Our cats and dogs are certified members of the family and can sometimes be as precious as our own kids. We see them as tiny toddlers that are curious about almost anything under the sun.
A shoe, a ball, a pillow, a yarn, a butterfly, humans (in front of them or on the screen) – you name it and they’ll definitely have a go at it. This includes flowers. They’ll jump on it, scratch, attack, lick, nibble or worse swallow the whole thing!
Because our tail-wagging babies are a priority, most pet parents just forget about their love for flowers. But here comes the good news! Not all flowers and plants are harmful. You can enjoy having stunning flower arrangements with your furry friend roaming around at home.
Check out this list of non-toxic flowers that won’t be harmful to your pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
There are over 100 species of this woody perennial shrubs of Rosacea family, all of which are recognized as generally harmless chemically to common pets, such as dogs, cats, and horses.
But don’t be deceived, as not all plants or flowers with roses attached to their names are as innocent. Primrose, Christmas rose, desert rose, rosebay, and moss rose (which is a succulent) may be dangerous to your furry friends due to their potential toxicity risks, especially when they’re ingested.
The thorns of typical long-stemmed roses may be a red flag because it can cause scratches and wounds should your curious cat pounce on them.
Gerbera daisy is a colorful pet-friendly flower that pet parents can adore all day guilt-free. Blooming in the most vibrant shades of pink, red, yellow, and white, gerbera daisies are uber popular and represent happiness, cheerfulness, and purity.
Nonetheless, because flowers or any plant for that matter isn’t a usual part of your paw baby’s everyday diet, it would be wise if you keep your gerbera daisy flower arrangements out of its reach.
In fact, orchids are perhaps one of the most inoffensive to have around the house without worrying even if your dog or cat decides to have a bite.
The ASPCA and other animal protection groups agree that members of the Orchidaceae family are pet-friendly and safe. This includes the following orchid species:
- Brazilian Orchid (Sophronitis spp.)
- Crimson Cattleya, Ruby-lipped Cattleya (Cattleya Labiata)
- Christmas Orchid or Winter Cattleya (Cattleya trianaei)
- Cirrhopetalum or Old World Orchid (Bulbophyllum appendiculatum)
- Cocktail Orchid (Cattleya forbesii)
- Dancing Doll Orchid (Oncidium flexuosum)
- Easter Cattleya or Easter Orchid) (Cattleya mossiae)
- Fiery Reed Orchid (Epidendrum ibaguense)
- Scarlet Orchid (Epidendrum tampense)
- Florida Butterfly Orchid (Encyclia tampensis)
- Ghost Leafless Orchid or Leafless ghost orchid (Polyrrhiza lindenii)
- Golden Lace Orchid or Jewel Orchid (Haemaria discolor)
- Golden Shower Orchid (Oncidium sphacelatum)
- King of the Forest Orchid (Anoectuchilus setaceus)
- Lace Orchid (Odontoglossum crispum)
- Leopard Orchid or Tiger Orchid (Dendrobium gracilicaule)
- Lily of the Valley Orchid (Odontoglossum pulchellum)
- Pansy Orchid (Miltonia roezlii alba)
- Phalaenopsis Orchid, also known as, Moth Orchid, Moon Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)
- Rainbow Orchid (Epidendrum prismatocarpum)
- Spice Orchid (Epidendrum atropurpeum)
- Tailed Orchid (Masdevallia spp.)
Dust orchid leaves with cinnamon powder or cayenne pepper. Your cat hates this smell and will, therefore, leave your precious orchid plant alone in peace.
With big, bright, and sunny yellow blooms, sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) can make anyone’s day beautiful and 10 times better in a snap. Even better news, there is nothing poisonous about these sun-loving beauties. This goes for both animals and humans.
Sunflowers can be eaten or taken medicinally or recreationally without adverse effects. Its leaves and petals are frequently used as tinctures for loosening up phlegm and coughing.
