Like many pet owners, I adore my dogs. Having a dog-friendly garden allows me to send them out to play while I relax inside, sipping my coffee without a care in the world. However, ensuring their safety is my top priority. Pets can’t understand or learn about garden safety like we can, so it’s crucial for me to be aware of the plants I choose.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and they learn through scent exploration. Unfortunately, this curiosity can sometimes lead them to harmful plants. While we can’t control what’s planted in our neighborhood, we can create a safe outdoor space for our furry friends. I always ensure my garden contains non-toxic plants, and luckily, there are plenty of perennials to choose from that are safe for dogs. Some of my favorites include coreopsis (tickseed), coral bells (heuchera), phlox, and kniphofia (red hot pokers). These varieties have added vibrant colors to my garden, and my dogs appreciate the shade provided by larger plants like rose of sharon (hibiscus) and pampas grass (cortaderia selloana) during the hot summer months.
Even though my dogs are not inclined to ingest harmful foliage, I still prefer to have pet-friendly plants in my garden. Adding safe plants eliminates worry and allows me to explore new options for my garden. Robust perennials like astilbe and nepeta are excellent choices as they can better withstand dogs walking through the garden beds. Even with a fully planted garden, it’s challenging to keep my young dogs from occasionally exploring my garden beds.
Roses are another safe plant for my garden. Their attractive and fragrant blooms add beauty and color, while their thorny bushes discourage my dogs from getting too close.
Small fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are also safe for dogs in moderation and when treated only with organic fertilizers. So, I can still enjoy planting my favorite summer fruits without worry.
With numerous pet-friendly plants available, creating a beautiful and safe garden for your playful and inquisitive dogs is easy. When adding new plants, I recommend placing chicken wire around them to protect them until they get established, preventing my dogs from trampling over them.
Plants to Avoid in Your Dog-Friendly Garden
While many plants are safe, there are several common perennials that can be harmful to dogs. I always watch out for hosta, dicentra (bleeding heart), clematis, iris, wisteria, and allium. These plants should be avoided in dog-friendly gardens. A more extensive list of harmful plants can be found on the ASPCA website. However, if certain plants are located in areas where your dog rarely visits, they may be considered safe. It’s always prudent to check the specific varieties to ensure they are safe for your four-legged friend when planning your garden.
Keeping Your Dogs Out of the Garden
If you want to keep your dogs out of your garden, there are several effective methods to try. Dogs tend to follow paths when outside, so using solid paving stones or cement paths in your backyard is preferable over softer ground materials like cedar chips or pea gravel, which are more prone to digging. Planting larger plants in the garden will also limit entry spaces to your garden beds and the areas available for your dogs to roam. If there are specific areas you want to keep off-limits, make sure they are fenced securely, and create a designated area where your dogs are free to roam. Providing a special area for them to play and release energy will reduce the likelihood of them getting into trouble.
Walks in the Neighborhood
When taking my dogs for a walk, I always keep them on a leash and avoid letting them explore the bushes and gardens of my neighbors. Not only is it safer for my dogs, but it’s also considerate to my neighbors. Additionally, I prefer to leave off-leash activities for my securely fenced outdoor space or the local dog park. You never know what kinds of chemicals or fertilizers may be used in other people’s gardens or lawns.
As a dog owner, I understand the importance of keeping our four-legged friends safe. By creating a dog-friendly garden, we can provide a beautiful and secure space for them to enjoy alongside the rest of the family. While there are many plants safe for dogs, it’s vital to be mindful of what we plant. Dogs are family members, and they deserve the best garden experience possible.
For a comprehensive list of plants, you can visit the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs. If you suspect your dog has ingested a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.
Remember, a safe and beautiful garden is within reach for you and your furry companions. Happy gardening!