Six Tips for a Dog-Friendly Garden

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you certainly want your dog to enjoy it too! But before you let your pup romp around, you’ll want to make sure the space is safe for them.

How do you know what plants are safe for dogs, and which can be a danger? How high should your fence be? What other hazards are there to watch out for?

This article will address all of these questions and more, and leave you with 6 clear, easy-to-follow tips for keeping your garden a dog-friendly space!

  1. Plant dog-friendly plants

A great many plants that are commonly found in gardens may be toxic to dogs, if ingested. Luckily, there’s a wide variety of safe plants to choose from! Some popular ones include:


Toxic plants include, but are not limited to aconite, buttercup, chrysanthemum, crocus, daffodil, daphne, delphinium, foxglove, hyacinth, hydrangea, lily, tomato, tulip, wisteria, and yew.

Before planting a flower or vegetable that is toxic make sure you find an area that is safe from your dog. This can include using a raised bed or fencing off the area to prevent your dog from eating the flowers.

Before introducing any new plant into your garden, be sure to do your research to know whether it will be safe for your dog.

  1. Choose your chemicals wisely

You may have seen your dog eating grass when outside. This is a common behavior and munching on plain grass is not likely to harm your dog. However, issues can arise if your dog is eating grass that has been chemically treated.

Most herbicides are harmless to dogs; the one to really watch out for is glyphosate (commonly used to treat weeds). Signs of glyphosate toxicity include lethargy, hypersalivation, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

If you do choose to use a weed killer, try to select an eco-friendly one, which will be a non-selective organic herbicide. You can even make your own, so that you know exactly what’s going into it: all it takes is some vinegar, salt, and dish soap.

  1. Secure the boundaries

If you plan on letting your dog run around off-leash, you should make sure that your yard is fenced-in. And be picky about what height and material you spring for—a 3 foot tall white picket fence may look nice, but will be next to useless for keeping your dog secure.

Many dogs are surprisingly strong jumpers and will need a fence of at least 6 feet to ensure they don’t escape over the top.

In addition, you will want to consider whether you want a boundary between your grassy lawn and flowery garden. Raised beds are a great option for clearly demarcating space for play and areas that are off-limits.

  1. Secure the compost bin

For your curious pooch, the compost bin is a treasure trove of interesting scents. If your dog follows their nose into the compost and starts rooting around, you could have a number of problems on your hands.

First of all, you’ll have a giant and smelly mess to clean up!

Second, there may be foods in the compost that could be harmful to your dog if eaten, including grapes, raisins, avocados, onions, and garlic.

Third, if your dog decides to use your compost pile as a toilet, this could hurt the composting process. Their feces will eventually break down but also potentially introduce unwanted bacteria.

  1. Keep out slugs and snails

Slugs and snails have been enemies of gardeners for as long as people have been growing plants. But did you know that these pests can be dangerous for your dog?

If your dog happens to eat a slug or snail, there is a risk of contracting lungworm. Not all slugs carry the parasite, but if your dog gets infected, they can exhibit a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and respiratory distress. Symptoms are usually worse in puppies and dogs with compromised immune systems.

Instead of using insecticide, you can take this opportunity to introduce new plants to your garden that can help deter slugs and snails. These plants include:

  1. Choose sturdy plants

Dogs will be dogs, meaning they will dig, they will chew, and they will pee. This is one of the reasons we always recommend raised garden beds for those owners with dogs that love to dig!

You can take some preventative measures, such as setting up raised flower beds or putting a smaller fence around your vegetable garden. However, even the most careful precautions don’t always hold up.

For this reason, you should try to stick to plants that are a bit more resilient, hardy, and are already fully grown. This way, your dog is less likely to damage young shoots by digging or running through the beds.


Gardens can be wonderful and stimulating spaces for dogs to play! Make sure it’s also a safe space for your dog by choosing non-toxic plants and fertilizer, securing exterior boundaries, locking up the compost bin and eliminating slugs and snails.

Your pooch may not be able to help you with weeding, but they’ll certainly be an enthusiastic companion while you go about your gardening!

What tips do you have for making your garden a dog-friendly zone? Let us know in the commends section below!