Animal Behavior College Blog

Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

October – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
October 2014

Elizabeth Alonso

Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month is Elizabeth Alonso

Elizabeth Alonso, who lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, is a very motivated student who has dedicated herself completely to the program and her studies. Elizabeth did her externship at St. Bethlehem Animal Clinic and, shortly thereafter, she applied and got hired to work full-time at Murphy Road Animal Hospital. From there, Elizabeth plans to continue her education and become a Registered Veterinary Technician.

  • What prompted you to become a veterinary assistant? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

My husband, who is in the military, and I were moving from Georgia to Tennessee, and I decided it was time for a career change. I went from human medicine, working at a neurology clinic for almost 10 years, to a Patient Services Coordinator to veterinary medicine. My husband and I are huge animal lovers, and I’ve always said if there were circumstances where I could change careers, I would take it. Fortunately, I’ve had the support of my husband during this transition.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was dealing with my emotions during a euthanasia process. Regardless, the veterinarians were all very supportive. They allowed me to show my emotions, which was actually very helpful for the owners during their last moments with their pets.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My most rewarding moment was having my first parvovirus patient make a full recovery. She came in very sick and was hospitalized for about eight days. I had to hand-feed her for five of those days. I found out she was released the day after I completed my externship.

  • Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

A humorous moment occurred when dealing with a very unhappy feline. She just did not want to go in the kennel for boarding. The technician I was assisting finally got her in the kennel and the feline gave her a nice love tap to let her know she was not happy. Luckily, no one was injured with her paw taps because she was de-clawed.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

I found ABC by researching online for a Certified Veterinary Assistant program. I wanted the certification because my husband is in the military. We have a tendency to move around frequently. Since we will be moving to another state again at some point, I wanted a foundation to build on. This is a career I can take with me to any state I move to.

October 2014 Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student Of The Month

Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
October 2014

Tracy Hamilton

Dog Obedience Program Canadian Student of the Month is Tracy Hamilton

Animal Behavior College’s soon-to-be graduate Tracy Hamilton lives in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada, on Vancouver Island. She trains part-time at Cedar Ridge Canine while working at Little Rascals Pets and Supplies in Ladysmith, British Columbia. Tracy said her plate is pretty full, but that doesn’t stop her from hiking. “Don’t worry. I still manage to get in a good hike each week with a few fellow dog lovers,” she said. Tracy has wanted to work with animals her whole life. As a youngster, she wanted to be a marine biologist, but when she realized she wasn’t that good at science, Tracy went back to the drawing board. After researching on the Internet, she came across Animal Behavior College and the rest “is history.”

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

I think one of my most rewarding moments was when I finally realized how confident I was when it came to instructing classes. I always knew how good I was with dogs, but didn’t fully realize until I worked the kennels in the SPCA for a while.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.

During my volunteer hours, I had the joy of working with a Cane Corso that didn’t do well around strangers. She was a very large dog and quick to react. My most memorable moment was when I came in to work with her. We had been working a lot on no jumping up, as she was a big girl. She would run at me then do a sliding stop on her back so I could rub her belly. Nothing but dust, jowls and slobber; she was so thrilled to see me. I plan on continuing to volunteer in the future.

  • What are your plans for dog training? Do you want to specialize in a particular type of training?

I feel like I have a good connection with dogs that tend to have a more difficult time in life. My largest goal in life is to run a rescue/rehab center. I would love to continue my career working with the more difficult breeds and can really see myself doing well with aggressive dogs.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?

I have really enjoyed my whole experience with Animal Behavior College from the knowledge in the book material to the staff that has really helped to keep me on track as much as possible, understanding life tends to get in the way, to the great Mentor Trainer they found for me. I would fully recommend ABC to anyone considering getting their dog training certification.

  • Which dog breed best describes you and why?

I am like a Border Collie. I will work myself crazy to be sure everyone is happy. I don’t think I could have done this program without any of the people I have worked with in the past year. They have really made this much easier on me than it could have been.


October 2014 – ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA

ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – October 2014

Chelsi Woolwine

Dog Obedience Training Student of the Month is Chelsi Woolwine

Recent ABC graduate, Chelsi Woolwine currently lives in Ojai, California. As a child, Chelsi always knew she wanted to work with animals. In her neighborhood one day, there was a little dog running around that no one else could catch. Her neighbors came and asked for her help. As soon as she got down on the ground with a leash and treats, the little dog came running over to her—no one could believe his eyes. Chelsi said that was her “this is what I need to do with my life” moment. She heard about Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program from the Educational Director at a shelter in Colorado who also attended ABC’s program and told Chelsi to go for it, as it was a great starting point for her career.

