Are orchids safe for dogs

Dog ownership entails thorough decision-making, even in husbandry.

And whether you’re a newbie in the green revolution or not, beauty isn’t the only factor to consider in your garden.

That’s because nature’s bounty can be toxic, too.

So, are orchids safe for dogs?

Well, this must be your lucky day because according to Dr. Joanna Woodnutt:

Thankfully, most orchids are not harmful to dogs.

Take note, however, that “there may be some problems” that orchid ingestion can cause in your pups.

Still, it pays to be vigilant when gardening or choosing the right plant variety.

So to help you get started or clarify some things, this blog tackles the following:

  • 11 pup-friendly orchid varieties
  • The orchid type that you should beware of
  • Four vital factors to consider in growing orchid plants
  • What to do when your pups accidentally eat orchids

Let’s start shoveling, shall we?

are orchids poisonous to dogs

Are Orchids Poisonous to Dogs?

Orchids are not generally known to be poisonous to dogs, especially the Oncidium and Phalaenopsis (or Moth Orchid) varieties. 

However, orchids are known to be of 30,000 varieties.

So, being extra careful is still a must.

Are Orchids Safe for Dogs: 11 Pup-Friendly Varieties

1. Brazilian Orchid

Known as the Queen of Orchids, the Brazilian Orchid is found in seasonally dry and cooler interior regions to high elevations in cloud forests.

This tropical epiphyte (a plant that grows on another plant) can be a little tricky to grow at home.

That’s because this plant typically grows on trees and gets its nutrients from the air, water, and decaying plant matter on branches.

Some important factors to consider when growing Brazilian Orchids also include the following:

  • High humidity
  • Special quick-draining soil
  • Jungle-based temperatures
  • Specialized light requirements

When cultivated properly, these dog-friendly Brazilian Orchids can have every color except true blue and black.

Trivia: Brazilian Orchid is also known as Cattleya, which was taken from an English 19th-century plant collector, William Cattley, from Barnet in London.

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2. California Pitcher Plant

Inhabiting the coastal wet spongy grounds and mountain streams of the west coast of South Oregon to California, this dog-friendly orchid is a total badass.

What’s the catch?

The California Pitcher plant traps and digests insects as a nutrient source, thanks to its large tubular leaves.

This orchid variety’s nectar and water attract insects and other small organisms.

And once they get in the plant’s hood, numerous down-pointing hairs will keep insects from escaping.

This insect-trapping ability of the California Pitcher plants earned them the following names:

  • Cobra Lily
  • Cobra Plant
  • Cobra Orchid
  • Chrysamphora

Trivia: The California Pitcher plant was discovered in 1841 on the Wilkes Expedition by botanist W. D. Brackenridge on the Sacramento River, south of Shasta Peak.

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3. Crimson Cattleya

Native to the northeastern area of Brazil, in the states of Pernambuco and Alagoas, the Crimson Cattleya is another dog-friendly orchid on our list today.

This tropical epiphyte orchid can grow to different sizes depending on the area they inhabit.

In Pernambuco, Crimson Cattleya often grows to smaller, lilac-colored flowers.

Meanwhile, this canine-safe orchid can grow bigger with mostly white blooms in the Alagoas area. 

Just like the Brazilian Orchid, Crimson Cattleya varieties also rely on trees and branches where the plant’s rhizomes (creeping rootstalk) wrap for stability.

Cultivating this orchid might be tricky for some, but Crimson Cattleya plants are among the easiest to grow.

Trivia: A dark Crimson Cattleya leaf indicates insufficient sunlight.

Also known as Ruby-lipped Cattleya, this plant grows best in bright, indirect light; a lime green leaf often tells it’s healthy.

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4. Christmas Orchid

Known as the national flower of Columbia, the Christmas Orchid symbolizes the country’s flag.

Bearing the yellow, blue, and red colors on the flower’s lip, this beauty resembles the Columbia flag’s primary colors.

Trivia: The Christmas Orchid was named after the 19th-century Colombian botanist Jose Jeronimo Triana.

This Columbia native boasts a lavender-white flower with tender, light green leaves, earning the following names:

  • May Flower
  • Flor de Mayo
  • Winter Cattleya

Unfortunately, this dog-friendly orchid variety is considered to be endangered due to the destruction of its habitat.

So, if you ever find a Christmas Orchid and wish to grow one, you’ll need the following information:

  • Prefers higher humidity levels
  • Grows best in bright, indirect light
  • Needs watering once a week upon maturity
  • Tolerates temperatures between 60 and 90°F
  • Requires a potting soil of open rooting compost (i.e., coarse redwood or fir bark, epiphytic orchid mix)

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5. Cirrhopetalum

Also known as Old World Orchid and Stinking Bulbophyllum, this dog-friendly orchid variety is a home-grown beauty from the Himalayan mountains.

It can also be found in some parts of the following Asian countries:

  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Myanmar

Trivia: The Cirrhopetalum Orchid is called Stinking Bulbophyllum because of its flower’s unpleasant fragrance.

But not strong enough except at a closer distance, though.

