Five Pet-Friendly Plants for Your Yard and Garden


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Every time I walk out the door to spend time in the garden, my dog Rocco joins me. He’s a pretty big six-year-old Rottweiler who loves to chase lizards, dig and bury bones in the ground, and of course mark his territory.

If you know that your pet will spend a lot of time in the yard, it’s important that you know what you have planted and if any of your plants can be toxic if your dog or cat ingests them. I’ve noticed on some occasions that Rocco eats certain wild plants that are growing in the yard. A while ago, I read an article that said that pets eat some plants automatically because of their health benefits. But not all plants are good for your pet.

Over time, Rocco has learned to respect certain sections of the yard, but it hasn’t always been that way. Sometimes I would arrive home to find pots toppled over, or plants strewn across the floor with chewed up roots. I’ve learned a thing or two about how to protect my plants from Rocco, but I’ve also learned how to protect my beloved pet from potential danger he could find himself in if he were to eat something harmful.

Today, I have all of my plants and flowers in pretty big pots, and high enough that he can’t reach them. But sometimes it’s impossible to keep everything out of reach, so I’m faced with the occasional mess to clean up.

If your dog is still a puppy, take advantage of the opportunity to train him, and put aside part of your budget for pet-friendly yard and garden supplies. You can invest in a fence or raised flower beds. Also, you should always keep the grass in your yard cut short (three and a half inches or less) to reduce the likelihood of your pet getting fleas or ticks. Avoid using chemical products both on the grass and on your plants that can affect the health of your pet.

If your pet does end up in a mess, it’s important that what you have planted won’t harm him or her. I’ve been doing some research about which flowers and herbs are best to plant in the yard, because I wanted to make sure they were safe for both me and my pet. Here are five dog friendly plants to consider for your garden.

Burdock is a great plant to have in your yard, since it treats allergies, digestive issues, and kidney problems. You need to make sure the soil where you want to plant it is rich in organic nutrients with plenty of sun. Burdock grows pretty quickly, so it’s important to make sure you can contain it with regular pruning.

Milk thistle is an herb (Silybum marianum) that helps with liver problems and requires very little maintenance. It can grow in moist or dry soil, with sun or partial shade.

Peppermint is great for improving indigestion and treating nausea. It needs moist soil that is rich in organic nutrients. It can be planted in sun or shade and needs to be pruned regularly.

Astragalus is an herb (Astragalus membranaceus) that helps to lower your blood pressure and normalize your sugar levels. On top of that, it helps to improve digestion and is great for a full body cleanse. It needs dry, grainy soil with plenty of sun.

Garlic strengthens the immune system. But if your dog consumes this in large quantities they can get sick. It can also be toxic for cats, so make sure you plant this in small doses.

You don’t want to limit yourself to solely planting what’s healthy for your pets, but you also don’t want to put your pet’s health at risk based on what you’re growing in your garden. Find a balance so that you and your pets can enjoy the outdoors with a yard that works for everyone.

Perla Sofía Curbelo is a home gardener in Puerto Rico. She’s an educator and influencer on agriculture and urban gardening. Check out more gardening tips on her blog.

Translated by / Traducido por Bill O’Connor

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