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Are your stylish houseplants dog-friendly? Here's what to avoid when plant shopping with pets

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Did you know that some common houseplants are toxic to dogs? This Vancouver plant store shares what to avoid, and dog safe alternatives.

Houseplants are one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your home and add some style to your space, but did you know that some houseplants can be toxic, and even deadly to our four-legged friends?

With many of us spending more time than ever indoors in 2020, there's been a surge in popularity for trendy houseplants, and research actually shows that simply having plants in your home can improve your health and well being.

But for dog owners shopping for a new leafy addition for their home, it's important to know that some trendy, and even very common, houseplants can be extremely toxic to dogs.

Luckily, there are lots of beautiful plants that are perfectly safe for our pups, and Taylor Booth from Vancouver plant store West Coast Jungle suggests doing your research before making any purchases.

"It is impossible to tell just by looking at a plant if it's toxic to your pets or not. The safest option for dog owners is to research pet-friendly plants before purchasing and I recommend using the SPCA website to check if a plant is safe for your pup," explains Booth, one of the sisters behind the popular boutique plant store.

Plants to avoid

Common houseplants such as Aloe Vera, Ivy, Jade and Bird of Paradise, along with many others are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and other worrying symptoms, but according to Booth, if there's one houseplant that pet owners should stay away from when shopping, it's Oleander.

"Oleander is the number one plant pet owners should avoid at all costs. They are extremely toxic and can be deadly for your pet in a matter of minutes of being consumed," warns Booth, who adds that Oleander shed their blooms throughout the seasons making it even easier for your pet to consume. 

A heartbroken dog owner's Facebook post went viral earlier this year after her beloved French Bulldog Lily died in her arms after ingesting part of common houseplant Sago Palm, warning pet owners of the importance of researching plants before purchasing.

While every part of the popular indoor Sago Palm plant is dangerous to pets, its seeds are particularly harmful and can cause severe liver damage within just 15 minutes of ingestion, placing it amongst the most toxic plants for pet owners.

As a dog owner herself, Booth also shares her tips on how to best keep your pups away from houseplants.

"I spray the base of the pot with Apple Bitters to keep my pup out of my plants. I also find using large planters or elevating your plants help keep your dogs out!," shares Booth, whose adorable pup Malcolm can often be seen exploring the dog friendly store on their Instagram page.

As the Holidays are approaching, Booth reminds dog owners to be careful of what festive plants they decorate their homes with.

"Like all your houseplants, always check first if your festive plants are toxic. For example, both the berry and leaf of Holly is toxic, and the same with Mistletoe," she explains.

When it comes to pet safe plants, there are lots of great options, and one that Booth says makes an excellent choice is Calatheas.

"Calatheas are one of my favourite pet friendly plants!  They have beautiful leaf patterns, are easy to care for and bonus points - my dog is never interested in it!," laughs Booth. 

Other trendy pet-safe options include Areca Palm, Boston Fern, Ponytail Palm, American Rubber Plant and Bamboo. Check out 14 great choices here.

If you're still not sure what houseplants to choose, West Coast Jungle welcomes dog owners and their pups inside their East Broadway store and the team is happy to help you find pup safe options.

"We are big dog lovers and it makes our day when people bring their dogs into the store. We understand how comforting your furry pal can be to you, and we'd much prefer people bring their pets inside instead of leaving them in a vehicle," explains Booth.

Get a FREE pet-safe 2" Polka Plant at West Coast Jungle

West Coast Jungle is giving dog owners a free plant for visiting their store this month.

To get yours, download the free PawSwap App today - your ultimate dog-friendly city guide - and collect Triple Points for visiting West Coast Jungle.

"Our 2" Polka Dot plant is non toxic and seriously adorable! Dog owners will love them because they fit on a windowsill, so are easy to keep away from your doggos, and they let you know when they need water when they droop their leaves!," says Booth.


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