So, if this dashing beauty interests your green senses, then you better take note of the following information:

  • Needs high humidity
  • Requires good drainage
  • Thrives in indirect lighting
  • Must have proper air circulation
  • Requires 3-5 waterings per week
  • Grows in temperatures ranging from 58 to 88°F

RELATED: The Ultimate List of Toxic and Safe Plants, Seeds for Dogs

6. Cocktail Orchid

Native to Rio de Janeiro to Santa Catarina in Brazil, the Cocktail Orchid is popular for its large fragrant flowers.

Collected and popularized in the 1800s, this dog-friendly orchid variety is now included in the CITES Appendix II.

That means every Cocktail Orchid merchandise must be produced in greenhouses.

Growing this Brazilian beauty is similar to cultivating other orchid varieties mentioned above.

So, if you’re a pup-lover and a green activist at the same time, going for this plant is one of the safest options.

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7. Dancing Doll Orchid

Also known as Dancing Ladies Orchid and Golden Shower, the Dancing Doll variety is native to Brazil and Argentina.

Commonly found in coastal mountains and along inland creeks, this dog-friendly orchid variety can grow on trees and on the ground.

Note: One of the main causes of withering Dancing Doll Orchids is too moist conditions and poor soil drainage.

The plant is also best known for its variety of color combos,  such as the following:

  • Gold and yellow
  • Brown and copper
  • Purple and lavender

So, if you’re a hardcore plant parent, you can definitely add this variety indoors or in your garden.

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8. Fiery Reed Orchid

Popular for its perennial or long-lasting life span, the Fiery Reed Orchid is another dog-friendly variety that can enhance your garden.

Native to South America, this orchid is considered to be a lithophyte or a plant that can grow in or on rocks.

Besides this classification, the Fiery Reed Orchid can also grow on a fast-draining soil mix.

And with its striking color combos, this orchid variety goes by different names, such as the following:

  • Spice Orchid
  • Crucifix Orchid
  • Reed-stem Orchid

Perfect for your patios, the Fiery Reed Orchid can grow up to 35 inches long with leathery strap leaves and dense flowers with the following color mixes:

  • Pink
  • White
  • Orange
  • Red and Burgundy

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9. Florida Butterfly Orchid

Native to Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas, this dog-friendly orchid variety commonly grows on trees along waterways, swamps, and forests.

This plant’s name is inspired by the movements of a butterfly that its flowers resemble when the wind blows.

Trivia: Florida Butterfly Orchid can grow up to 45 fragrant flowers in its axils.

The plant’s axils are the upper angle between a leaf stalk or branch.

It can also be found on the stem or trunk from which it grows.

And if you’re a plant lover, you’ll definitely adore the Florida Butterfly Orchid’s flowers in various color combos, such as:

  • White
  • Green
  • Gold and yellow
  • Brown and copper
  • Purple and lavender

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10. Ghost Leafless Orchid

Turns out, this dog-friendly orchid variety isn’t really that scary.

Despite its chilling name, the Ghost Leafless Orchid is another epiphyte variety that typically grows in moist and dense areas.

Native to Florida and Cuba, this orchid boasts a showy white flower that resembles a ghost we often see in movies.

Yup, those covered in a white blanket.

Typically leafless, this orchid variety sources its nutrients from its roots which can also do what leaves can — to photosynthesize.

This stunning orchid type is, however, considered to be endangered in Florida.

Trivia:  The species name Lindenii is coined by Belgian plant collector Jean Jules Linden, who discovered this orchid for the first time in Cuba in 1844.

As the Ghost Leafless Orchid’s prominent feature, its flowers emerge by 1 or 2 at a time.

Paired with its fragrant smell at night, the orchid’s roots camouflage very well with its surroundings making the flower look like it's floating.

Like a ghost!

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11. Leopard Orchid

Native to Australia, the Leopard Orchid is another long-lasting variety that is popular with its long, cane-like pseudobulbs (enlarged, aboveground portion of the stem).

With its showy and unique flower patterns, this dog-friendly orchid variety goes by different names, such as:

  • Tiger Orchid
  • Yellow Cane Orchid
  • Blotched Cane Orchid

Trivia: The Leopard Orchid’s 6-inch stem can bloom up to 30 beautiful flowers.

So, if you like to enhance a space at home, you can definitely add this variety to your options.

Ideally, in a west or south-facing window.

Just like most varieties, growing a Leopard Orchid comes in a lot of details like the following:

  • Requires good soil drainage
  • Needs consistently moist soil
  • Grows best in bright, indirect light
  • Prefers high humidity, around 60%
  • Must be planted in the smallest pot

For optimal growth, you can try cultivating Leopard Orchids in a bark-based medium containing horticultural charcoal.

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are orchids toxic to dogs

Are Orchids Safe for Dogs: 4 Vital Factors to Consider

1. Fertilizers

It might sound ridiculous, but dogs can get a little extra sometimes and eat fertilizers, as Dr. Joanna Woodnutt affirms:

I’ve seen some nasty stomach upsets after dogs have chewed or eaten these kinds of things…

Warning: Dog parents should avoid fertilizers containing the following:

  • Pesticides
  • Fungicides
  • Insecticides

Some fertilizers also have features that bait or lure insects (i.e., snails, slugs) into eating them.

