Pets and plants: how to create a green space without harming your furry friends

Whether you’ve got a large garden, a small courtyard with room for some pots, or you’re looking to brighten up your flat with some greenery, it’s important to think about your pets when picking your plants.

Dogs, cats and other pets are naturally curious and many will happily munch on a leaf or flower to see whether it’s a tasty treat. Unfortunately, this curiosity can come at a price, as there are plenty of plants that are potentially harmful to your pets.

Toxic plants for pets

Among the common garden plants that are best avoided are daffodils, foxgloves and geraniums. Many plants grown from bulbs, such as hyacinths, tulips and snowdrops are also harmful for pets, with the bulbs particularly toxic.

Lilies are another to be kept out of your pet’s way, both in the garden and as a cut flower indoors. All parts of the plant, including the pollen, can be poisonous with cats particularly at risk.

Some house plants can also be bad for your pets. Although it’s known for its healing properties in humans, aloe vera is toxic to cats and dogs. Sago palms are also a no-no, as these can cause vomiting and liver failure if ingested in large enough quantities. Other common house plants that are potentially toxic include amaryllis, fiddle leaf fig and elephant ears.

With any of these, symptoms will depend on how much they’ve eaten and how toxic the plant is but can include drooling, fits and vomiting. If you are worried that your pet may have eaten something poisonous, speak to your vet. They will be able to advise you on the risk and recommend whether they need treatment.

Pet-friendly plants

As well as avoiding the toxic ones, there are some pet-friendly plants that you might want to add to your borders or stick in a pot. Dogs love to chew on grass and even bamboo but are also partial to herbs such as basil, dill and thyme.

Cats have their favourites too, with catmint and cat grass likely to become their number one places to visit in your garden. They’ll be very happy hanging out in your herb garden, which could make them smell divine too.

There are also plenty of non-toxic plants for pets, which you can add to your home or garden. Common ones include roses, marigolds, violets and sunflowers.

If you’re in any doubt about which plants are best for pets, ask at your garden centre or speak to your vet. Animal charity, PDSA, can also help and its website (Poisonous plants – PDSA) has lots of information about which plants are toxic.


Adding pet-friendly plants to your home or garden can benefit you and your pets. To help you protect the things you love – including your home and your pets – visit us online for a quotation.


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