Santa Clarita, Calif., September 15, 2014 —Are houseplants safe to have around pets? Even though houseplants adorn homes and offices and provide health benefits, for dogs and cats, some are toxic, and if ingested, can cause serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and tremors.
This week is National Indoor Plant Week (September 15-19) and Animal Behavior College (ABC) wants pet owners who enjoy houseplants to take special precautions to ensure these beautiful additions are also safe to have around their four-legged friends.
“Many pet owners buy houseplants to beautify their homes and for holiday decorations not realizing that some indoor plants are harmful to their pet,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. “It’s critical they know which indoor plants are safe and unsafe. This is especially important with the holiday season only months away when there is an increase in toxic indoor plant decorations such as poinsettias, mistletoe and holly.”
However, some pet owners are unclear on which plants are safe—and unsafe—for pets. In addition to learning those differences, ABC recommends owners make appropriate changes in their homes. Moving houseplants to high shelves, bookcases or other areas will keep them out of a pet’s reach. When pets are outdoors, owners should keep a watchful eye on them around outdoor plants and shrubs.
Even though there are hundreds of plants that are not toxic, some can still wreak havoc on a dog’s or cat’s digestive system. If ingested, they can experience a wide-range of symptoms, including constipation, nausea, vomiting, excessive lip licking and drooling.
ABC’s short list of safe plants to have around pets: African Daisy (Dimorphotheca aurantiaca), African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha), Baby’s Tears (Soleiria soleirolii), Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.), Orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.) and Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum).
ABC’s short list of unsafe plants to have around pets: Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis), Angel’s Trumpet (Datura innoxia), Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum indicum), Devil’s Backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana), English Ivy (Hedera helix), Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) and Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
If a dog or cat is ill from eating a toxic plant, contact a veterinarian immediately or call or visit the Pet Poison Hotline at 800-213-6680 or at www.petpoisonhelpline.com. The American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) has a comprehensive list of toxic and nontoxic plants for dogs and cats on its website.
Animal Behavior College offers certifications and continuing education programs. To become a dog trainer, obtain dog-training certification, enroll in the Dog Obedience Program (DOP) or to learn more about the college, visit our website http://www.AnimalBehaviorCollege.com/info.