Pet Friendly Plants for Cats & Dogs Herb Varieties Edition

There are many lists on the internet claiming that certain plants are safe for cats and dogs that are simply incorrect. A quick search on the ASPCA website reveals this unfortunate trend in seconds and can also be useful if you’re questioning a potential selection of your own. If on the other hand you’ve got nothing in mind, but are interested in acquiring some new greenery, this list of lovely foliage may help you to find the perfect pet-friendly plant for your home.

Pet Safe Plants - Herbs

Keep in Mind: While the plants listed here should be safer for your dog or cat to be around, it’s still not advisable to allow your pets to munch on any of them as it could lead to trouble (upset stomach, vomiting, etc). It’s always a good idea to monitor how your pets interact with any plant and if you notice any bothersome tendencies to perhaps rethink your plant-placement. Small cages, like those for birds, (which can also be highly decorative!) are one attractive way to prevent pets from unwanted munching. Another option might be to choose a location which will be difficult or impossible for your pets to access. Considering alternatives like these can help if your four-legged housemate gets a little too curious about your greenery and may prevent the upset tummies that tend to follow the gobbling of unauthorized flora.

The following species are deemed safer for cats and dogs according to numerous sources including the ASPCA. This simply means that the plants are listed as non-toxic to cats and dogs but this does not guarantee that your pet will not have a negative reaction to the plant, especially if accidentally ingested. If you suspect that your pet has consumed anything potentially harmful please immediately contact your veterinarian, or emergency services, for assistance.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

(Ocimum basilicum)

A warm environment with some decent sun and ample drainage makes a good recipe for caring for this useful herb. In addition to having fresh basil on hand for cooking another excellent quality of the plant is that mosquitoes tend to steer clear of its earthy aroma.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

(Coriandrum sativum)

Reputed for being a bit finicky to grow, this tasty herb prefers indirect light and medium to even mildly cool temperatures. Essentially not a fan of heat, cilantro grows best from seeds which can be gathered and saved from each new plant. A good thing, because you’ll want to harvest and replant quickly to keep a steady supply as the flavor changes rapidly once it’s ready to harvest.

Lemon Balm  (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon Balm
(Melissa officinalis)

A great little member of the mint family, these plants will tolerate shade, though they like full sun, require medium hydration amounts, and will grow back outdoors after chilly winters. Like most mints they will try to take over your garden, so plant with care. They are reputed for giving off a lemony scent and as an added bonus can help repel mosquitoes who don’t care for their aroma one bit!

Rosemary  (Rosmarinus officinalis)

(Rosmarinus officinalis)

Another herb that can help keep mosquitoes at bay, rosemary does best in dryer soil (sandy) though it can tolerate some decent humidity in the air. If you live in an area that freezes over your outdoor plants will need to come inside until the weather warms again. Another wonderful perk of rosemary, especially for those of us with fuzzy housemate, is that flees aren’t none too fond of getting near this tasty herb!

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

(Salvia officinalis)

For the most flavorful leaves you’ll want to let this herb get lots of sunlight. It’s not prone to pest problems and it’s pretty easy to grow. Unlike many other herbs, sage retains its flavor even after flowering and is most easily cultivated from cuttings.

Dill  (Anethum graveolena)

(Anethum graveolena)

As an annual (or possibly biennial – there’s some argument over that) the dill plant is another herb you might want to keep seeds on hand for if you’re hoping to have a steady supply. These bushy additions aren’t too fussy about care and can be harvested anytime after sprouting. In fact, regular plucking encourages the plant to keep producing and stay healthy.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

(Thymus vulgaris)

As another sun loving plant, you’ll want to make sure this herb has plenty of light access, especially if you’re growing it indoors. Otherwise, care tends to be fairly easy. It’s a perennial so as long as it stays healthy you can look forward to a regular supply. Like many herbs it can be difficult to grow from seed so if you’re hands aren’t sporting any green thumbs you might want to consider purchasing a cutting or two instead.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

*Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is another member of the mint family that is often listed as pet safe, but we have not added it to our list because it’s technically classified as toxic to cats. Primarily the concern seems to be focused on oral ingestion, not the classic inhaling through the fabric of a container (usually a toy) so while limited doses are often deemed acceptable in this form, growing a live plant that is in reach of your pets (and in the path of being gobbled up) could prove extremely dangerous.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

*Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): We have sage, rosemary, and thyme…but not parsley? Unfortunately this well known herb just doesn’t make the cut. If you grow it in or around your home you’ll want to be extra careful as it’s toxic to both cats and dogs. With reports of causing severe seizures in canines and numerous other issues in both dogs and cats (even death) this is not a plant you want any of your fuzzies sniffing around.

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