Sunflower seeds, as you well know, are not just tasty snacks but excellent sources of beneficial minerals, such as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin.
Petunias are striking flowering plants native to South America. They bloom vibrant flowers in all colors imaginable, except true blue and grow wildly particularly during summer months. They are listed under ASPCA’s non-toxic flowers for pets.
There are four major types of petunia:
- Grandiflora – The oldest types of petunia developed way back in 1975. This variety has impressive bouquets that grow up to five inches. Grandiflora petunia series include Ultra, Dream, Storm, Daddy, Supermagic, Supercascade.
- Multiflora – Smaller plants with numerous flowers that thrive in windy climates. This petunia series include Primetime, Celebrity, Carpet, Horizon, and Mirage.
- Milliflora – Miniature petunias that are best grown in hanging baskets. Picobella and Fantasy.
- Spreading or Wave – These petunias have the ability to spread up to four feet across, making them wonderful ground covers. Easy wave, Shock Wave, Avalanche.
Celosia is a little genus of edible flowering plants from the Amaranth family. Its name is derived from an ancient Greek word which means burning because of its flowers that resemble a flaming bush.
Celosia are flowering annuals that come in the loveliest shades of orange, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow with leaves of equally stunning colors, ranging from blue, chartreuse green, purple, gold, and burgundy.
Some celosia varieties bloom in the summer while some favor fall or autumn season. As experienced flower gardeners would tell you, there are three groups of celosia:
- Celosia cristata, the crested type (Toreador, Chief Series, Neo gold, Bombay Fire)
- Celosia plumose, the plume type (Sylphid, Apricot Brandy, Sunday Red, Ice Cream Salmon)
- Celosia spicata, the spike or wheat type (Flamingo Feathers, Glowing Spear Mix, Celway, Kosmo Purple Red)
Another good-looking and pet-friendly member of the daisy family, zinnia are considered safe for your cats and dogs. These flowers, which can pass as an identical twin of daisies and dahlias, are amazingly prolific bloomers, especially during summertime. Zinnia comes in a wide array of colors, including purple, lilac, red, multi-colored, except true blue.
Popular zinnia varieties worth checking out are:
- Carousel Mix
- Will Rogers
- Canary Bird
- Cherry Queen
- Persian Carpet
- State Fair
- Purple Prince
- Luminosa Pink
- Red Spider
Asters are perennials and pet-friendly flowers anyone would love to have. With their charming daisy-like flowers that come in eye-catching fall-inspired tints of pink, blue, and white, they’re also a delight to have in the garden because they attract birds, butterflies, and bees.
Some handsome aster varieties are:
- New England aster
- New York aster
- Heath aster
- October skies aromatic aster
- White wood aster
- Lady in Black calico aster
- Bluebird smooth aster
Symphyotrichum, Ionactis, Eurybia, and Doellingeria are other types of asters that go by different names.
These gorgeous annual flowering plants usher in a happy dose of sunshine with petals in different shades of gold, copper, and orange. They have an uncanny resemblance to daisies and carnations.
Also called the Herb of the Sun, marigolds are offered to ancient gods and goddesses during Indian traditions like Durga Puja. In Mexico, the golden flowers are offered to loved ones during Dia delos Muertos.
Marigolds have 56 species divided into two genera, Tagetes and Calendula. Some of our favorite marigold varieties are:
- Calendula officinalis
- Tagetes Cottage Red
- Baileya multiradiata
- Calendula officinalis Bon Bon Mix
- Caltha palustris
- Tagetes erect Antigua Orange
- Tagetes erect Discovery Orange
- Tagetes erect Doubloon
- Tagetes erect Inca Yellow
- Tagetes erecta Moonstruck Series
- Park’s Whopper Yellow Marigold
- Janie Deep Orange Marigold
- Tagetes erecta Sweet Cream
- Tagetes Patula Aurora Light Yellow
- Tagetes Patula Safari Red
- Marigold Mr. Majestic Double
- Marigold Colossus
- Tagetes erecta Inca Primrose
The beauty about marigolds is that they also act as natural insect repellents against mosquitoes and other nasty bugs while being completely non-toxic to cats and dogs.
