Written by Elizabeth B.
An outdoor garden brings delight, peace, and enjoyment to the entire family, even (and especially!) the four-legged ones. With spring right around the corner, keep your fluffy family members safe with our favorite dog friendly plants and flowers. If you’re looking to upgrade your garden from dog-friendly to dog-centric, we’re also sharing ways to make your garden even more fun for your pup.
Plants & Flowers that are Toxic for Dogs
But first, here’s a friendly reminder about popular plants that you might not know are toxic for dogs. If you have any of them in your garden, make sure that they’re inaccessible to your dog:
- Jade Plants
- Sago Palm
There are many more plants and flowers that are toxic to your dog. Check out the full list from the ASPCA. If your dog exhibits signs of being poisoned (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, tremors, accelerated heart rate) and you suspect that they ate a toxic plant, you should call your veterinarian immediately.
5 Dog-Friendly Ornamental Flowers
These ornamental flowers are some of our all-time favorites for making any outdoor space special. We especially love that we don’t have to worry about curious noses sniffing around their beds.
So many names, so little time. We commonly call black and brown-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and Gloriosa daisies to refer to varieties of the Rudbeckia plant family. Known for their colorful petals and thin stems, these wildflowers can be found in bright fields stretching across the US.
A favorite for gardeners and landscape painters, hibiscus are evergreen tropical flowers found in the warmest American climates along the coasts. Hibiscus is easy to grow, and every variety exhibit stunning summer blooms. They are a rewarding dog-friendly flower for any beginner gardener.
Asters are a special flower because their blooms are both exquisite and out of sync with most flowering plants. While the colorful parts of your garden are winding down when Autumn rolls in, Asters whirl to life when the days get shorter. This is great news for gardeners and their pups who get to enjoy the beautiful late-bloomer from August through October.
There’s no reason not to show off your gardening skills, and zinnias are the perfect dog-friendly flower to do just that. Easy to grow in well-drained average soil, you and your guests will enjoy dramatic, colorful blooms for more than half the year.
Petunias are nature’s darling. Not only are they pet-friendly, but they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to frolic and feed in your garden. Like Zinnias, petunias reward your year-round effort with showy flowers for a long blooming season from spring to fall.
5 Dog-Friendly Edible Plants
1. Leafy Greens
If you’re looking for an edible plant that’s easy to grow and dog-friendly, leafy greens are the answer. The ultimate in low-maintenance vegetable, leafy greens include delicious additions to your summer salad (e.g., lettuce, arugula, spinach) and your fall bowls (e.g., chard and kale). Give them water, watch them grow, harvest their leaves, repeat. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Like dogs, raspberries will make themselves at home in your garden. If you give them the entire yard, they have no problem taking it. To contain their plump berry deliciousness, plant branches 20 inches apart and in rows 5 feet apart. Be diligent in removing any runners that go rogue off the trail. Also, be quick to the patch during summer harvest…we may or may not know quicker dogs.
Radishes are some of the easiest and fastest veggies to grow. They’re also one of the most prolific in terms of sheer quantity at harvest. If you don’t really love radishes, then plan to gift them to family and friends during harvest. If you have kids in the house, the fast-growing radish is a fantastic way to get them excited about gardening. Some varieties can be harvested in just three weeks after sowing!
If your soil is loose and especially sandy, carrots will love your garden almost as much as your dog. Carrots take a bit longer to grow than radishes (2-4 months), but if you plant them in the spring or summer, you’ll enjoy a continuous harvest throughout the fall.
“National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch” Day is August 8. Seriously, that’s a thing. Zucchini practically grows itself. So, even if your dog sneaks a bite or five, there will still be plenty for you and the neighborhood.
5 Ways to Make your Garden Fun for your Dog (and Beautiful for You)
Upgrade your dog-friendly garden to dog-centric heaven! Your pup will surely thank you for making their outdoor kingdom even more perfect.
1. Grow a sunflower tent
Just in case you needed another reason to love sunflowers. Create a “tent” for your dog by training young sunflowers into a pyramid shape around tall stakes or a trellis. Once the sunflowers are grown, your dog will have a shady oasis to nap, enjoy a bone, and marvel at how he got such an awesome human.
2. Add a kiddie pool or sprinkler
Two-legged kids aren’t the only ones who go berserk with glee from a wild sprinkler or sparkling pool on a hot day. When everyone is done frolicking, don’t forget to use the pool water in your garden!
3. Plant a dog-happy sensory garden
Like a spa day/farmer’s market for your dog in the yard. These herbs are beneficial for your pup to smell, eat, and roll around in:
- Rosemary for energy
- Chamomile for calm
- Lavender for easing anxiety
- Barley Grass for upset tummies
- Mint for better breath
4. Hide a treat-stuffed toy
Got Kongs? Good! Stuff one with your pup’s favorite treats and hide it in the dog-friendly portion of the garden. Challenge them to find it in a new spot every day.
5. “Pave” their favorite paths
Take note of your dog’s favorite foot (paw) path around the garden. Where do they go? What do they sniff? Where are their favorite spots to lay? To dig? Make these pathways more pleasant and interesting for them by planting dog-friendly ornamental grasses for different textures underfoot and swaying greenery around them. Trust us. Dogs love it.
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