10 Non-Toxic and Dog-Safe Houseplants

Keep pets healthy with the right selection of indoor plants
By Daniela Lopez, May 2017, Updated September 2021
pet safe indoor plants

When adopting a new dog, there are a lot of things to worry about like making sure your pup gets the right nutrition and training. But what about dog-proofing your home? You might be surprised to learn that some common houseplants are toxic to both dogs and cats. 

According to the ASPCA, their poison control hotline receives around 150,000 calls annually from pet parents needing assistance with possible poison-related emergencies. To keep your pup healthy, make sure the plants in and around your home are safe for them. Here are the best dog-safe, non-toxic houseplants to get you started (and be sure to check out this handy list of toxic and non-toxic plants from the ASPCA). 

1. Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum, commonly referred to as Spider Plants, are one of the most widely recognized and popular houseplants—and the good news is, they’re safe for dogs. These plants are popular for beginners because they are one of the easiest plants to care for. They don’t need a ton of attention and can thrive in almost any home. If you’re a novice looking for a pet-friendly starter plant, this should be your top choice.

2. Tillandsia

Commonly known as “air plants,” tillandsia are perfect for a home with pets: They are non-toxic to dogs, low maintenance, and very decorative. Since they do not require soil to grow, they can fit just about anywhere! Tillandsia are commonly used as stunning, living-art pieces displayed on shelves, driftwood, small urns, or hanging glass bulbs. Basically, they’re great anywhere your dog can’t reach them. But remember: Low-maintenance does not mean no-maintenance!

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3. Boston Ferns

Nephrolepis Exaltata, commonly known as the Boston Fern, is a beautiful fern with a feather-like quality. True ferns, like the Boston Fern, are typically non-toxic to dogs, and they make wonderful houseplants. These graceful, easy-care ferns make wonderful hanging plants or the perfect accent to the top of a bookshelf. They do best with indirect sunlight and moist soil.

4. Staghorn Fern

These unusual plants have two types of leaves: one heart-shaped and one that looks like the horns of a deer (hence the name). They are non-toxic to both cats and dogs, and they are easy to grow if you provide the right living conditions. Typically, these unique plants will be found mounted on a wall or draping from a hanging basket.

5. Maidenhair Fern

Similar to the Boston Fern, Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum sp) are soft, gorgeous ferns with a fan shape and feather-like quality. Some might consider Maidenhair ferns to be finicky, but they can be easy to care for one you learn the trick: Water, water, water! These plants love water so much that you practically cannot over-water them–add in a bit of bright light and you are set. These plants flourish in the right conditions, and since they are non-toxic to dogs and cats, they make a wonderful addition to any home.

6. Prayer Plant

The Maranta Plant (Maranta leuconeura), also known as the Prayer Plant, has a unique ability: Its oval-shaped leaves rise to an upright position during the night and the leaves fold together as if in prayer. These plants are easy to care for, do well in hanging baskets, and make for a great pet-safe houseplant.

7. Cat Grass

Wheat Grass, also known as pet grass or cat grass, is actually quite nutrient dense. It contains chlorophyll, fiber, Vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and potassium, plus some protein and carotenoids. Wheat grass may also help pets with upset stomachs. It’s easy to grow and care for but does require clipping similar to a lawn.

8. Rosemary

Salvia rosmarinus, commonly known as Rosemary, is an evergreen herb that is native to the Mediterranean. It requires a lot of sun (6-8 hours of full sun) and is sensitive to overwatering, so it can be tricky to care for indoors.

9. Ponytail Palm

Beaucarnea recurvata, known as the Elephant’s Foot or Ponytail Palm, are easy to grow, provided you don’t overwater them. Kept indoors, they rarely get larger than four feet tall and can be started small and transplanted as they grow. Despite the name, the Ponytail Palm isn’t a true palm—it is actually a part of the agave family. The ponytail palm makes a wonderful dog-safe indoor plant.

10. Blue Bird

This rosette style succulent is a gorgeous addition to any dog-loving home. It’s not too fond of the cold so it’s perfect for indoors. Place it in a sunny location like a windowsill, and lightly water it to maintain its beautiful color.

Ponytail Palm photo courtesy of Ulfl at German Wikipedia

Daniela Lopez is a digital media specialist and long-time contributor to The Bark.

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