are Your plants harming your pets?
If you have a pampered pooch or a feisty feline (or considering getting one or the other), this blog post is for you! Being a dog mom for the first time, I became concerned about how my darling boxer Spook would cohabitate with my many plants. One thing for sure, the boxer breed is extremely hyper, especially within the first two years. I worried if he would rip my beautiful trailing Pothos down or knock over one of my pots. Often when we hear about the harm certain plants can cause our pets, we will either avoid those plants or keep our pets locked away. As a loving plant and dog mom, I knew that I had to find a way for them to get along. So let us take a dive into how we can all live together peacefully.
It is important to know the type of pet you have as well as the plants you have. Often the idea of pets, plants and the possible harm the two could cause, are usually toward cats. Having had cats as pets growing up, I was aware at how they can paw at anything dangling. Now that I have a hyper pup, I wondered if he would sniff his nose in the soil or knock them over. My home schedule was important so the two could marry. Now as hyper as he could be, he is aware to stay away from my plants. It took months of professional training at doggy school combined with a strict schedule at home. This was also important that I let his trainer know that not only does my house contain plants, but when I am away, my friends and family that would keep him also has plant babies. If you do not have the luxury of professional training or the home schedule to be strict, here are a few tips and plant options that you should be mindful of.
The Ficus (Burgundy, Variegated, lyrata) stems have a white sap that cause a level two contact dermatitis. When the leaves of stems are cut, a white sap will leak. When ingested, sometimes can cause seizures or tremors in dogs and cats. This is also important to note for your hands as well. Once in contact with skin, a rash can occur from immediate or the next day, depending on your skin’s reaction of course. Pothos, Monstera (Deliciosa, Albo and Rhaphidorpha Tetrasperma), Dracaena (Lemon Lime, Corn and Deremensis) are muscular plants with thick waxy leaves. Although they do not emit a white sap, more like a clear thin sap (often under the leaves) has the potential of a level three contact dermatitis. Be sure to wear gloves when wiping down the leaves.
The soil whether homemade or purchased from the store, contains perlite which is bad to ingest for pets and humans. According to OSHA, “perlite is a nuisance dust, inhalation of high amounts over long period of time may overload the lung clearance mechanism and make the lungs more vulnerable to raspatory disease”. Dogs are prone to sniffing than scratching so be sure to place plants on stands especially if you have small dogs. Larger dogs with long tails have known to wag those happy tails to the point of knocking over your precious plant babies. So ideally a plant on the floor would be the best option in this case. Here is my short list:
Pet friendly plants:
- Parlor palm
- Money tree
- Bamboo palm
- English ivy
- Peace lily