Planting a dog-friendly garden

Getting outside with our dogs is one of life’s great pleasures. And what better way to spend that time than mucking in with some dog-friendly plants and gardening – after all, a dog makes an ideal digging partner! 

When making decisions about beds, borders and bulbs, it’s worth knowing how to plant a dog-friendly garden. So you can watch them run, play and roll to their heart’s content, without the worry of any toxic plants to watch out for. 

Read this handy guide to which plants are safe for dogs before you head to the garden centre:

Dog-friendly

  • African violets
  • Asters
  • Bamboo
  • Blueberries
  • Boston ferns
  • Calendula
  • Camellias
  • Carrots
  • Cornflowers
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Lavender
  • Impatiens
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Roses (though watch out for the thorns!)
  • Rosemary 
  • Snapdragons
  • Spider plants
  • Sunflowers

Toxic to dogs

  • Aconites
  • Aloe vera
  • Azaleas
  • Buttercups
  • Bluebells
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodils
  • Daphne
  • Easter lilies and lily of the valley
  • Foxgloves
  • Holly berries
  • Hyacinths
  • Hydrangeas
  • Ivy
  • Oak
  • Oleander
  • Sago palm
  • Tomatoes
  • Tulips
  • Wisteria
  • Yew

Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list, so it might be worth double-checking if you’re thinking of buying a plant not mentioned here. Many garden centres have labels noting pet-friendly plants these days, as well as knowledgeable staff you could ask for help.

More dog-friendly gardening tips

Create raised beds

If you’re worried about muddy paws and dug-up plants, raised beds will keep your plants out of reach of smaller dogs.

Avoid chemicals

Slug pellets and certain fertilisers can be dangerous to dogs, so try and find pet-friendly alternatives where possible.

Keep your garden secure

Check your walls and fences for holes, and make sure your dog can’t burrow under or jump over. So they can play safely without too much supervision, and the cats of the neighbourhood can rest easy. 

Provide shade and shelter

Dogs can easily overheat in the sun, so make sure there are shady spots for them to cool off under, and somewhere to stay dry if it rains – whether that’s keeping the shed door open, or putting up a gazebo or awning. If you’re handy with a hammer, you could even build their own kennel. Read about other ways to keep your dog cool here. 

Plant a sensory garden 

Gardens can be hugely stimulating for dogs. If your garden’s big enough, try creating different routes and textures for them to explore, or even offer a designated digging area to keep those paws busy. You could also add a range of dog-friendly scented plants, like Lavender or Rosemary – potent sniffing spots that your dog will love.

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