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Are Orchids Safe or Toxic to Pets?

If you have a new pet in the house or you’ve bought an orchid to a home with a few pets, you might be worried if orchids are toxic to them.

Many plants can cause toxicity to cats or dogs, so it’s best to do a little research before you bring any new plants into your home, especially if your pets are still the curious nibbling kind.

Below, I discuss why you shouldn’t worry too much if you catch your dog or cat taking a bite out of your orchid plant.

Are Orchids Safe to Cats and Dogs?

According to the ASPCA website Phalaenopsis orchids are non-toxic to cats, dogs and horses. So, that’s reassuring. As far as keeping phalaenopsis orchids around cats and dogs, you’re in the clear.

But what about other orchids?

Since there are over 20,000 orchid species and as many as 5 times more hybrids, it’s hard to say that absolutely all orchids are safe for your furry friends. Still, most orchids that are commercially available are deemed as houseplants safe for both cats and dogs.

That said, don’t encourage your cat or dog to play with any of your orchids. In fact, make sure you discourage any nibbling on any houseplants.

Although most houseplants will only cause an upset tummy, if ingested, it’s best to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Orchids can also be treated with various pesticides or herbicides, both of which can be dangerous to your pets.

Another reason to discourage your pets to nibble on orchids is the potential damage they can cause to the plant. Broken air roots, damaged leaves can add up and the wound site on your orchid can be a vector for transmitting disease.

Are Orchid Flowers Poisonous to Pets?

Orchid blooms aren’t poisonous either, but the same general recommendation to keep your pets away from houseplants apply to orchids as well.

Unlike dogs who might get away with eating a bit of greenery, cats are more likely to show signs of gastrointestinal upset from ingesting leaves or blooms given that they are hardened carnivores and their digestive tract isn’t accustomed to plants.

That said, your cat will probably be fine even if they end up ingesting orchid blooms. Still, make sure to keep an eye on any odd symptoms they may develop and contact your vet if she’s vomiting or having diarrhea.

Can Rabbits Eat Orchid Leaves?

Having orchids in the same house with rabbits can spell trouble for your orchids. And not just orchids, but any houseplant.

If you catch your rabbit in the act of eating your orchid, don’t panic, but do take your orchid away before your rabbit finishes it off completely.

Wild rabbits will eat orchids without problems, but indoor orchids may be treated with pesticides and herbicides, so that can be a problem to their health.

Make sure to monitor your rabbit for any signs of distress and contact your emergency vet in case issues appear.

Make sure to keep any houseplants away from your rabbits because they can and will inevitably munch on them all.

Can Orchids Cause Allergy to Pets?

Plants and flowers can cause allergies either because of pollen or because of their sap. Luckily, the pollen in orchids is not the kind to trigger an allergic reaction in humans or in pets.

Some people, and by extension, some pets can be allergic to the sap of orchids. Contact with the sap can cause redness, soreness, and itching at the contact site. This, however, is a rare occurrence.

What’s more likely to cause an allergic reaction in your pets are any chemicals you may have used to treat your orchid against pests or fungi.

Therefore, even if the orchid is otherwise not going to cause allergic reactions, the chemicals you’ve recently used on the plant can trigger an allergic reaction.

It’s best to use pet-safe products on your houseplants or keep your plants somewhere where your pets can’t reach them.

What to do If Your Pet Eats an Orchid?

As I’ve mentioned before, orchids are considered generally safe to your pets. If you notice your pet eating your orchid, make sure to discourage your pet from eating the plant.

You should also monitor your pet for any unusual signs that can be related to eating your orchid including excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy.

Contact your vet if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms. The orchid itself may not cause these issues, but chemicals or fertilizers used in the potting medium can be linked to these symptoms.

Is Orchid Cactus Safe to Pets?

Also known as the Fishbone cactus, the Orchid cactus is also safe for cats and dogs. The oddly shaped leaves and stem of the plant and especially that it’s usually grown in a hanging basket can make it an appealing toy to cats.

The same precautions I discussed about trace amounts of potential chemicals present on the orchid cactus apply here too.

Even if you haven’t treated your orchid cactus with any chemicals, don’t allow your pets to play with it all the same to prevent damage to the plant.

Cuts and bruises on orchid cactus or your other houseplants can spell trouble for some plants and can introduce bacteria and viruses to them that the plant may be unable to fight.

Conclusion

While it’s definitely reassuring that orchids are not toxic to pets, there are benefits to teaching your pets not to engage in playtime with houseplants of any kind.

Pets can’t distinguish between safe and unsafe plants and allowing them to play with pet-safe plants will make it difficult to keep them away from plants that are harmful to them.

Therefore, make it a point to keep them away from all houseplants, including orchids. And, if possible, don’t keep plants around that may be harmful to your pets.

A visit to the ASPCA website can help you determine if certain plants are pet-safe or not. Consult the ASPCA list before bringing home any new plants.

Updated: November 23, 2020

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