Plants labeled pet-friendly are non-toxic, so even if your pets and kids tend to nibble on the decor, they’ll be safe.
What makes plants toxic?
Plants, to protect themselves from hungry predators like humans and animals, have evolved to repel them using toxins. These toxins aren’t made to kill; rather, they’re intended to prevent curious nibblers from coming back for seconds. It would take the plant a lot of energy to become toxic to the point of death.
What most plants do is create a bitter taste that will make a potential eater’s mouth swollen and painful. But although large ingestions are rare, “safe” is a relative term. So keep it simple: None of your houseplants should be eaten by people or pets.
What to do if your pet has nibbled on a plant
The most common symptoms of houseplant poisoning are drooling, confusion, disorientation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Signs can get worse if a pet’s body does tolerate large amounts of a plant; the vomiting and diarrhea can seriously dehydrate it, causing electrolyte imbalances and sending your pet into shock.
The swelling of the mouth, tongue, and upper airway can lead to breathing trouble and difficulty in swallowing. So if you think your pet has eaten parts of an indoor plant, keep calm and try to identify what it’s eaten and how much of it. Then give your vet a call and explain what’s happened: she will tell you what to do.
Curious to learn more about plant care?
Download our grownups’ guide to growing an urban jungle!