  • Are you currently employed in another field? If yes, what do you do?

I’m currently employed at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation working as a Program Assistant. I do get to train with the dogs, but I mostly work with bringing new dogs into our program and getting to follow them throughout their lives.

  • Was dog training your first career choice? If not, what was it?

Dog training was not my first choice as a career. I was set on being a veterinary technician until we had to put my corgi/chow down and it absolutely broke my heart. Becoming a vet tech is still something I would love to do so I can further my career.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

My most rewarding moment was when it clicked for one of the students in our class. They finally understood how to get their dog to do the specific behavior that my amazing Mentor Trainer, Genie Tuttle, had been working on with them. It’s easier to tell someone else how to teach a behavior since you are seeing it firsthand and can correct it right away.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.

During my volunteer hours, there was a dog that stole my heart, Rusty, a six- to seven-year-old Shar Pei that had been at the shelter for more than a year. He was often passed up because he always sat in the back of the kennel and didn’t visit with the people walking by. After working on his walking skills and socializing him, he finally got an amazing home and I see him often around Ojai.

  • What will be the secret to your success in the pet industry as a dog trainer?

The secret of the dog training pet industry is to be a sponge. Take in every opportunity you can and learn as much as possible. You can never have too much knowledge because no two situations are the same.

October – Grooming Instruction Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
October 2014

Krysta Ringler

Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month is Krysta Ringler

Krysta Ringler lives at the Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. She works at Prometric where her full-time title is that of a Test Center Administrator. Her job is to proctor exams, such as the GRE, MCAT and the USA MLE. Although she is currently not working as a groomer, she loves animals and plans on beginning her own mobile business in the next year or two.

  • What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?

Prior to being introduced to pet grooming, I was a bather. I enjoyed the grooming aspect of the position and got asked, one day, if I wanted to learn how to groom. I fell in love. Grooming sort of fell into my lap and I have loved it ever since. Not long after being offered to be taught how to groom, I got married to a guy in the military and found out they were going to cover my education.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

The most rewarding moment was when I got the opportunity to groom a very matted Shih Tzu. He was very sweet and needed to be shaved down. Since this dog was so lovable and the owner had intentions on taking it to a shelter, I ended up taking him home and naming him Ollie.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?

I sincerely loved my experience in the Grooming Instruction Program. I liked that the first part of the course work is all background information. This way, I could find out the “why.” I am the kind of learner who needs to know the method and reasoning behind the rules that apply in order to remember and understand what I am doing. I also appreciated the hands-on experience even though I already had previous hands-on knowledge.

  • What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?

Scissoring is a skill I would like to master during the next 12 months. This is something that I enjoy but would like to perfect with more practice.

  • If you could style a dog or cat after a celebrity, who would it be and why?

While working with a co-worker at my previous place of employment, this very thin, tall and well-dressed woman walked by the shop. Her hair was very long and seemed to be freshly straightened. A male co-worker noticed her and mentioned to me that she resembled an Afghan hound. I found this to be very funny but, in the midst of my laughter, realized that this woman did resemble that particular dog breed. Since this woman was so put together, I would, indeed, style my dog with the intent of it being as neat as she was.

October Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– October 2014

Deanna Zammit

Dog Grooming Program Student of the Month is Deanna Zammit

Deanna Zammit lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where she works full-time for Philips Lighting. She has always wanted to work with animals. Before starting her grooming course at ABC, she had considered becoming either a veterinarian technician or assistant, but could not dedicate the time required to do so. Once Deanna decided on becoming a groomer, she was thrilled she did not need to quit her job nor relocate thanks to the flexibility of ABC’s program, which enables students to work around their schedules. At this time, Deanna is attempting to make the transition from her full-time job in the lighting industry to the grooming field.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?

I have had a very good experience and am able to do things on my own time. I was able to complete the material fairly quickly, which was very convenient and self-explanatory. My externship was awesome. I was placed in a salon with a great mentor.

  • What one thing stands out for you in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program?

One thing that stood out for me in terms of knowledge was the opportunity to groom a dog from start to finish with direct supervision. I was able to receive constructive criticism that allowed me to learn and absorb the new information I received.

  • What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?

Scissoring the face is a technique that is very intimidating at first and I would like to master that during the next 12 months.

  • What are your future career plans?

I would like to quit my full-time job and go full-time into grooming or dog sitting in the very near future. I am in the process of looking for a route in which I can make my dream come true.

  • If you could style a dog or cat after a celebrity, who would it be and why?

