Are Ferns Toxic To Dogs? How To Identify The Toxic Types

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Mar 08, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 14, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Forest path full of ferns.

If you're fond of houseplants, you'll definitely know that ferns are one of the common species kept by people.

The delicate fronds of a Boston fern plant look extremely beautiful, and the best thing is its fast-growing nature. We have been able to identify around 20,000 species of ferns, but only a handful make it to our home.

As more people jump on the bandwagon of being plant parents, it's also necessary to think about the other members of your family. This includes the dogs and cats who need to be in a safe environment.

And, if you have dogs, you'll know that they are always curious about things, and it can lead them to taste any of the plants strewn around your house.

Hence, it's extremely important to learn about plants that are non-toxic to dogs. So, to continue on the topic of ferns, keep reading to find out if at all these gorgeous plants can be kept in your home or garden.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about, 'Are cats supposed to eat catnip?' and 'Are carnations toxic to cats?' here on Kidadl?

Are all ferns toxic to dogs?

No, all ferns aren't toxic to dogs. In fact, true ferns like the Boston fern are quite safe for your dog.

However, if your dog ingests a lot of fronds from the plant, then it may lead to vomiting. Hence, if you have ferns at your home, make sure to keep an eye on your pets so that they don't accidentally ingest the plant.

Most of the true ferns, which include species like the sword fern, button fern, mother fern, carrot fern, staghorn fern, rabbit’s foot fern, and bird’s nest fern, are completely safe for your dogs and cats. So, when you are out shopping for plants, always make sure to ask the salesperson for the current identification of a species.

The only fern variant that is thought to be toxic for dogs is the asparagus fern.

Moreover, it isn't even a true fern, but it's named so because its leaves resemble that of fern plants. And, you can recognize an asparagus fern by its inability to produce spores like a true fern.

As we have said, that all ferns aren't toxic or dangerous to pets, you don't need to worry if outdoor ferns are safe for dogs. However, if you decide to have ferns in your garden or inside your house, just make sure that your pet may not reach these plants.

An easy way to ensure this is by getting hanging baskets, and ferns do like to swing, so it can actually give you really good-looking plants while keeping your dog safe and healthy.

Types OF Ferns That Are Toxic To Dogs

Plants that aren't true fern are mainly toxic or dangerous to dogs and cats. One of the common variants found in our homes is the fern asparagus, commonly known by the names of lace fern, sprengeri fern, plumosa fern, or emerald feather fern.

It's really a climbing plant belonging to the genus Asparagus.

We often bring it into our home, thinking that it's some kind of a fern, but it can be highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Vomiting is usually the first symptom in a pet that has recently ingested a poisonous plant.

If you have unknowingly brought the asparagus fern into your home, make sure to either give it to someone else who doesn't have a pet or keep it in a place that your pets won't be able to reach. Not just the leaves, even the fruits of this plant are considered poisonous for dogs and cats.

Moreover, if ingested, the plant can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, drooling, and stomach pain.

Your pet may even have swelling on their tongue, ear, or paws as a symptom of touching the plant.

Take your dog to their vet as soon as possible, and make sure to have a picture of the plant to show to the vet. Even the vet may induce vomiting to get rid of the toxins ingested by your dog through the plant.

Types Of Fern That Are Not Toxic To Dogs

There are a lot of ferns that are non-toxic to dogs. And, most of the plants belong to the true fern category.

If you want to keep fern as houseplants, look for variants like the Boston fern, staghorn fern, maidenhair fern, bird’s nest fern, and many other non-toxic variants. Other than ferns, you can also think about getting plants that wouldn't cause any problem to your dog or cat.

These include plants like the tillandsia, wheatgrass, ponytail palm, and succulents like echeveria at your home.

Having said that, always make sure to keep an eye on your pet dog or cat so that they cannot munch on the plants. And, if your dog accidentally ends up doing that, and has signs like vomiting or diarrhea, make sure to take them to a vet as early as possible.

Are ferns good to have in a home with a dog around?

If you are able to get hold of true ferns, like the Boston fern or the staghorn fern, then your pet dog won't come across any problems as these ferns are pet-friendly.

And, you can always find out different ways of keeping the plant or tree in such a way that your dog or cat won't be able to reach it.

People who are really fond of ferns can get hanging choir baskets and repot their favorite ferns into it. This trick can also work for planting a philodendron plant, aloe, or a dieffenbachia to keep your dog safe.

And, if you're unsure about if a plant is safe for your dog or not, always cross-check with a vet or the salesperson present at a plant shop.

Moreover, apart from the obvious emerald fern, there are some other toxic, toxic plants that should be kept out of reach from your pet.

These include the infamous jade tree or jade plant, also known as the baby jade or Crassula ovata. Even those philodendron or pothos plants don't appear to be dangerous; these houseplants are, in fact, poisonous.

Also, steer clear of the mother-in-law's tongue or dracaena, dieffenbachia or the tropic snow plants, silk pothos, caladium, Japanese rubber plant, dwarf rubber plant, aloe vera, peace lily, mauna loa, or any other kind of lily.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for, 'Are ferns toxic to dogs?', then why not take a look at, 'Are begonias poisonous to dogs?', or 'Are azaleas poisonous to dogs?'

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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