Do You Know Whether or Not These House Plants Are Safe for Your Furry Friends?

By: Bambi Turner
Image: Shutterstock, Olivia ZZ/Moment/Getty Images, Scott Thistlethwaite/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Succulents are all the rage, but could they lead to a trip to the vet for your pet? Spider plants and snake plants are easy to grow, but what happens if your dog or cat chews on them? Take this quiz to see if you can separate safe houseplants from ones that pose a threat to your furry friends.

Plants pack a powerful punch for something so affordable and easily accessible. They add color and beauty to your space while bringing the outdoors in and allowing you to stay connected with nature. Some improve indoor air quality, while others, like herbs and salad greens, are even edible! 

Yet when it comes time to pick out house plants, some people forget to keep their furry companions in mind. Sure, that plant might be cheap and claim that it's easy to care for, but what happens if your cat or dog likes to chow down on the leaves? That gorgeous flower might not seem too exotic when you're rushing your favorite pet to the vet for an expensive visit. 

Of course, not all plants are potentially hazardous; many are totally safe and non-toxic to common house pets. Think you can tell the difference? Prove it with this quiz!

Also known as malanga or pink cloud, caladium is a member of the Araceae family of plants. Like other members of this family, it contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which are dangerous or deadly to cats and dogs. Ingesting caladium can lead to mouth pain, difficulty swallowing, diarrhea or other ill effects.

African violets are known for their lush green leaves and richly colored purple and yellow blooms. Even better, this gorgeous houseplant poses no danger to cats and dogs.

The tropical hibiscus plant with its giant colorful blooms is mostly safe for pets. The more common varieties, like Chinese hibiscus and Rose Mallow pose no threat, though the Rose of Sharon -- hibiscus syriacus -- can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

Lilies may look innocent, but they are one of the most deadly plants for your feline friends. While both dogs and cats can get sick from eating even a tiny leaf from the lily, the plant is much more dangerous to cats -- and is linked to kidney failure and death.

Spider or ribbon plants are popular with gardeners because they are incredibly easy to grow and propagate. Even better, they help improve indoor air quality and are totally non-toxic for common house pets.

Sometimes called a bamboo palm, the parlor palm is a popular indoor houseplant. It can tolerate many different types of growing conditions, including low light and a less-than-perfect watering schedule. It's also safe for dogs and cats to be around - a real relief for pet owners.

It may look scary when it snaps its leaves shut around insects, but the Venus flytrap is surprisingly safe for cats and dogs. This unique plant uses tiny hairs to detect its prey, and the average house pet is way too strong to be affected by the plant's traps.

Dumbcane, or dieffenbachia, is a tropical plant that's a favorite of ornamental plant lovers. Not only is it naturally beautiful with its large striped and streaked leaves, but it's also easy to grow without a lot of headaches. Unfortunately, this plant is seriously dangerous for both cats and dogs due to the presence of calcium oxalates and other harmful enzymes.

Larkspur may look beautiful thanks to its blue and purple blossoms, but it's not so lovely for pet owners. The alkaloids in larkspur can cause anything from paralysis to seizures in your furry friends.

Also known as porcelain flower, wax plants are known for their small, star-shaped flowers. These richly scented blooms range from white to pink, and the entire plant is non-toxic to pets.

Bamboo is a type of grass known for its reedy stems. One of the fastest growing plants on the planet, this plant will thrive in all kinds of conditions. Even better, it's totally non-toxic to pets.

Despite its name, the sago palm is actually a cycad, not a true palm. While it's easy to care for and has an exotic look, this miniature tree is actually very dangerous for pets and is linked to liver failure and death.

Cast iron, or bar room plants, are known for their ability to grow almost anywhere, even when exposure to sunlight is limited. Though they are part of the lily family, cast iron plants are totally safe for pets.

No, the Boston fern isn't actually from Boston. It's actually native to Central and South America. Known for purifying the air and lending a lush look to any space, this common plant is safe for your favorite furry friends.

Oleander is as beautiful as it is deadly. Just one leaf from this flowering shrub can kill a child, and even a small amount of exposure can seriously harm or even kill a cat or dog.

Bromeliads have a look all their own; pineapples belong to this plant family. This exotic plant looks hard to grow but is surprisingly cooperative for those with less-than-green thumbs. It's also non-toxic and safe for pets to be around.

With its pointy green leaves and rich red berries, American holly is popular in both the garden and in indoor pots. Unfortunately, chewing on its leaves or berries can cause vomiting, depression, and diarrhea in your pets.