While these little slimy fellas get attracted to the chemical, so might your dogs, too.

So, be careful when handling these things at home as fertilizers can contain the deadliest chemicals for animals, which are:

RELATED: 5 Toxic Substances Frequently Found in Pet Foods and Pet Products

2. Potting Mixes

Potting mixes are basically soil with added organic materials.

Orchid potting mixes are usually safe, but the redwood component can cause skin rashes in dogs and humans.

The dusty particles in orchid potting mixes can trigger respiratory problems in dogs, too.

You might have heard of houseplant potting mixes; you should avoid them as well.

That’s because houseplant potting mixes contain fungi and bacteria that can harm you or your pet’s lungs.

On the other hand, potting mixes that are safe for your dogs are those that include the following:

  • Fir bark
  • Tree fern
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite (Styrofoam)

Note: Perlite can be a potential choking hazard for your dogs. So, be careful.

3. Tinted Orchids

Another factor to look out for is tinted orchids or Blue Orchids that you can typically find in a supermarket.

Definitely eye-catching, but these orchid varieties are not natural.

Also known as dyed Phalaenopsis orchids, the blue flower color is due to the artificial coloring that was injected into the plant.

When your dogs eat Blue Orchids, it can harm your pup’s health, according to a study:

At least four dyes (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) cause hypersensitivity reactions.

The same study found that even the “US-approved dyes raise health concerns of varying degrees.”

Note: Blue Orchids with partially opened buds can look light blue, while fully-bloomed ones appear much darker.

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4. Hybrid Orchids

According to research, there are roughly 120,000 hybrid orchids around the world.

While orchids are considered to be dog-friendly, it still pays to be vigilant, as most hybrids today are artificially made.

toxic orchid variety lady slipper

Are Orchids Safe for Dogs: Beware of This Variety

Orchids may be generally known to be pet-friendly plants.

But sometimes, a sibling can mess up really badly, too.

So pup guardians, pay attention and be vigilant with the Lady Slipper variety.

When ingested by your dogs, this orchid can cause allergies or rashes, even in humans and other animals. 

Warning: The Lady Slipper Orchid can have harmful effects on animals like the Poison Ivy plant

Dogs eating this orchid variety can have itchy red skin on their face or sore areas inside their mouth.

Signs of Lady Slipper Orchid poisoning can include any of the following:

For suspicion of orchid poisoning, call your vet immediately.

Are Orchids Safe for Dogs: What to Do When Pups Eat One

In unfortunate cases when your dogs eat orchids, take note of the following instructions set by the Pet Poison Helpline:

  • Remove your dog from the area immediately.
  • Check your dog for any breathing difficulty or abnormal reactions.
  • Do not give any at-home medications or self-remedies.
  • Avoid forcing your dog to vomit without consulting your vet or Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Call Pet Poison Helpline via (855) 764 – 7661 or contact your vet immediately.

The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24/7 animal poison control center known as the only licensed veterinary contact center in the world.

You can also contact the following helplines below:

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are dogs allergic to orchids

Are Orchids Safe for Dogs: FAQs

Are all orchids safe for dogs?

Orchids are generally one of the safest plants for dogs and other pets. 

However, the Lady Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium) is considered to be a toxic kind.

And with over 30,000 orchid varieties out there, it’s unsure whether all types are safe for dogs. 

So, it’s best to be extra careful when choosing which orchid variety is safe for your pets at home.

Are orchid petals poisonous to dogs?

Orchid petals may not be poisonous to dogs. 

In Asia and Africa, orchid blooms are often cooked and added as a salad ingredient for human consumption.

However, orchid petals are not part of your dog’s main diet

Feeding one to your pups can trigger allergies or cause digestive problems.

Can dogs eat orchid roots?

Dogs should not eat orchid roots. 

Apart from its non-inclusion in the canine diet, it can cause digestive disruptions such as diarrhea or blockages.

If your dogs accidentally ate orchid roots, seek your vet immediately.

Are orchid barks toxic to dogs?

Orchid barks are a type of growth-inducing method for plants. 

Therefore, they are not for dog consumption.

This soil substrate is sourced from various coniferous trees like fir, hemlock, redwood, and pine.

And when ingested by your dogs, orchid barks can cause choking and intestinal blockages, too.

So, if you’re a green enthusiast, be sure to keep orchid barks away from your dog’s reach.

Are Orchids Safe for Dogs: Before You Go…

Looking after your dog’s welfare doesn’t have to be sacrificing your passion for growing your blooms.

But with the increasing number of hybrids today, it’s safe to ask:

“Are orchids safe for dogs or not?”

While orchids are generally considered safe for dogs, it pays to be vigilant always.

As you may know, our four-legged friends can get naughty in the most unexpected ways, right?

So, it’s better to assess which orchid varieties are pet-safe and learn some gardening tips with your dogs.

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Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.