Are snake plants toxic to pets? Gardening experts reveal what you need to know about this indoor plant

Are snake plants toxic to pets, or can they coexist safely in the same space? Our pros walk you through it

Three snake plants on a window sill with white curtains and a gold watering can on a sunny day
(Image credit: Getty Images/Grumpy Cow Studios)

If you're a pet parent and asking yourself, "Are snake plants toxic to pets?" we can relate. Simultaneously caring for multiple living things under one roof can present its challenges, and remaining attentive to potentially toxic shrubs is vital.

We've spoken to gardening experts about snake plants, to get the safety low-down you'll need to keep your furry friends safe.

It's one of the best indoor plants for its ease of care, but figure out if Fido will be OK around them with the sage advice of our plant education pros.

Are snake plants toxic to pets?

In short, yes, it's known snake plants are toxic to pets because they contain saponins, which can cause mild-moderate gastrointestinal symptoms in cats, dogs, other animals like rabbits and hamsters (and even humans) if ingested, triggering vomiting and diarrhea. 

"They are safe to touch or sniff, but you'll want to stop your pet from eating them," says Paris Lalicata, a community associate and plant education director at The Sill.

While caring for a snake plant might seem easy since it's so low-maintenance, throwing a nosy animal into the mix might complicate things. However, that doesn't mean you have to pick one or the other. 

Paris Lalicata
Paris Lalicata

Paris is a community associate and plant education director at The Sill, which was founded on the notion that plants make us happier, healthier humans. The self-taught expert has over 200 plants in her own collection, so she's the perfect go-to for those who need assistance with their plants. 

What to do

While you don't have to nix an indoor garden with snake plants if you have a pup or cat in tow, you do have to be mindful about placement. 

"Normally, if you're unsure how kids or pets will act around plants, it's ideal to keep them out of reach," Paris says. "It's also recommended to at least try introducing the plants to them to gauge their reaction."

From high vertical spaces, be it shelves or dressers, to rooms that are off-limits to furry friends, Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal, suggests using these locales for your greenery. Even still, keep an eye out. 

"Be vigilant about fallen leaves or debris from the plant, as these can still be harmful if ingested by pets," he says. 

And whenever you decide to stock up your collection, Jen McDonald, plant expert and founder of Garden Girls, wants you to consider the worst-case scenario. 

"It’s best to assume all houseplants are toxic to pets and situate them accordingly," she says. "Snake plants should be kept at a tabletop or counter height to avoid accidental ingestion."

Gene Caballero
Gene Caballero

Gene Caballero is co-founder of Green Pal, a platform connecting customers to lawn care experts in their area throughout the United States. 

Jen McDonald
Jen McDonald

Jen is a garden expert and the co-founder of Garden Girls, based in Texas. She specializes in raised bed garden design and installation, and she is certified with the NPSOT, Native Pollinator Society of Texas, and as an Organic Garden Vegetable Specialist.

What to shop instead

Although snake plants are gorgeous and easy to care for, you might want to instead opt for a pet-friendly houseplant for peace of mind. It might take a little more watering or repotting, but you can rest easy knowing your furry friend is safe.

Curious what leafy greens are trending right now? 1-800-Flowers has revealed the Plant of the Year and the Flower of the Year for 2024, and you're going to swoon over the selections.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.