If I could style my dog or cat after any celebrity, I would probably style it with Jennifer Aniston in mind as she has great, long and flowing hair.

Dog Grooming School – Talk with a Groomer

Talk with a Groomer – Session #1



Professional Groomer, Jay Scruggs was a pleasure to have on the Talk with A Groomer – Session #1. Watch The Interview Here:

“Jay has been grooming for 13 years. After winning a host of awards in the early 2000s, he turned his attention first to judging and became a sought-after judge and speaker in the U.S., Spain, Scotland, France, Italy and Canada. With those worlds fully conquered, he turned his efforts to helping groomers enhance their knowledge and skills through seminars and educational DVDs.”

This event replay will post live to YouTube on Monday 9/22/2014. Watch it Now!


If you would like more information about:

Becoming a Certified Dog Groomer




At Animal Behavior College our goal is to help you get the training you will need to become a dog groomer. Our courses provide a quality education; dog grooming certification training is coupled with real world hands-on training to assure that every student graduates with a strong academic and practical foundation directly reflecting ABC’s mission to help animals. #welovedogs #welovecats And… we teach you how to groom both.
Please visit our site at:

Watch The Replay of the LIVE Call – Talk With A Dog Groomer

Dog Grooming School – School for Dog Groomers

6 Indoor Poisonous Plants To Avoid for Dogs and Cats

Many homes have a variety of indoor plants. Not only are they beautiful, but they also increase oxygen levels, decrease dry skin and remove toxins from the air. During the holidays and other occasions, plants like holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are festive and add a splash to holiday decor.

But did you know that these indoor plants as well as an assortment of others could make your cat sick?

Before bringing new indoor plants into your home, it is important to learn which plants could potentially be harmful to your pets.

Keep Your Pet’s Safe From Poisonous Plants

In the spirit of pet safety and the best interest of our loved fur-babies (cats and dogs), we have provided the 6 commonly purchased indoor plants that are poisonous to pets and we recommend that you avoid having them indoors.

National Indoor Plant – Week Sept. 15th – 19th

Plants Toxic To Dogs and Cats - American Holly Plants

Holly – Common names of the holly plant are English Holly, European Holly, Oregon Holly, Inkberry, Winterberry and American Holly. The Scientific name for Holly is Ilex opaca and it comes from the Aquifoliaceae plant family. Holly plants are toxic to cats, dogs and horses because of the “saponins” found in the plant roots. 

Clinical Signs of Illness may include: Vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Leaves and berries found on the Holly plant are low in toxicity.


Mistletoe – American Mistletoe is a staple in the holiday season. To kiss a loved one “under the mistletoe.” Tis the season to keep your pets safe. The “American Mistletoe” plant is toxic to dogs and cats as well as horses. What makes this plant toxic are the Toxalbumin, pharatoxin, viscumin present in the seeds. The Scientific names for Mistletoe are Phoradendron & Flavescens. This plant comes from the Viscaceae family.

Signs of Illness from Mistletoe poisoning may include: Cardiovascular collapse, dyspnea, bradycardia, erratic behavior, gastrointestinal disorders, vomiting, diarrhea and rarely-low blood pressure.

Dogs and Cats Can Be Poisoned in Injesting Poinsettias

Poinsettias – A very common house plant that grows well indoors or outside is the beautiful poinsettias. This plant’s leaves carry Irritant Sap which is deemed poisonous to cats, dogs and if injested even children are susceptible to illness. The Scientific name for Poinsettias is Euphorbia pulcherrima. This plant comes from the Euphorbiaceae family.

Clinical Signs of Illness may include: Irritation to the mouth, vomiting and upset stomach.

Plants That Can Poison PetsCyclamen –  Also referred to as Sowbread has pretty flower pedals in a pink and red shade. This plant is deemed toxic to both cats and dogs. Its Scientific name is Cyclamen spp. This plant is in the Primulaceae family. Toxic principles of the plant are the terpenoid saponins found in its roots.

Clinical Symptoms of Illness include: Salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. Systemic fatal abnormalities may include heart rhythm off-beat, seizures and possibly death.


Dieffenbachia – Comes from the plant family Araceae. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. What makes it a toxic plant for pets is Insoluable calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzymes. Common names for the Dieffenbachia plant include: Charming Dieffenbachia, Giant Dumb Cane, Tropic Snow, Dumbcane, Exotica, Spotted Dumb Cane and/or Exotica Perfection. The Scientific name is Dieffenbachia.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms may include: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips. Signs may also include: excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.


