Which House Plants Are Safe Around Cats & Dogs?

by Scott Morgan
    Yes, you can have pets and be green indoors.

    Yes, you can have pets and be green indoors.

    Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Dogs and cats like to nibble on household plants. It's just hard to know which ones are safe for them to ingest and which are not. Keeping pets in the house needn't come at the expense of your green thumb, however. You just need to keep track of the types of plants that won't hurt pets who sample them.


    Bamboo is a highly symbolic and important plant in many Asian cultures. It's also an increasingly common wood replacement in more sustainable building and manufacturing endeavors. In the house, bamboo rarely grows tall enough to use, but it makes a pretty decorative plant that is safe for dogs and cats -- and also helps purify the air.

    African Violet

    The perennial and delicate African violet can grow indoors or out. Either place, this plant is non-toxic for dogs and cats. Flowers are usually purple but can also be pale blue or white.

    Lady Slipper

    Lady slipper is a member of the orchid family that can grow as tall as 2 feet. Its flowers can be pink, purple or yellow. Lady slipper contains tannin oils, which are sometimes used in holistic medicines for dogs and cats.

    Spider Plant

    The easy-to-care-for spider plant usually hangs to let its long fronds dangle, but green thumbs also like to pot smaller versions of the plant on tables and shelves. Known to draw insulation-borne formaldehyde from the air, spider plants are safe for dogs and cats. But don't confuse it with the spider lily, which is toxic to pets. Spider plants have long green fronds, whereas spider lilies have red or white spider-shaped flowers.

    Money Tree

    The pachira insignis, or money tree plant, is hardy and easy to grow, even if your thumb is not as green as you'd like. It's hard to over-water. It's also resilient and safe for dogs and cats, so the occasional pet-related snacking won't cause trouble for pets or itself.


    Every cat parent knows the magic of catnip. But catnip, also known as catmint, is a powerful mosquito repellent and herbal ointment, too. Though cats may bliss out and chew on catnip, dogs are also safe when eating it. But your dog might get a lot of attention from the cats in the house if he brushes up against the plant.

    Ponytail Plant

    Like the money tree, the ponytail plant is a hardy indoor plant that's hard to kill. It can go weeks without watering and will thrive in bright light. It will certainly not harm your pets.

    Cast-Iron Plant

    Another resilient plant for black thumbs is the cast-iron plant, which can withstand irregular watering, low humidity, temperature changes and low light. It does need care, but not full-time attention, and nibbling pets won't be harmed by it.

    Photo Credits

    • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Scott Morgan is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered central New Jersey since 2001. He has worked with the Princeton Packet Newsgroup, US 1 Publishing, "Unique Homes Magazine" and Community News Service. Morgan also serves as a professional speaker and teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in humanities from Thomas Edison State College.

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