How To Create A Dog Friendly Garden Inside And Out | DogLife360
which houseplants are safe? Your dog doesn't know

How To Create A Dog Friendly Garden Both Inside And Out

Did you know that a lot of garden plants are toxic to dogs and cats? Before you head to the garden centre to pick out your perfect Pinterest-worthy plants, it’s worth knowing which ones might pose a hazard to your pet. Here’s the Burns ultimate guide to plant shopping for pet parents.

Houseplants and Pets

At Burns, we’ve been hearing a lot about the increase in people getting pets during the last year, but did you know there has also been a massive boom in people buying houseplants too? It’s clear that houseplants have great benefits, but how do you know which plants are pet safe for your dog?

Which houseplants are safe for dogs?

Fortunately, many websites have ‘pet-friendly houseplants’ sections, but if in doubt, your local plant shop or garden centre should also be able to advise you.

Here are our favourite pet safe houseplants:

White Star (Calathea Majestica) – this is also known as the prayer plant because its leaves fold up overnight. There are many different types with different leaves, and they are non-toxic and safe for pets.

how to create a dog friendly garden grow White star.
White Star

String Of Hearts (Ceropegia) – this is a trailing vining plant that is non-toxic. It’s a great one to put on a shelf.

String of Hearts

Ponytail Palm (Beucarnea Recurvata) – another non-toxic plant which comes in a variety of sizes. I have a tiny one, but they can grow up to 20 feet! These are really easy to look after as they store water in their trunk, so I just water it when it looks like it needs plumping up!

Beucarnea Recurvata
Ponytail Palm

Fishbone cactus (Epiphyllym Anguliger) – this is one of our newer plants, but one that has grown a lot already. They are fun to watch grow as they develop their zigzag ‘fishbone’ leaves and are nontoxic to pets.

Epiphyllym Anguliger
Fishbone Cactus

Which indoor plants are toxic for dogs?

It’s great to know which plants can bloom in harmony with our doggos, but which plants pose a health hazard? Here’s a list of plants that are toxic to our pets:

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) – this is a favourite houseplant by many people as it is easy to care for and has lovely big leaves. Unfortunately, if eaten by a dog or particularly a cat, it can be toxic and lead to swelling of the mouth as well as vomiting.

Swiss Cheese Plants
Swiss Cheese Plants

Velvet Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron Micans) – these hanging plants are also very popular thanks to their beautiful, heart-shaped leaves. However, they can cause various health problems if ingested.

velvet leaf
Velvet Leaf

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)– Known for being one of the easiest plants to care for, as it ‘thrives on neglect,’ it can also be mildly poisonous to pets, so it’s best to keep out of their reach.

Snake Plant
Snake Plant

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifloia)– Also known for being great for beginners, this common houseplant is also considered to be toxic to pets.

ZZ Plant
ZZ Plant

How do I create a pet-friendly garden?

Your garden is another place your pet might love to explore, but it too might contain plants that are toxic to our dogs or cats. Even if your pet doesn’t appear to be interested in the plants in your garden, we should be aware of any potential hazards. 

Are a lot of plants dangerous?

It is surprising how many common garden plants can be harmful for dogs. Most of them would need to be eaten in large quantities, so are unlikely to be problematic, others may just result in mild symptoms or an upset tummy for a day or two. Some are more of an irritant, causing rashes or swelling.


What plants should you avoid having in your garden?

Some of the most popular garden plants can be fatal, so it’s important to know which plants to stay away from if you have pets.

  1. Elephant ears or Bergenia

These plants can cause swelling in the mouth which can be life-threatening to pets if the airway becomes blocked.

Elephant ears
Elephant Ears
  1. Aconitum (Wolf’s bane)

More commonly known as Monkshood, this plant is probably one of the most dangerous (and attractive) plant in our gardens. All parts are poisonous, the root was used historically to kill wolves, hence the name.

  • Rhododendrons

All parts of a rhododendron bush, including the leaves, are toxic to both cats and dogs. Only a small amount is needed to cause huge upset in our dogs and cats, such as nausea, vomiting and even difficulty breathing.

  • Azaleas

Azaleas are beautiful plants that feature in many of our homes and gardens, but they are plants that are poisonous to our dogs and cats.

  • Castor Bean Plant

A unique plant responsible for producing ‘castor oil.’ Unfortunately, this plant is toxic for dogs, cats and even horses. The beans and seeds are particularly dangerous, and can be lethal if even an ounce is consumed.

Castor Bean Plant
Castor Bean Plant
  • Oleander (Dogbane)

Commonly used in landscaping, these beautiful plants are toxic for all mammals. Ingestion of any part of this plant can lead to terrifying consequences for our pets.


How will you know if your pet has eaten a toxic plant?

There are no typical symptoms, so it’s important to stay vigilant if you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t. Symptoms can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • drooling
  • seizures

If you suspect your pet has eaten something and is showing unusual signs or behaviour seek veterinary help ASAP, taking the suspect plant with you if possible.

Are all parts of the plant toxic to pets?

Not all parts of the plants may be toxic. It might only be the fruit, roots, bark or even the stem, but it is best to assume the whole plant is poisonous. Even our vegetable plots may contain plants with parts that are harmful. Apricot kernels contain cyanide, Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and can be fatal if eaten in quantity.

Burns’s Top Tip:

Pay attention to plant names. Often the name of the plant gives us a clue, for example, Deadly Nightshade, Wolfsbane and Dogbane, are all part of the Latin name ‘Apocynum’ means ‘away dog’.

Remember, if you feel as though your dog or cat has eaten a toxic plant, call your vet immediately. For advice and information on nutrition, contact the Burns nutritional advice team for free today.


Read about how Olive and Mable broke the internet  - an interview with Andrew Cotter


Read More6 Tips for Photographing Your Dog


Read MoreHow Much And How Often Should I Feed My Dog?