Keep your garden dog friendly this summer

As the weather finally starts to warm up and flowers and plants come into full bloom, it’s time for all dog owners to do a quick once over of their garden to ensure it is dog-friendly. 

Certain plants and flowers can be harmful to dogs due to the toxins if eaten. Some varieties which are commonly found in our gardens include chrysanthemums, daffodil bulbs, Larkspur, foxgloves, hydrangea, acorns, tomato plants and green fruits, wisteria and yew. Often these cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and skin irritations, depending on the amount and type of plant ingested. 

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director, Dogs Trust said:

“You can still have a beautiful garden if you have a dog. Choosing plants such as lavender, rose, sunflowers and calendula for example, present a much lower risk for dogs and with a bit of training, a dog can make a wonderful gardening companion. 

“Although plant toxicity is not common in dogs, all plants have the potential to cause unwanted signs, so we always advise that dogs are supervised whilst in the garden. If a dog is suspected or known to have ingested garden plants or is showing signs of being unwell we recommend seeking veterinary advice immediately. Dog owners should also consider that their garden may harbour unwanted friends such as slugs and snails so ensure your dog’s flea, tick and worming treatments are up to date. Your vet can advise you on the best treatments to use. Similarly, do be careful of products such as slug bait which can also be toxic to dogs.” 

As well as ensuring your garden is safe for your dog there are lots of things you can do to make it more enjoyable too. The UK’s largest dog welfare charity has the following suggestions: 

  • Features that offer different heights can give dogs vantage points to enjoy. Railways sleepers, steps and small benches can all be used to create versatility.
  • Include a variety of textures in your garden for extra sensory stimulation – this could be non-toxic sand, grass, wood chippings or gravel, all of which provide interesting places to hide dog toys and treats and for your dog to explore.
  • If your dog loves to dig to uncover things, create a fun area for your dog to show off their digging prowess and praise them for using this spot
  • Shallow water features make for another playful environment whilst also providing a cooling off spot on hot summer days but make sure you supervise them
  • Designate a quiet retreat or spot in which to shelter and use at their leisure can help your dog to feel safe.
  • Have fun with your dog in the garden – exercise, train and play with your dog to keep them entertained. Interactive toys can keep your dog occupied but it is important to play with your dog daily. 
  • Include a whole variety of different plants including herbs to ensure your dog experiences lots of different smells. Make sure you plant at different heights and positions to create channels for wind to circulate around in different ways too.

Dogs Trust has a list of toxic substances in the home and garden which are poisonous to your dog which can be found here.