Poisonous Plants That Can Be Harmful for PetsPhilodendron – Comes from the plant family Araceae. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. What makes it toxic is Calcium oxalate crystals. The Scientific names for Philodendron is Philodendron spp. 

Clinical Signs of Symptoms include: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips. Signs may also include: excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

If you suspect your dog or cat is ill from eating a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline at or call 800-213-6680 for more information. To learn more about toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs and cats, the American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) has a comprehensive list.

For more information regarding all indoor/outdoor plants that may be harmful to your pets click here.

How to Make Your Cat a Happy One

Having a Happy Cat, Every Day

By Sandy Robins

September is Happy Cat month. Again, I wonder about these designated events since every day of every month should be about keeping your cat happy.

The best way to make your cat happy is to ensure she really feels comfortable in your Home—everywhere and every day. While cats might love to snooze in a favorite chair and on the bed in the spot where their owners usually lie, they still need a designated place in the home to call their very own.


A cat tree/condo combination offers your feline the perfect place to perch, claw, play and/or hide as his mood demands.

Cats love vertical space because it gives them an opportunity to survey their world and look down on you. The Answer to the question of how to this is a tall cat condo. They usually have small bases so they don’t take up too much space. To meet a cat’s innate needs the condo should provide some privacy, a place to hide and snooze, a lookout zone platform and a place to scratch.

Where possible, position the condo near a window so your cat can enjoy a range of visual entertainment, from birds and butterflies in the garden to passersby (both human and non) and street activity.

Home comforts also include ensuring that your cat’s bed is not placed near a draughty door or window. This is particularly important during the colder months and is especially so for older cats. You should also move the bed around from time to time—it’s like providing your cat with a new place to sleep.

It’s equally important to hone your kitty’s Pounce and Prey skills by providing a variety of toys, from wands to puzzles to catnip-filled comfort toys. Exercise provides both mental and physical stimulation and is essential to weight control (a fat cat is not a happy cat, health-wise). Our cats are not supposed to be couch potatoes but active hunters of prey.

You also need to get your cat’s groom on. While cats are efficiently self-cleaners, those who live safely indoors shed year-round and tend to need extra help. So do elderly cats; their reduced mobility often means they can no longer efficiently groom their nether regions.


A happy cat is well fed, groomed, played with and, above all else, loved.

For grooming to become routine, you need to find grooming tools your cat is comfortable with you using. Some prefer mitts with rubber knobs to remove fur instead of a slicker brush. In addition, a de-shedding tool is a must-have to get rid of thick undercoat and to prevent matting.

Let your cat dictate where she likes to be groomed, whether it’s the kitchen counter or on your lap. Grooming is a great way to spend quality time with your favorite cat and is a great way of enhancing the human-animal bond.

Lastly, don’t forget that above all else, make sure you always give Your cat plenty of purr-inducing attention every day.

About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as, and She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet

Older Pets Rule!

By Lisa King

If you’re in the market for a cat or dog, why not consider an older pet? There are many advantages to passing over those irresistible puppies and kittens and taking a closer look at mature cats and dogs.

Most people who go to shelters are looking for younger pets. In fact, pets over the age of five have a difficult time getting adopted, even if they’re far from elderly. These animals have so much to offer, but they tend to get passed over. Here are just a few reasons to take home an adult or senior pet.


Consider adopting an older dog as he or she will be already house-trained and ready to settle down in his/her new home.

  • You know what size the pet will be, since he’s full grown. With mixed-breed puppies, adult size is always a guessing game.
  • It’s easier to assess the pet’s temperament accurately since his personality is fully developed. Shelter staff can tell you whether the dog or cat you’re interested in likes to cuddle, is kid-friendly, or will get along with your other pets.
  • If you choose an adult dog, you’ll avoid the tedious process of house-training your puppy and attending puppy obedience classes, and usually won’t have to worry about chewing, digging or other destructive behaviors. Adult cats may already be trained not to scratch furniture.
  • With both dogs and cats, you won’t need to puppy- or kitten-proof your home. Older dogs and cats tend to be less active and inquisitive.
  • Older dogs and cats are easier to train since they are calmer and more able to focus than puppies and kittens. Remember that pets can be taught new tricks at any age. Most older dogs already know how to walk on a leash and obey simple commands.
  • A dog or cat who has lived in a home with people before is better socialized and more adaptable. They have better manners than young pets and know what’s expected of them.
  • Bringing a mellow older pet into a home with existing pets is far less disruptive than bringing home a rambunctious kitten or puppy, especially if the pets you already have are older, too.
  • An older pet can be left alone all day while you’re at work. They don’t need close supervision as a puppy or kitten would. They are usually happy to entertain themselves or doze away the day.
  • If you’re elderly yourself, you’ll have a lot more in common with an older dog or cat who is low-key and doesn’t require strenuous exercise.

