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We love our pets like we love our own children – if we had any. But cats and dogs are not that different from human toddlers – yes you read correctly.

They are curious in nature, they like to stuff their mouths full of anything possible, and they sometimes have an accident if they are not house-broken. However, the only difference is, humans would never dare eat a plant other than in the form of a salad. I could be wrong but I’ve never heard or seen such a thing, and I worked as a nanny in my early twenties.

It might be the fact that plants don’t have a strong scent to them detectable by the human nose – unless it’s a flower. Whereas dogs are like sharks they can smell 40 times better than humans, thanks to their 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses – humans only have six million.

See the difference?

Anyways, as a dog owner, you will come to notice, your dog is like a vacuum and would eat ANYTHING, even if it’s not edible, like household cleaners, or houseplants. And although you might think, “it’s just like eating grass outside,” think again. Also, on a side note, the lawn will make them puke. Dogs only chew on grass if they already have an upset stomach for them to release themselves.

Let’s go back to the plants.

If you’re like me and like to transform your living space into a modern urban jungle, get plants that are not poisonous to your dog or cat. However, it’s not just the plants inside your home that could be dangerous, it’s outside as well.

If you’re a dog owner, these plants are a NO-GO :

● Aloe Vera : The succulent plant which has health benefits for us humans, is toxic for dogs when ingested. However, it’s not the gel in the leaves that’s trouble, it’s the leaf and other parts of the plant that can cause some serious trouble to your doggie’s gastrointestinal tract.

● Ivy: Yes, Poison Ivy sure is a painful experience for humans, but this is the regular kind of Ivy that grows around your house which is poisonous to dogs. Your dog might develop breathing problems and/or a rash if ingested, or even worse – your dog can become paralyzed or fall into a coma.

● Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta): This plant is highly toxic if ingested because all the parts are poisonous to your dog. The seeds, leaves, and even the roots could cause diarrhea, liver failure, and vomiting.
If you’re a cat owner or someone who owns both, these plants should not be on your shopping list:

● Lilies: Beautiful to the eye, fatal to your pet. Although the family of Lilies is quite big, some types of Lilies are toxic to cats and dogs, such as the “Mauna Loa,” better known as the “Peace Lily.” However, the Stargazer and Easter Lilies are only dangerous to cats. Even more so, this type of Lily could be fatal to your cat if left unnoticed and untreated because it affects your cat’s kidneys, as well as appetite. In regards to the Peace Lily, your pet could vomit, and develop trouble swallowing due to irritation around lips and tongue, if ingested.

● Jade (Crassula Ovata): This fake-looking plant, also known as “Jade Tree,” “Dwarf Rubber Plant,” “Chinese- or Japanese Rubber Plant,” “Friendship Tree,” and “Baby Jade,” is pretty real and has it in it – with toxins – that is. Which could affect both of your pets. The specific toxins are unknown, what’s known, however, is that if ingested, it could cause vomiting, a slow heart rate (bradycardia), depression, and incoordination (ataxia).

● Dumb Cane: Or in the world of Plantae known as “Dieffenbachia,” as well as “Tropic Snow,” or “Exotica” is also toxic to both, cats and dogs. If ingested, it could cause burning, as well as swelling of the mouth and tongue, vomiting, trouble swallowing, and excessive salivation. In rare cases, it could lead to death.

● Elephant Ear (Caladium): Also known to many as these exotic names “Pai,” “Taro,” “Via Sori,” “Malanga,” “Ape,” or “Cape.” Although relatively pretty to the eye, very toxic to your pet. The toxins in the Elephant Ear plant are similar to those of the Jade Tree and therefore the outcome is almost identical as well.

● Pothos/Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum): Other popular aliases the plant goes by is “Silk Pothos” or “Satin.” The reaction to the toxins in the plant show in the form of irritation of the mouth and tongue, in worst cases vomiting can occur, drooling due to increased salivation, and trouble swallowing. This plant is in the same family as the Philodendron and can cause a similar reaction.

● Asparagus Fern: Although closely related to the asparagus known to humans, nothing of this plant is edible for either humans or your pets, and can be toxic to your four-legged friends. Other names associated with this plant are “Emerald Feather,” “Lace Fern,” “Sprengeri Fern,” “Plumosa Fern,” and “Emerald Fern.” The toxin in the plant is called “Sapogenin,” which is also sitting in the berries. If your pet accidentally eats them, it could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation of the skin, and abdominal pain.

● Sowbread (Cyclamen): This pretty lilac flower plant might look harmless, but don’t be fooled by its beauty. This plant can be toxic to both, cats and dogs. When accidentally ingested, it can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, excessive drooling, irregular heartbeat, as well as seizures, and in rare cases, it can lead to death.

See? It’s quite a long list. But it helps to familiarize yourself with each plant to know what to look out for when you take your dog out in a planted area or if you buy a house with a garden that is planted with many different types of exotic- or even plain-looking plants.

However, don’t worry there are also plants safe enough – if accidentally ingested – for your cat and dog. Since they don’t contain any harmful toxins. Popular and most common houseplants are these:

● Hens and Chicks: Despite the name, I can guarantee you it has nothing to do with poultry, not even the shape. “Hens and Chicks” are a succulent plant and a member of the Sempervivum group.

● Bamboo: Real Bamboo, also known as “Bambusoideae,” is non-toxic to cats, dogs, and fun fact – even horses. The foliage of bamboo has an estimate of 22 percent of protein, so if ingested it can even be good for your pets.

● Beaucarnea Recurvata: Known to many as “Ponytail Palm,” or “Elephant’s Foot” is an easy growing houseplant that looks like a miniature palm tree, which in a way it is. Most importantly if your cat – or dog – should chew on it, it won’t kill them but might destroy the plant.

● Blue Echeveria: This cabbage-rose looking plant is also in the succulent family and an easy house guest. Since it’s a type of succulent, it doesn’t need much water, and it’s non-toxic to your pets. And it’s just pretty to look at it.

● Sedum Morganianum: Also known as “ Burro’s Tail,” “Donkey’s Tail,” “Horse’s Tail,” and “Lamb’s Tail” is a plant from the Crassulaceae family, and remind a little of grapes vines hanging down, but non-toxic, not like grapes, which are toxic to your cat and dog. If you like to read more about houseplants safe for your pets, check out the article “Popular Houseplants Known to Be Safe Enough to Eat By Your Pet.”

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