One of my readers asked me recently whether orchids were toxic to pets. It is an interesting question. Most of us will have at least one orchid, and maybe one or two pets as well, so it is useful to know the answer to this question.
From my own experience, growing orchids and owning a small (slightly princess-y) female cat, has never caused problems. My cat is simply not interested in my orchids. The most interest she has shown was a quick sniff of the leaves about three years ago. However, that doesn’t mean to say that other pet owners will have the same experience. A friend of mine told me that her cat happily eats part of the leaves of her plants, but does not appear to be affected all that much.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) have identified what plants are toxic to cats and dogs. You will see from the link that the list is quite extensive. Some sources suggest that your pet may experience vomiting or diarrhoea after ingesting part of an orchid. If you have any concerns, my first suggestion would be to speak to your vet. They should be able to advise you on this, but I would exercise a little caution with houseplants and your pet. Try and put your plants out of reach of pets to limit their access.
Whilst it appears that the orchid itself may not be toxic to pets, there are instances where it could be. Like most plants, orchids can be susceptible to pests which may require treatment to remove them. The chemicals that you apply to remove the pests may be toxic to pets. It is always best to keep these chemicals, and your orchids, out of reach from your pet. However, if any chemicals are ingested contact your vet immediately.
Thanks to my reader for posing this question. If I find any more specific information, I’ll add another post. Hopefully, this was useful and will help you decide whether to purchase your first orchid, or add to a small collection.