If you’re a pet owner and plant enthusiast, you may be wondering if the Boston Fern is a safe choice for your furry friends. With its lush green fronds and air-purifying properties, this popular indoor plant is a staple in many households. However, it’s essential to understand whether it poses any risks to your pets, particularly dogs who have a habit of chewing on anything they can get their paws on. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Boston Fern and its toxicity levels to help you make an informed decision about whether to bring one into your home.
Is Boston Fern Poisonous to Dogs?
Boston Ferns, scientifically known as Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis, are generally considered safe for dogs. These plants are classified as non-toxic to both cats and dogs by the ASPCA.
Although not poisonous, it is still advisable to prevent your pets from nibbling on the ferns. Excessive consumption of the plant may lead to digestive issues in dogs. Among the different types of ferns, the following are also known to be non-toxic to dogs:
- Sword fern
- Button fern
- Mother fern
- Carrot fern
- Staghorn fern
- Rabbit’s foot fern
Therefore, Boston Ferns and a few other varieties pose minimal risk to dogs, making them suitable plants to grow in pet-friendly homes. However, always monitor your pet’s interactions with plants to ensure their safety and well-being.
Potential Risks and Symptoms
Boston Ferns, unlike some other ferns, are not toxic to dogs. However, if dogs consume large quantities, it can still pose risks and cause certain symptoms.
If a dog consumes Boston Ferns in moderate amounts, they may experience mild symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or drooling. These symptoms are the body’s response to the dog’s digestive system trying to process the plant fibers, which dogs are not adapted to digesting in large amounts.
When a dog consumes large quantities of Boston Fern over an extended period, the symptoms may become more severe. Prolonged exposure and consumption can lead to indigestion and skin irritation. In such cases, consulting a veterinarian should be a priority to alleviate the dog’s discomfort and prevent potential complications.
First Aid and Treatment
If your dog has come into contact with a Boston fern and is displaying symptoms of discomfort or irritation, there are steps you can take to provide relief. First, if you suspect that your dog has ingested a part of the fern or come in contact with its sapogenins, it is important to thoroughly rinse their mouth and wash any exposed skin[source].
Once this initial step has been taken, it’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian in order to determine any additional treatment options that might be necessary. Although Boston ferns are considered non-toxic to pets like dogs, consuming large amounts of the plant can still cause digestion problems[source]. Your veterinarian will be able to provide guidance on how to proceed with care and ensure your pet’s safety and well-being.
Preventing Exposure to Toxic Plants
Protecting dogs from potential toxins, such as poisonous plants, is a crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership. In this section, strategies for creating a safe environment and training your dog to avoid toxic plants will be discussed.
Create a Safe Environment
One of the easiest ways to prevent exposure to toxic plants is to carefully choose any plants and flowers placed in and around the home. Ensure that these are safe for dogs, like the Boston Fern, to reduce the risk of ingestion or contact with harmful substances. If unsure about a plant’s compatibility with pets, research or consult your veterinarian to verify its safety. Regularly clean up any plant materials, such as fallen leaves, to limit the chances of accidental ingestion.
Training Your Dog
Training dogs to avoid harmful plant life can be an effective way of reducing the threat posed by poisonous plants. Teach them simple obedience commands, such as “leave it” or “drop it,” to prevent them from picking up or consuming dangerous plants when encountered. Teaching your dog to walk on a leash and employing gentle redirection techniques can further deter them from interacting with toxic plants outdoors.
Safe Alternatives for Indoor Plants
For pet owners looking to incorporate indoor plants into their homes, there are various plants that serve as safe alternatives to Boston ferns for dogs. The African Violet (Saintpaulia), with its fuzzy green leaves and year-round flowers, is a beautiful and non-toxic choice for both cats and dogs. The vibrant colors of the flowers add to the aesthetic appeal of the plant.
Apart from African Violets, other non-toxic ferns that can be grown indoors include Sword fern, Button fern, Mother fern, Carrot fern, Staghorn fern, Rabbit’s foot fern, and Bird’s nest fern (source). Bamboo Palm is another safe plant that not only adds greenery to the indoor space but also purifies the air.
When selecting indoor plants, pet owners should always research the plants’ potential toxicity to ensure the safety and well-being of their furry companions. Choosing beautiful and harmless plants, such as those mentioned above, will create a welcoming and safe environment for pets and their owners.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.