Plants are a great way to improve the quality of your indoor air, but if you have fur-babies like we do, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t creating a health risk in case Fido decides he needs some greens with his kibble!

Some of the most common houseplants (Snake Plant, Peace Lily, Pothos, Philadendron, Ficus) are TOXIC to cats and dogs when ingested, so if you have these plants, try to put them out of reach of your four-legged friends.

Nelly the nibbler with catnip
Leo the chomper. “Who me? i’m an angel!”

Our cat just loves to rub her nose against plants and will occasionally take a tiny nibble. Now, I knew this was nota non-toxic plant for her to be rubbing against but she wasn’t eating the plant, just biting into it, and only did this when we were brushing her, thus, supervised.

However, when I saw our dog watch her do this then chomp a leaf of my Pothos plant, I knew it was time to make some changes. The Pothos is going up, out of chomping and nibbling reach!

Since I was doing some research on which common beneficial houseplants are safe for cats and dogs (Nelly needs a new plant to rub against!), I thought I’d share my findings with you. Here’s a selection of easy to find houseplants that improve indoor air quality* and are also non-toxic to both cats and dogs according to the ASPCA.

Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea elegans (Miniature Fish Tail Dwarf Palm, Parlor Palm, Good Luck Palm, Neanthe Bella Palm)

Banana Plant – Musa acuminata (Edible Banana, Plantain Tree, Banana Palm)

Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum (Ribbon Plant, Anthericum, Spider Ivy)

Areca Palm – Dypsis lutescens or Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (Golden Cane Palm, Golden Butterfly Palm, Cane Palm, Golden Feather Palm, Yellow Palm)

Kentia Palm– Howea forsteriana (Thatch Palm, Forster Senty Palm)

American Rubber Plant – Peperomia Obtusifolia (Pepper Face, Baby Rubber Plant)

African Violet – Saintpaulia (Cape Marigold)

Dwarf Date Palm – Phoenix acaulis

Pygmy Date Palm – Phoenix robelenii (Miniature Date Palm, Robellini Palm)

Hoya – Hoya kerrii – (Wax Hearts, Valentine Hoya)


Orchids – Orchidaceae – Many orchids are listed as non-toxic to cats and dogs, but since there are so many different kinds, check your particular variety to be sure.

If you have amazing inside light, ie, a sunroom, certain herbs might also work. Nelly’s catnip didn’t survive very long in that location, but now she spends most of her time in a sunroom and her temporary “rubbing plant” is dill, albeit, a very scraggly dill.  Even in coastal North Carolina, it is winter!

* Some individuals who are mold sensitized may not be able to tolerate potential mold growth in the soil of houseplants. Using terra-cotta pots instead of plastic ones should encourage proper moisture evaporation for those of you who are not mold sensitive but wish to optimize health conditions.

ASPCA searchable database of toxic and non-toxic plants

NASA report on Indoor Air Quality and plants

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