Known for its segmented leaves and blooms that appear during the holiday season, Christmas cactus is non-toxic for pets. Despite this, it's best not to let your pets chew on it because the fibrous plant could cause tummy distress.

Foxglove, or digitalis, is known for its alluring bell-shaped flowers, which range from white to purple. Despite its pretty appearance, this plant is seriously dangerous to pets and could contribute to cardiac failure and death.

Money trees, with their carefully braided stems and delicate leaves, are believed to bring good luck with finances. They're also low-maintenance and totally non-toxic for dogs and cats who may attempt to chow down on the plant.

Gardeners prize elephant ear plants because of their big, bold leaves. They're not the best choice for pet owners, however, because the calcium oxide in the plant is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. While the plant is bitter and unpleasant to the palate, it can cause mouth pain, swelling and vomiting if consumed.

Areca palms bring a little piece of the tropics to your home. Also known as cane palms or golden palms, they are safe for pets because they are completely non-toxic.

Part of the Araceae family of plants, philodendron, also known as fiddleleaf or heartleaf, might be easy to grow, but it's bad news for animals. Insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in the plant can cause drooling, pain and even vomiting if pets chew on the leaves.

Air plants, or tillandsia, are ultra popular because they can be displayed almost anywhere. Because they grab the nutrients they need from the air, they don't actually need to be placed in dirt. Even better, the plants are totally harmless for your furry friends.

Friendship plants are so-named because they are easy to propagate and share. Their fuzzy, colorful leaves are simple to maintain and they are non-toxic for common household pets.

Part of the succulent family, jade is often referred to as a lucky plant or money plant. Unfortunately, it's also dangerous for pets. According to the ASPSA, chowing down on this plant can cause depression, poor coordination, and vomiting, though the exact mechanism is unknown.

Marigolds bring a pop of color to brighten up a dreary day, but they aren't so sunny for pets. Ingesting or even coming into contact with these flowers can be dangerous for cats and dogs.

Herbs like basil, thyme, and sage do double-duty in the home. They add a touch of nature and greenery, but can also be harvested when you're preparing a meal. Even better, most common herbs are totally non-toxic to pets.

Aloe has long been seen as a natural form of medicine for skin conditions and burns, but it's best to keep it far away from your pets. The ASPCA warns that chewing on this plant can lead to diarrhea or vomiting in cats and dogs.

Lipstick plants are so-named because their bright flowers bloom out of green tubes on the plant, giving them the appearance of a tube of lipstick. These popular hanging basket fillers with their shiny green leaves are totally safe and non-toxic to dogs and cats alike.

Gardeners praise ZZ plants because they are incredibly low-maintenance and hard to kill. Sadly, this houseplant favorite poses some serious health risks for dogs and cats, so pet owners should avoid it.

Peperomia looks similar to a succulent but is not part of the succulent family. This non-toxic plant is safe for pets, and comes in such visually appealing varieties as watermelon, with striped green and white leaves %0Dand rainbow, with green leaves tinged in yellow and white.

Snake plants, sometimes called mother in law's tongue, is known for being an excellent air purifier while also requiring little maintenance and care. Unfortunately, components called saponins in this plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in your pets.

Tulips contain a chemical known as tulipalin, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and depression in cats and dogs. While all parts of the plant are bad for pets, the bulbs are the worst due to the concentration of these toxins.

If you want a plant that doesn't require much from you, look into succulents. These common houseplants need infrequent watering and will hold up in all kinds of conditions. Even better, they are non-toxic and pose no threat to your pets.

Also known as devil's ivy, pothos contains calcium oxalates. Like other members of the Araceae family of plants, pothos can cause mouth pain, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested by a cat or dog.

Polka dot plants may look dangerous thanks to their pink and brown speckled leaves, but they are surprisingly safe. This attractive and low maintenance houseplant is non-toxic for both dogs and cats.

English ivy, or hedera helix, is a fast growing plant that dresses up any space. Sadly, it can cause vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea in pets and the foliage on this plant is more dangerous than its colorful berries.

Prayer plants, or calathea, are known for their unique leaves, which curl up at night to resemble a pair of praying hands. Popular in hanging baskets or draped across a table or desk, this lovely plant is non-toxic and safe for pet owners to enjoy.

Cyclamen, or sowbread, is a flowering plant that can be deadly to cats and dogs. Ingesting the plant can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, while chowing down on the tubers at the roots can cause seizures and death.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes