As we’ve discussed in the last couple of blog posts, house plants can be so much more than just a nice decorative item for your apartment home. While it’s great to have a plant or flower just because it looks or smells nice, we’ve shown that you can easily grow some vegetables and herbs, too. It’s fun to watch them grow and can become the foundation for a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. There are also some plants that are great for allergy sufferers, as they remove pollutants from the air and provide fresh oxygen.
However, some plants that provide great benefits for humans are toxic for pets. For example, many people like having aloe vera plants in their homes. As you know, the gel in the leaves is used in many lotions to relieve sunburn or other skin damage. And the plant is also terrific at removing the toxins formaldehyde and carbon dioxide from the air. So the plant has many wonderful properties, but it is also poisonous to your pet. If your dog or cat ingests aloe vera, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, and tremors. That’s like having the stomach flu, so you want to avoid inflicting that kind of misery on your pet.
Here are the house plants to avoid if you have pets:
- Aloe Vera
- Lilies (all varieties)
- Corn plant
- Dumb Cane
- Elephant Ear
- Mountain Laurel
In addition to the flu-like symptoms described above, if your pet has trouble swallowing or has excessive drooling, it may have be having a bad reaction to something in your home. Do not hesitate to call your vet, but if it is after hours, you can call the ASPCA 24-hour poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435 for care.
Pets just seem to like to sniff, chew and rub on grass and plants sometimes, so here are a couple of plants that are considered pet-friendly:
- Golden Palm
- African Violet
- Spider Plant
You can also grow cat nip at home, but too much exposure can make your cat aggressive. You should keep it out of reach and use it sparingly.
There are good and bad aspects with most things, and the same is true with house plants. You could ignore this advice if you don’t have pets, but a furry friend may be in your future. So as you look to green up your apartment, keep an eye on Fido or Fluffy (or maybe Brad and Angelina!) for signs of allergies. Let’s keep learning together on our journey to green apartment living.