French Bulldog Puppy Smelling Plant

Common Australian Indoor Plants That Are Safe For Dogs

Written By Vedrana Nikolic | Canine Coach, B.A Ethnology & Anthropology, M.A Semiotics.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 9th January 2024

What’s a home without any houseplants? If you are a relentless collector of indoor plants, you might be surprised to learn that you also need to take your pet into account when picking out green decor for your home.

The thing is, many indoor plants can be toxic for dogs. If eaten, many plants that look perfectly benign can cause serious poisoning to your dog which can even lead to death in some rare cases. Some plants can also cause contact dermatitis when they touch your dog’s skin.

Well, most of these plants are only toxic if ingested, so if your dog is not really into eating plants, you might feel you are safe. But are you 100% sure of that? When you go out and Fido is home alone, are you certain they will not, under any circumstances, munch on a plant?

It’s hard to be sure. But there is a silver lining! There are many indoor plants safe for dogs! All it takes is a bit of research.

So let’s go over some beautiful options.


The Best Indoor Pet-Friendly Plants

Ferns

Indoor fern.

Decorative ferns are a beautiful way to spruce up your space, and many of them are quite easy to grow. Most importantly for our topic today, they also aren’t toxic to dogs. Ferns typically love (at least somewhat) shady places, lots of humidity, and loose, fertile soil.

Each type of decorative fern has its own unique look, and they can spruce up your space in so many ways. And as a plus, they usually do well in hanging baskets which can be a great solution if your pooch likes to nibble on plants. Even if it's non-toxic, what’s the point of a house plant if it gets eaten, right?

Boston Fern is one of the popular favourites, known for being easy to keep happy and being non-toxic to humans, dogs, and cats. Some other cuties include the Staghorn Fern and the Bird’s Nest Fern.

Keep in mind that not every fern is dog-safe and it’s always best to research the individual species. Also, not everything that’s called a fern is actually a fern. The perfect example of that is the Asparagus Fern. Although it’s called a fern, and it looks like a fern, this adorable houseplant belongs to the Liliaceae family and is not a fern (1). Coincidentally, it can also cause allergic dermatitis in dogs.

Perennials

Indoor Purple African Violet.

African Violet

Native to East Africa, African Violets (Saintpaulia) are one of the most beloved houseplants around the world. African Violets bring forth delightful purple or pink flowers, and they don’t require too much special care to achieve that.

They can (and do) bloom in fairly low light (i.e. - a room in your home) and like moderate temperatures. No matter what, they are one of the most popular picks among safe indoor plants for dogs.

Bamboo

Bamboo is another easy and beautiful plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors, and is non-toxic to virtually everyone (including dogs and cats). In fact, dogs can even eat and get nutritional benefits from bamboo shoots.

Something to keep in mind with bamboo is that it does need a lot of sun as well as humidity. To keep your plant happy, you’ll need to place it somewhere where it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight. While finding a perfect place inside your house for it can be difficult, bamboo do make perfect plants for sunny patios.

A note of caution: Just like with ferns, be aware that bamboos have false cousins. While different types of real bamboo are generally safe for dogs, plants like Lucky Bamboo and Sacred Bamboo aren’t. This is because these plants don’t belong to the bamboo family - Lucky Bamboo is a type of tropical water lily and Sacred Bamboo belongs to the barberry family

Friendship Plant

The curiously named Friendship Plant is another adorable plant that thrives indoors and doesn’t bother pets. Requiring moderate sunlight and not even that much water, the Friendship Plant is ideal for beginners. The beautifully patterned leaves and the occasional pink flowers this plant produces can be a beautiful addition to any room.

Spider Plant

The Spider Plant (Chlorophytum) might be the real star of this list! This beautiful thing has a unique look, it’s super easy to maintain (it doesn’t even like too much sunlight), and is known for being pet-safe! Nothing more to say - just get one of these adorable plants.

Palms

Areca palm houseplant

Areca Palm

Areca Palm is another classic indoor plant. Gentle, not too big, but still able to grow fairly large, this cute palm will add a luscious dash of green to your space. The Areca Palm needs a fair amount of light, although it is not too needy. It also likes quite a bit of humidity, which makes it a very nice plant to add to the bathroom.

Dwarf Date Palm

The Date Palm is more of an actual tree than the Areca Palm, but the dwarf varieties can be great to grow indoors. These trees grow very slowly, but over time they can reach a height of up to 2 metres indoors. And yes - they are safe for dogs.

Lady Palm

The Lady Palm is another wonderful variety to grow indoors. These palms grow luscious clumps of green leaves, and, while they can grow quite big when given the space, they can easily be kept to a manageable size indoors.

Parlor Palm

The Parlor Palm is one of the most elegant indoor palms. With luscious green leaves and not too many special requirements, these palms are easy to take care of and can grow quite big over time.  These palms like bright light, but not too much direct sunlight, and they don’t even need watering more than one time per week.

Succulents

Indoor succulents.

Echeveria

No indoor plant collection is complete without at least one succulent. The go-to succulent is often Echeveria. This cute, dazzling succulent is hard to resist, and it’s very easy to maintain. Keeping it around dogs? No problem!

Haworthia

spikey and colourful, haworthias are very fashionable succulents! These small succulents come in different varieties which are very cute. While Haworthias are totally safe for dogs, they often get mixed up with Aloes. Pet parents should make sure to distinguish between the two as Aloes are toxic to dogs (2).

Sempervivum

Succulents under the name of Sempervivum, also often called houseleeks and various other names like ‘chicken and hens’ are a wonderful addition to any home that is known to be safe for both cats and dogs. And, even better, Sempervivum is super easy to grow. It can grow in a variety of conditions and doesn’t require all that much care!


Should I Worry About My Dog Eating My Houseplants?

Do dogs munch on houseplants? Well, if you already have a dog you probably know your canine family member. Some pups will never think about munching on a garden plant (except for some grass outdoors, which most dogs munch on), but others like biting into everything, including houseplants.

“Exposure of dogs and cats to household plants occurs commonly, especially with younger animals that tend to be very inquisitive. Some plants are extremely toxic to our pets,” - Dr. David Dorman, PetMD (3)

But don’t dogs know what’s good for them? Well, sometimes it appears they do, but especially young puppies will try chewing on anything. Once they get sick, they might not try it again, but we don’t want that to happen. So, if you are introducing a new puppy into your home, it’s probably best to keep the houseplants out of reach - especially the toxic ones.


My Final Thoughts

This list of plants that are safe for your dog is not exhaustive. Many plants that are safe and also many plants that are toxic. While researching every single species you want to get can be quite annoying, it’s still the best possible thing you can do. Better safe than sorry! To find out about the toxicity of a specific houseplant, check out this list of resources compiled by RSPCA.

Happy hunting for dog-safe indoor plants!

References

  1. Badgett, B. “Asparagus Fern Plant – How To Take Care Of Asparagus Ferns”. Gardening Know How. Retrieved September 6, 2022. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/asparagus-fern/asparagus-fern-care.htm
  2. PetMD Editorial. March 21, 2022. “Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?”. PetMD. Retrieved September 7, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/poisoning-toxicity/are-succulents-poisonous-cats-and-dogs
  3. PetMD Editorial. March 19, 2021. “Flowers and Plants That Are Safe for Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved September 6, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/grow-fresh-air-plants-are-safe-cats-and-dogs

Vedrana Nikolic


Vedrana Nikolić is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer, Anthropologist & dog lover.

With a Masters Degree in Semiotics & Bachelors Degree in Anthropology, studying the communication between animals and humans, Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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