Plants are beneficial to the planet and therapeutic to humans. With all the proven benefits of flowers and plants in and around the home, it is no surprise that most people love them.
Sometimes our furry children also love plants, much to the plant’s detriment. For some dogs and cats, plants seem to present an irresistible attraction.
They love these good-smelling, delicious, and easy-to-reach toys placed throughout the house for their enjoyment. Cats love to treat potted plants as their personal, green ornamented litter boxes.
The results can be devastating to a loving plant and pet owner. Plants may die if they are chewed, but the main concern is what the plant can do to the pet.
Fortunately, there are tips and tricks to assist in creating a harmonious home where plants and pets can co-exist.
Avoid Harmful Plants
Most common house plants can cause a mild reaction such as diarrhea, vomiting, or gastrointestinal irritation when consumed. Certain plants can elicit stronger, more severe responses such as mouth irritation, lethargy, liver or kidney damage, and even death.
Read up on the plants in and around your house to ensure that you don’t have a dangerous plant growing. Only select plants and flowers that could be safe for your pet to place in your home.
If you do have a toxic plant, make sure to place it on a shelf or countertop where pets cannot reach it.
Keep Them Apart
The best way to keep your plants and pets separate is to provide your plants with a dedicated space. Keep them in a room with a door that can close or place them high up on shelves and plant stands.
Remember not to leave spaces behind plants on shelves to avoid cats from attempting to squeeze past. Hanging containers also work well.
Most people like plants throughout the house and not just in dedicated spaces, making it harder to protect plants when you’re not at home. Another option is to secure the pet in a safe plant-free space, with everything they need, such as litter, water, and food until you return home.
Remove the Appeal
It’s essential to remove the attraction to plants as a snack by the dog, or a scratching post by the cat. Try a few sprinkles of garlic powder and cayenne pepper on and around the plant to quickly stop them from sniffing around.
Dogs and cats avoid citrus smells, and a spray made of diluted lemon juice or orange essential oil on the foliage may discourage any chewing interest. You can also place orange and lemon peels in the pot with the plant to also provide nutrients.
Placing tipped pine cones or rough stones in the soil around plants will also prevent digging.
Chewing plants and digging in dirt are natural behaviors for dogs and cats. If they have no other options but your houseplants to satisfy their needs, you can’t really blame them.
Provide your cat with alternative options that they’re allowed to use, such as catnip and cat grass planted in indoor pots. Cats also enjoy the fragrance of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. They’ll appreciate and enjoy these much more than house plants.
Give your cat and dog enough toys to keep them occupied, as a bored pet will be looking for something with which to entertain themselves. Make sure that the toys are easily accessible and exciting. Try chewing toys that you can hide treats in to keep them occupied for a longer time. Use rebuke commands and positive reinforcement techniques to train your dog to leave the plants alone.
Sometimes dogs take their frustration or anxiety out on the house plants. If noises or bad weather triggers stress in your dog, make sure to hide your plants when you leave the house. Leave a lot of toys around and the TV or radio on to distract them.
Just like children, a tired pet is a good pet. Pent-up energy has to go somewhere, and sometimes it is the houseplants that bear the brunt of this release.
Give your dog a daily run or two to ensure that they get enough exercise and do not have excess energy to use for plant destruction later. An intense session or two with a feather or tassel toy will tire the kitty out enough not to use the house plants as a playmate later on.
You can restore peace to your home and end the pet vs. plants war for good. There’s no reason why everyone in the house cannot just get along.