Pet-Friendly Flowering Plants & Houseplants: Avoid Planting Sago Palms & Lilies

Feb 20, 2024

Calling all avid gardeners who are also pet owners! Before you introduce any new plants to your garden, make sure you check out Better Living Magazine’s guides to make sure they’re safe for your furry friends!

Spring is on the horizon, and you’re preparing yourself for another productive season in your garden. But before you start digging up all your garden beds, there are some things you should keep in mind, especially if you’re a pet owner! Many plants are surprisingly toxic to dogs and cats, but most people are none-the-wiser. That’s why pet poisoning cases related to plant ingestion are on the rise everywhere. It’s also why Better Living Magazine has put together some guides to help you cultivate a flourishing garden while keeping the furry members of your family safe! There’s no need to curb your plant addiction; you can have the best of both worlds.

Learn about pet-safe gardening at 

The Hidden Dangers of Plant Toxicity

With the imminent change of seasons, commercial growers are ramping up their production lines to deliver their carefully cultivated houseplants and garden plants to store shelves. While they may look appealing in all of their bright colors and beautiful foliage, Better Living Magazine urges you to carefully research plant species before introducing them to your home, as many common indoor and outdoor plants are toxic to dogs and cats. 

Their guide lists rhododendron and oleander as examples, which can cause gastrointestinal issues and heart disease, respectively. Ingestion of other popular plants can also have lethal consequences for pets: cats who make contact with lilies, for instance, are at risk for fatal kidney failure, while consumption of even a small number of sago palm seeds often results in severe liver failure for dogs.

Prevention is the Best Cure

To ensure that your pets remain safe, Better Living Magazine recommends that you use raised beds, hanging baskets, and fencing to deter them from accessing planted areas. 

You should also avoid commercial pesticides, bone meal fertilizers, or weed killers with glyphosate, as these substances are harmful to cats and dogs. 

As an extra precaution, you can also opt for hardy, non-toxic species such as zinnias, petunias, and snapdragons when planning for the growing season, the guide recommends. These flowers not only look pretty, but they can handle the occasional trampling. And if your pet happens to take a nibble, no one will suffer! Well, except for the plant.

Curiosity Doesn’t Have to Kill the Cat

Of course, you can’t have eyes everywhere, and the worst can still happen in spite of your best efforts. In the event that you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, Better Living Magazine says that you should immediately remove any remaining harmful materials from the animal’s mouth, use water to dilute the substance, and call your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline for guidance. 

Pets that show further signs of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, will require prompt medical care from a professional. The faster you act, the more likely it is that your pet will have a better outcome, even if they’ve consumed a poisonous plant.

But if you want to avoid such a terrifying scenario in the first place, you should definitely look into some non-toxic plant species for your home and garden. Luckily, Better Living Magazine has a list of pet-safe plants at

Creating a Safe Space

As an additional preventative measure, you can create designated outdoor play and resting areas for dogs to divert their attention from garden beds. As for cats, well… Any cat owner would tell you that it’s impossible to tell a cat what to do. But you could consider growing a garden full of catnip to keep them happy!

Better Living Magazine’s other guides offer tips on how you can design safe and engaging outdoor spaces for your pets, reflecting their goal of providing readers and their families with advice on healthier living. After all, your beloved pets are also a part of your family, so it only follows that you’ll want the best for them! So, without further ado, if you want to read more about how you can live healthily and help your pets do the same, definitely check out Better Living Magazine’s other guides!

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