With Memorial Day coming up, gardeners are salivating over websites and catalogs, planning their summer plots. If you’re in that cohort, think about dog-safe plants for your garden. An astonishing array of plants are toxic to dogs.
True confession – the only gardening we do is making sure the lawn is short enough so the neighbors don’t call the village to issue a citation. But we know many people are avid and wonderful gardeners and love their plants almost as much as they love their dogs.
If you fall into this category, for dog’s sake, check before you plant. When we started looking at the common garden plants that are actually toxic to dogs, we were amazed by the number. And by how often we see all of them in local gardens.
Even, we found out, in our own yard. We had no idea that day lilies were toxic! And they’ve taken over a good chunk of territory in the dogs’ potty area! Fortunately, now we know and can get rid of them. To tell the truth, we don’t remember ever planting them in the first place, and we’ll be happy to get rid of the rabbit hiding place. We can’t even begin to count the number of times bunnies have been flushed out of the lilies. The dogs think it’s great fun, but we’re not that crazy about the game. Especially when we have to pick rabbit fur out of our dogs’ mouths.
Other culprits in the plant world
Many people don’t realize that dogs can actually eat tomatoes. But the plants, including any of the green bits, are poisonous for dogs. If you are a vegetable gardener, there are lots of tasty plants that are off-limits for your dogs, including: onions, garlic, leeks, grapes, rhubarb, mushrooms, and avocados.
Most dog owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but may not realize that cocoa mulch is, too. It just isn’t a safe choice for dog owners.
Look pretty, but not good
In the last year we’ve heard several stories of dogs dying from eating Sago Palm, which is a fairly common ornamental plant in warmer portions of the country. We’d never heard of it before, so thought we’d mention it.
Looking over the lists of plants that are toxic to dogs, they seem to fall into a couple broad categories. Almost all lilies are on the lists, as well as the “nightshade” plants, including tomato and potato. Another culprit family seems to be the plants with bulbs or rhizomes – tulips, daffodils, crocus, iris, etc.
Not so pretty, very good
The more we read about dogs and plant toxicity, the happier we are that we’re really bad at gardening. The clover and dandelions that are taking over our yard are dog safe plants. And we’ll be using that excuse for not getting rid of them!
There are a few other options. According to EpicGardening.com, go crazy with any of these dog-safe plants:
- Black Eyed Susan
- African Violets
- Magnolia Bush
- Sweet Potato Vine
- Flowering Currant
- Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, etc)
We found an alphabetical list that seems pretty comprehensive, as well as showing photos and listing toxicity. You can find it over at Rover.