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Things You Should Know About Plants and Pets

If you follow plant-related social media accounts, you have seen beautiful photographs showcasing animals and pets living together peacefully. However, many plant and pet owners struggle to achieve this harmony. What should you know about plants and pets? How can you find the perfect balance between the two?

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Plants and Pets: How to Keep the Peace

Several factors are essential to understand this topic. For example: What makes plants appealing to pets? And how can you keep your animals safe?

What You Should Know About Plant Toxicity

The phrase “pet-friendly” means that the plant is non-toxic to animals. In short, the plant is not poisonous to your pet, and no harm will come to them if they chew or eat it. It is noteworthy, however, that all plants pose a danger to animals when they are overeaten. Symptoms can include nausea and vomiting.

There are many types of toxic plants, including Tradescantia (read more about them below), Philodendrons, Anthuriums, Sansevierias, and Begonias, just to name a few.

However, many plants are non-toxic, such as Spider Plants, Orchids, Parlor Palms, Pileas, Crispy Waves, and more. Thus, while some plants are toxic to animals, there are still plenty to choose from.

Symptoms to Look For

If you are afraid that your animal has ingested a toxic plant, here are the common symptoms:

  • Sneezing

  • Coughing

  • Itching/skin irritation

  • Gagging and Vomiting

  • Reduced appetite

  • Rubbing of the face

If you notice any of these unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Tradescantias and Pets

Some plants pose an added threat to animals. For example, Tradescantias excrete a skin-irritating sap. If you choose to have a Tradescantia plant in a common area with your pet, consider planting your Tradescantia in a hanging basket. Make sure to anchor it securely to the ceiling and prune your plant regularly, so your pet cannot reach any of its vines.

How to Stop Your Pet from Eating Your Plants

Why are Plants Appealing to Pets?

If your pet finds your plant to be tasty or an appealing texture, it will instinctively come back for more. Many specialists claim that animals eat plants for medicinal purposes. Others say that they are investigating their environment and instinctively put things in their mouth to learn. They could also be searching for enrichment because of boredom.

The soil itself also draws some pets in. For instance, dogs naturally bury items in the ground. Whatever the case, it is crucial to make your plant and its soil unappealing to your pet.

Keeping Pets Off of Leaves

As already noted, if your animals overeat any plant, even if it is non-toxic, it can harm them. How do you keep your pets away from the leaves?

  • Spritz your plant with a citrus solution or place citrus peelings around your plant. Dogs and cats will dislike the smell and flavor.

  • Make your plants inaccessible and keep them out of your pet’s favorite areas.

  • Train your pet. Training takes time, patience, and diligence but has proven successful, even with cats.

  • Devote a plant to your pet. Purchase a specialized grass. Spider plants are also harmless to animals and are easily attained. Allowing your pet to use one plant as a “chew toy” will likely stop it from harming other plants.

  • Give them enrichment. If you discern that boredom contributes to your pet’s interest in your plants, purchase an enrichment toy, or enroll them in a training class to keep their mind active.

How to Keep Your Pets Out of the Soil

Keep your pet out of the soil by preventing it from accessing the soil’s surface. Do this by placing aluminum foil over the dirt or a piece of burlap, cut to size. Another easy, appealing option is to utilize pebbles, covering the entire soil area.

If a ground covering is not deterring your pet, spray the soil with a citrus solution. As noted above, the smell of citrus is off-putting to cats and dogs. Some pet owners have chosen to use plastic forks or skewers in the soil to discourage their animals from sitting in their plants.

Continuing your efforts to discourage your pet from bothering your plant will eventually train them to stay away. These efforts require diligence at first, but the work will lessen as your pet learns.

How to Stop Your Cat from Using your Plant as a Litter Box

If you find that your cat is using your plant as a toilet, you will need to take steps to make their litter box more appealing.

Reevaluate the number of litter boxes in your home. It is recommended that you provide one more litter box than you have cats. (For example: If you have two cats, you should have three bins.) Make sure you place them in a convenient area for your pet. If you live in a multiple story home, ensure that each cat has a bathroom on each level.

Additionally, reevaluate how frequently you clean the litter. It must be done daily for each bin. The litter box’s size is also essential; your cat could feel constrained if the box is too small.

How to Prevent Your Pet from Knocking Over Your Plants

The best option is to make your plants as inaccessible as possible. Falling pots pose a danger to your pets and your plants! To keep your plants in place, put “sticky putty” on the bottom of your planter. It is non-toxic, reusable, and will prevent your plants from being easily knocked over.

With patience and diligence, you can successfully mediate between your pets and your plants, resulting in peaceful coexistence!

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