One of the most frustrating tasks when plants is keeping your dog or cat out of them. Pets love digging the dirt, using your plant as a litter box, or eating the leaves. In addition, you don’t want curiosity to literally kill the cat; some plants can harm animals. Don’t give up on your houseplants or garden, or on your fur babies. Read on to learn how they can coexist in harmony.
Plants That are Safe for Pets
Some plants that you may grow are safe for your pets to eat. Southern Living reports that cilantro, sage, sunflowers, sweet potato vine, and thyme are all plants that humans consume in some way and are safe for your four-legged friends. You might not be happy if they eat these, but at least they won’t wind up at the vet.
Other plants safe choices include African violets, alyssums, blooming Sallys, blue eyed daisies, cornflowers, Crape Myrtles, creeping zinnias, daylilies, feather palms, hibiscuses, impatiens, magnolia bushes, and zinnias.
Harmful Plants to Pets
Unfortunately, many kinds of plants that aren’t safe for pets to eat. Ingesting these can cause a variety of symptoms including death. If you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, call the ASPCA’s 24-hour animal poison control center at (888) 426-4435, or call your local vet.
Safe for Humans, Unsafe for Pets
Tomatoes, mint, and parsley are foods humans can eat as much as they want but are unsafe for pets to consume. Tomatoes contain a toxic element called solanine, which is dangerous for your pets. It’s also unsafe for humans, but only in extremely large amounts, according to Science-Based Medicine.
Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs
The majority of flowers you’ll probably grow in your garden are unsafe for your pets to consume. If your pets do happen to ingest the plants, they’ll experience anything from loss of coordination, vomiting, lethargy, seizures, diarrhea, lack of appetite, indigestion, heart arrhythmias, excessive drooling, and even death. Tulips, lilies (mainly for cats), daffodils, hydrangeas, boxwoods, aloe vera, begonias, geraniums, irises, and daisies are just some of the flowers that your pets shouldn’t ingest.
Ways to Prevent Pets from Eating Plants
If you do want to have a garden filled with plants your pets shouldn’t eat, there are still ways to cultivate your dream garden.
Grow Barrier Plants
If you don’t want your pets to make your garden their own, consider growing barrier plants around it. Roses, which aren’t toxic to pets, make a great barrier because of the thorns. No one wants your pets to step on rose thorns, but if they do, they will learn to avoid that area.
Enclose Your Garden
If the thought of barrier plants is too much to bear, consider enclosing your garden with a fence. The fence will keep dogs out and won’t hurt them the same way that stepping on rose thorns would. However, dogs are prone to digging, so be sure to check around the fence occasionally to check for holes. Cats, of course, adeptly jump and climb, so you might need a creative solution, like curving the top of the fence outward.
Keep Houseplants Away from Prowling Cats
Cats love to explore and tend to think they have free reign of your home. Houseplants on counter tops or shelves look mighty enticing. At minimum, you may come home to shattered pots and soil everywhere from cats knocking them off of high surfaces. But, depending on the plant, your cat decided to take a nibble and end up sick.
If you have the option, keep plants in a cat-free room with a closed door. Other tricks include aluminum foil around the base of the pot (cats hate the feeling of stepping on it) or spraying plants with a little soapy water. Cats and dogs generally dislike citrus. To prevent them from digging in the dirt place fresh orange or lemon peels around the plant. Alternatively, try spraying the leaves with essential lemon or orange oils.
Plants Your Pets Don’t Like
There are certain types of plants that cats and dogs don’t like. Rosemary tends to repel them. Another plant you may consider is the Coleus canina or the “scaredy cat plant.” Gardening Know How explains that this plant is in the mint family. Use caution when planting this indoors. Coleus canina may look pretty, but it has a foul “skunky” odor when bruised or cut.
When it comes to plants versus pets, you don’t have to choose one or the other. The two can happily exist together. Just make sure your pets have plenty of their own space and activities to keep them busy. Idle paws tend to get into trouble. And if you’re ever unsure whether a plant is safe or dangerous for your furry friends, the ASPCA has a feature on their website where you can look up any plant.
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