The ASPCA has classified lilium species as non-toxic to only dogs and horses.
Unfortunately, they are deemed super deadly to cats. Lilies may pose a risk of severe kidney failure or even death to our feline friends should they consume two or three petals or leaves or even water from a vase.
The Pet Poison Hotline says there are benign and dangerous kinds of lilies, which of course, all pet guardians should know about.
Benign lilies include:
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) – A popular indoor plant with attractive white blooms known for its hardiness and ability to thrive despite occasional neglect
- Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria) – Also called Lily of the Incas, you’re more familiar to these dainty flowers as alstroemeria.
- Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) – These elegant wax-like and trumpet-shaped flowers are a favorite among brides because they are said to symbolize wedded bliss.
Beware of these types of lilies or true lilies as they can put your pets in dire medical situations.
- Tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium or Lilium tigrinum)
- Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum)
- Stargazer lily (Lilium orientalis)
- Rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum rubrum)
- Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lethargy, vomiting, drooling, dehydration, uncontrollable urination or thirst, and seizures are tell-tale signs of toxic exposure in pets.
Poisonous Flowers You Should Keep Away From Your Pets
In addition to the ones mentioned above, here’s a brief list of flowers that you should avoid at all cost, either as a flowering plant or part of a floral arrangement, if you have a dog or cat at home.
- Birds of Paradise
Common Symptoms of Plant Poisoning in Cats and Dogs
There’s a whole gamut of signs to watch out for when it comes to poisoning in pets. The symptoms can vary depending on the type of plant, flower, or specific variety, and severity of exposure. Did your pet just nibbled a bit of the leaf or swallowed the whole flower?
Pets who have ingested toxic plants or flowers can suffer from mild to severe gastrointestinal issues, seizures, and neurologic problems, heart poisoning, kidney poisoning, or liver poisoning.
Some early poisoning symptoms in pets usually include:
- Loss of appetite
- Uncontrollable urination or thirst
- Bleeding gums
- Black or bloody stools
- Bleeding gums
Normally, cats and dogs could have sudden bouts of vomiting and diarrhea when they eat something that doesn’t agree with their stomach. It should resolve on its own in a few days.
However, if you see your pet experiencing at least a couple other symptoms for more than 24 hours, regardless if you have flowers or plants around the house, we suggest taking him/her to your veterinarian.
Chances are, they could have been exposed to other equally dangerous toxic materials, such as:
- Prescription drugs for humans (Tylenol, antidepressants, opiates, birth control pills, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Macadamia nuts
- Moth balls
- Rat poison
- Lead paint
- Flea medications for dogs (which are detrimental to cats)
How to Protect Your Pets From Plant Poisoning
Naturally, the first logical recommendation we’d give you is to stick with the list of pet-friendly flowers we gave you. But of course, erring on the side of caution, it’s always advisable to be extra-careful. After all, broken pots of ruined orchid plants plus a pooping pet isn’t a pretty sight to come home to.
More tips for flower-loving pet parents:
- Educate your close friends and family about pet-friendly flowers you’d love to receive.
- Put your orchid plants and other flowering plants in one particular part of the house that’s cordoned off from your naughty pet. It can be your front porch, sunroom, home office, or any space with a door or screen that your cat or dog can’t have access to without your supervision.
- Try making your own natural pet-repellent. We’ve heard good reviews about vinegar sprays and dusting with cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
- Hang them in hooks – your flowers, not your pets. Kidding aside, we think hanging plants, especially cascading orchids, look super chic and charming.
- Always check ASPCA’s pet-friendly plants and flowers. Consult this comprehensive online list before buying an indoor plant or ordering a flower arrangement either for yourself or a loved one living with a dog or cat at home.