so veterinarian assistance is required immediately.
To avoid potential reactions in the case of your pets and your house plants – consider having the following around:
- African Violets
- Christmas Cactus
- Basil, Thyme, or Sage Herb Plants
- Friendship Plant
- Prayer Plant
- Polka Dot Plant
- Spider Plant
- Boston Ferns
If your current household plants are not on the list, simply contact your local vet or animal shelter to determine if the species you have around are safe or could be harmful.
How to Protect your Pets from Potentially Harmful Plants
If your favorite species of plant life is on that is potentially harmful to pets; you don’t have to run out and automatically get all new plants. It’s a matter of being smart about the ones you have in your home that could be dangerous. You can install the plants on higher shelving in the home so that there is no possible way for your beloved furry family members to have contact with the plants. You can use barriers in the cases of bigger plants that wouldn’t fit on the shelves, such as wooden shutters around them or even a form of chicken wire as long as you are diligent in keeping the wayward leaves and branches from coming through the wires.
Keep your plants in areas that are not frequented by your pets and train them to leave the plants alone from a young age. Another option, if you are in the business of growing your own plants, is to invest in a grow light system that also has a covering case for the seedlings. Not only will this protect your pets, it will protect your plants until they can be planted outside (if that is the case). Check out Backyard Boss for the best grow lights on the market and compare pricing, features and more!
While most houseplants are safe for plants, it is important to double check with a respected and trustworthy source before bringing home new species of plants for the first time. You can speak to your vet or you can even contact your local animal shelter to question what plants are safe for pets. While the internet and online world will have the answers, some forums are user based and the facts are only what they perceive to be true; so, if you are doing an online search, make sure it’s a trustworthy news sight such as Forbes.
If you do have plants at home that can be harmful to your pets, it is recommended that they are kept high out of reach of your pets or they are relocated to areas that doesn’t see any pet traffic whatsoever.
These creatures are dependent on us for their safety, their survival and in return; we get the kind of unconditional love that is priceless, uplifting and inspiring.