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How to make your Garden Pet Friendly

Spring is well and truly on it's way, and as a nation of pet owners; 56% of UK households have pets, it's no wonder we want to make sure our gardens are a safe space for them to explore and enjoy.

Two Border Collies next to spring Daffodils.

Making your Garden Pet Friendly

Many UK households now have at least one pet, whether that be a dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig or tortoise just to name a few, and most UK households have a garden of some sorts too. If you're anything like my mum, who's a keen gardener and has pets, then you'll want to make sure your garden can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

In this blog, I'm going to share with you a list of plants that can be planted into your gardens, knowing that should your pet(s) decide to have a closer look at them, it shouldn't cause them any harm. I'll also share a list of plants which should be avoided in your garden, if you have pets. As with all pets, it's always advised to supervise them and not to leave them unattended.

Pet Safe Plants for your Gardens

Listed below are five of the pet safe plants that you can add to your garden, knowing they are not only pet safe, but also quite common, easy to grow, and add lots of colour too!

1) Grass - The most common plant seen in most gardens, is that patch of green turf. A top tip for keeping your grass green and not getting brown patches, is to water down the areas where your dog(s) urinate. It's best to water down the area straight after they've urinated, as this helps to stop the grass dying off.

2) Sunflowers - Who doesn't love a Sunflower?! I know I do, they are one of my favourite flowers. Not safe for pets to eat, but a lovely big colourful flower head, and one of the top 10 polinatiors for bees. Below are two photos of some Sunflowers I grew last year with my mum, in our garden.

3) Catmint - Especially great for our feline friends, catmint has essential oils in the leaves, which helps make cats feel more relaxed. It's purple flowered, and can be easily found at most garden centres in the UK.

4) Lavender - Another well-known plant in the UK. Lavender comes in a lots of variations including Munstead and Hudcote to name just two. Cats and Rabbits enjoy nibbling on Lavender, and it's another great polinator for the bees.

5) Ornamental Sedges - Specifically the Carex Species. Dogs enjoy sitting in the soft mounds of this plant, and it a good structural plant, which adds texture to your garden. Below is a photo of an Ornamental Sedge - Carex Species.

Plants to AVOID in your Garden

In the next part of this blog, is a list of five of the plants to avoid in your gardens, as they are not pet friendly.

1) BULBS - All plants grow from bulbs, and bulbs can be extremely toxic to Dogs, Cats, Rabbits and Guinea Pigs. If your pet eats a bulb it can cause a wide range of problems including kidney failure, respiratory problems, and some pets can sadly die if they eat bulbs. 2) Foxgloves - Specifically the Digitalis species. All parts of this plant are toxic to Dogs, Cats, Rabbits and Guinea Pigs. If your pet should eat Foxgloves, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, kindey damage and cardiac problems. Below is a photo of Foxgloves - Digitalis Species. Foxgloves come in a range of colours too.

3) Lilies - All parts have moderate to severe toxicity, especially to cats. Symptoms can include drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, drop in blood pressure, respiratory problems and kidney damage.

4) Ivy - Specifically the Hedera Species. The foliage parts are toxic to Dogs, Cats, Rabbits and Guinea Pigs. If digested by your pet, this can cause serious stomach upset, so it's advised you take your pet to your vets as soon as possible.

5) Rhododendrons - All parts of this plant are toxic to Dogs, Cats, Rabbits and Guinea Pigs. If your pet should come into contact with this plant, some of the symptoms can include vomiting, blindness, diarrohea, and even death. Below is a photo of a Rhododendron.

I hope you have found this blog on how to make your garden pet friendly helpful, and you can enjoy your gardens this year with your pets, knowing that your gardens are filled with pet safe plants. If you have plants that you are unsure about, it's worth seeking advise from a professional like a gardner, your vet or the Dogs Trust. Or if like me you have a keen gardener within your family, they'll probably have a book that provides information on pet safe plants, or they will know.

If you'd like to share this blog with your friends and family, please do! The more people that know about how to make their gardens pet friendly the better! Or share a photo of your pet in your garden in the comments below. Thanks for reading, Emily, Floss & Merlin.

Floss & Merlin both Border Collies, sat within Snowdrops at a local country park.

88 views2 comments


Sarah Mills
Sarah Mills
Apr 02, 2021

Thanks for this very informative post. I’ve now got sedge added to my list of plants for our new garden design and pleased to know that my favourite lavender will be safe and pet friendly too!

Apr 02, 2021
Replying to

Thanks for taking the time to read Sarah. I’m glad the blog has helped you with your new garden design. It would be lovely to see a photo of it when you’ve completed it, to see how you’ve included the pet safe plants!

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