Read time: 4 mins
30 Mar 2023
Dogs are natural explorers. They love to discover new sights, sniff different smells and root around in secret places. The great outdoors is like one giant playground, with so many exciting things to stick their wet noses into.
But, while rummaging through leaves and giving tree trunks the once-over is fine, the search for new scents can lead them to some strange places. And because some flowers can be dangerous for our furry friends, it's good to know what to look out for.
We all know that some dogs will sample just about anything – however unappetising it may look (or smell) to us. Poisonous flowers can leave your dog feeling unwell, especially if they get carried away and devour a lot of them.
So, to make sure no pooch falls foul of any nasty greenery, here’s our advice on dog-friendly flowers, as well as how to keep your home and garden safe for your precious pooch.
Happily, there are lots of safe and beautiful flowers that you can plant freely without the fear of causing harm to your pup. Classic daisies, for example, are perfect for pooch-friendly gardens, as are romantic roses. If you're heading to the garden centre, other dog-safe varieties to pick up include:
• Fragrant herbs including dill, basil and peppermint
Green-fingered pet parents can check out the list from The Dog People for some more planting inspiration, to keep humans happy and pups healthy.
You'll probably be surprised by how many common flowers are a no-no. For example, did you know daffodils – the spring garden staple – are seriously toxic to dogs? The bulbs are especially poisonous and can cause heart problems, convulsions and low blood pressure. It's safest to root them out and get rid of them if you've got any in your garden.
Other common toxic flowers to be aware of around the house and garden include:
• Elephant Ear
For a comprehensive run-down, check out this list from the PDSA.
If your dog shows no interest in chomping down on flowers, you may be able to leave these varieties in your garden. Although, we would never recommend leaving your dog unsupervised around poisonous flowers, just in case they decide to have a munch.
So we've told you what to avoid, now it's onto the fun stuff – how to turn your garden into a dogs' wonderland.
Make it sensory
Gravel paths and soft grass give your pet a range of interesting textures on their paws. Adding some swaying ornamental grasses can be visually stimulating.
Choose tough plants
Look for shrubs and bushes with tough stems that can stand up to dogs romping through them. Lavender is a great choice – it smells lovely, too.
Give your pup their own play area
A sandy or barked-over (yes, barked) area where your dog can dig to their heart's content can help keep them away from your ornamental plants.
Chemicals can be hazardous to dogs, so avoid using weed killers and opt for a natural garden. It's also a good idea to avoid using fertilisers near water features that your pet is likely to drink from. And if you have a slug problem, there are lots of non-toxic ways of getting rid of them (including beer, wool and eggshells), so you don't have to use slug pellets.
If you can’t escape the longing for having flower beds in your garden, a good way to keep them out of your dog’s reach is to build raised box beds.
Planting your flowers in a raised bed will make it harder for your pooch to eat them – leaving your flower beds to bloom and your dog’s tummy less likely to face doom.
If you've just moved house – or adopted a new four-legged family member – you'll want to make sure you have a dog-friendly garden. After all, there's nothing pups love more than digging, playing and running around in their own back gardens. Start by identifying any problem plants and removing them – this includes any dormant daffodil and tulip bulbs lurking in the flower beds.
If you think your dog has managed to chomp on something they shouldn't have, it's best to treat it like a medical emergency and take them straight to the vet.
As well as sickness and diarrhoea, other symptoms of plant poisoning include shaking, heavy breathing and – in severe cases – seizures. If the offending plant is still within paws reach, and you're not sure what it is, grab a sample to show the vet.
If you’re a Butternut Box customer, you'll have access to our 24-hour helpline, where you can talk to a vet nurse. They can advise your best course of action if you're worried your dog might have eaten something toxic.