A senior cat is perfect for someone looking for a relaxed companion who won’t tear up the furniture or do late-night sprints in the hallway.

These animals are in shelters through no fault of their own. Owner-surrendered adult dogs and cats are usually the victim of circumstances, like a move to a no-pet home or a change in jobs, or a life event such as divorce, marriage, or a new baby. If you adopt an older pet, you not only acquire a loving and grateful companion, you save a life and reduce euthanasia, because older pets are the ones who are put down when they’ve overstayed their welcome at crowded shelters.

You might be concerned that an older pet will end up costing you a fortune at the vet. Before you adopt, get a veterinary report that details the pet’s issues. The shelter should be able to provide you with one. Some agencies offer assistance with vet bills for a periods of time after adoption, so ask at the shelter or rescue where you adopt your pet. Keep in mind that your adult pet won’t need spaying, neutering or puppy or kitten shots.

There will be an adjustment period for any new pet you bring home. While some pets move right in as if they’ve always lived with you, others take time to adapt to new surroundings. This is especially true if the pet has been in the shelter for any length of time, which is a very stressful experience. Be patient and loving and things will work themselves out.

About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

On a Mission To “Save Them All.”
Save Them All - Pet Adoption OnlineIf you are looking to adopt a pet, please consider Best Friends. Best Friends Animal Society is here to save animals from shelter euthanization and cruelty by finding them forever homes. These cats, dogs, birds, horses and more are all living beings that deserve the chance to enjoy their life. At Best Friends volunteers and staff are hard at work daily to find animals in high-kill shelters and rescue them for the chance at finding them a forever home! Visit:

Toxic Versus Safe Houseplants for Pets

Houseplant Awareness: Which Ones Are Safe and Which Ones Are Not for Your Pets

By Audrey Pavia

The month of September plays host to National Indoor Plant Week, which runs from the 21st through the 27th. If you love nature, chances are you like to keep plants inside your house. Houseplants add softness and beauty to the home. But if you have pets, you need to be careful of which houseplants you choose. Some plants are toxic to dogs and cats, and can cause a variety of problems, from gastrointestinal irritation to death.

Although the following plants are beautiful, resist the temptation to keep them inside your house where your dog or cat might get to them:


Houseplants that are toxic to pets include (clockwise from top left): Dieffenbachia, philodendron, cyclamen and pointsettia.

  • Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
  • Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
  • Angel’s Trumpet (Datura innoxia)
  • Angels’ wings (Caladium hortulanum)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron sp.)
  • Ceriman (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum indicum)
  • Croton
(Codiaeum variegatum)
  • Crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii)
  • Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
  • Devil’s Backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana)
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Flamingo lily
(Anthurium andraeanum)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
  • Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniata)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
  • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

If you suspect your pet has ingested one of these plants, contact a veterinarian right away. Immediate symptoms will depend on the plant. Extremely toxic plants, such as Angel’s Trumpet, can cause lethargy, hyperactivity, vomiting, decreased gastrointestinal motility and constipation, dilated pupils, disorientation, tremors, seizures and respiratory depression. Less toxic plants, such as poinsettia, are likely to cause only mild reactions, such as drooling, lip licking, skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

The good news is that plenty of attractive houseplants are fairly safe to keep around pets. Here are some suggestions:


Fortunately for flora lovers, there are many safe plants you can keep around pets, including the easy-to-care for jade plant.

  • African Daisy (Dimorphotheca aurantiaca)
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
  • Aluminum Plant (Pilea spp.)
  • Baby’s tears (Soleiria soleirolii)
  • Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
  • Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
  • Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Christmas cactus  (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
  • Coleus (Coleus hybridus)
  • Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)
  • Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.)
  • Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)
  • Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
  • Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum spp.)
  • Orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.)
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Wax Plant (Hoya carmosa)
  • Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

While these plants are not considered harmful to pets if they eat them, keep in mind that any kind of foreign matter ingested by your pet might upset his stomach. You may see vomiting or diarrhea if your dog or cat decides to swallow a large enough amount plant material. Once the chewed up plant has left his system, he should be fine, with no lasting effects.

The best way to avoid having any issues with plants and your pet is to place them in areas where your dog or cat is unlikely to get at them. High windowsills make it hard for dogs—and some cats—to reach, and the extra sun is good for the plants.

For more information on toxic plants, or to get immediate help if you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous, visit the Pet Poison Hotline at or call 800-213-6680.

About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit