Plants & Pets
So, you love flowers and you have an adorable dog with an unstoppable sense of curiosity. We can relate! Dogs love nothing more than having a sniff about. However, before you start building your dream garden, keep in mind that a lot of plants are unsafe for pets. But never fear, there are plenty of beautiful varieties of safe flowers for dogs that you can enjoy without worrying about whether your dog decides to dig into them. These flowers are safe for dogs, even though not exactly an ideal doggy snack. Many of these blossoms are edible and can make a colourful and tasty addition to a salad. Rose petals, violets, sunflower petals, pansies, snapdragons, and some marigolds can all be eaten raw, by dogs and people. A word of caution: It is essential to make sure your flowers aren’t treated with insecticides, fungicides, or weed killers, as those are poisons that can cause you and your dog serious harm. While shopping for safe flowers for dogs, take along the following list of dog-friendly plants along with the list of which plants are dangerous for dogs. While you’re out plant shopping, if you find an exciting new plant friend, you can even search for poisonous plants to check if it is safe for your pet.
Roses: Classic and beautiful, roses are always a crowd-pleaser, and thankfully, they are perfectly safe flowers for dogs. In fact, you can sprinkle rose petals onto your salad for a gourmet touch. Rosehips, the fruits that come from rose flowers, are safe for dogs and people, too. Some, like the dog in this YouTube video, love them. Just be aware that the thorns on rose bushes can be painful, so don’t let your dog chew on rose branches.
African Violets: These flowers come in an array of colours, from blue to pink to soft yellow and violet (just to name a few). They’re also easy to care for and won’t poison curious dogs who can’t resist chomping on their vibrantly-hued petals. Violets are generally purchased as live plants, rather than being planted from seed. This means that they may be treated with fertilizers and possibly other agricultural chemicals that can make them less safe to eat.
Snapdragons: Looking for a lovely annual to add to your garden? Bright, boisterous snapdragons are another safe flower for dogs. Not only do they add some serious charm to homes and gardens, but they are also non-toxic for your pet. The safest way to grow snapdragons is from seed so you can ensure that your flowers are free of fertilizers and pesticides that are unsafe for pets.
Orchids: Gorgeous and occasionally difficult to cultivate, these flowers come in a plethora of varieties and hybrids that are generally non-toxic for pups. Best to visit one of the numerous websites about the flower, though, just to ensure you are growing one of the safe ones. Orchids are purchased as potted plants, and fertilizer is important to keep them in good condition. Keep in mind that many plant fertilizers are not safe for dogs.
Garden Marigolds: So long as your dog does not take more than a few nibbles of this flower (which would cause an upset stomach, at worst), marigolds are safe flowers for dogs that add a pop of colour to your garden or indoor pots. Some marigold varieties are tasty, while others taste like bitter carrots.
Pansies: Lively and sweet, these wonderful flowers are not only non-toxic for dogs, but they are apparently also tasty. Pansies come in a rainbow of colours including blue, white, yellow, red, orange, and purple, so there’s something to please everyone. Pansies, which are close relatives of violets, can be purchased as live plants or grown from seed.
Petunias: Keep your yard smelling sweet with the help of super-fragrant petunias that easily blossom in containers and ground beds. Boasting beauty, vibrancy, and an amazing scent, these blooms really have it all, and it is okay if your dog takes a bite. As members of the nightshade family, petunia flowers are not a good choice for edible flowers for humans.
Sunflowers: Love the way that freshly cut sunflowers look on your dining room table? Well, rest easy, because these golden beauties are safe flowers for dogs and cats, so you can keep enjoying their charming, cheerful appearance. This is not to say that too much won’t bother their tummies–but overall, these beauties are a safe bet. Sunflowers are giant daisies and grow easily from seed in sunny spots. Sunflower blossoms are a great way to attract birds to your garden in the fall when they go to seed.
Zinnias: These annuals are safe for flower-munching canines, and they add a dash of quirky colour that everyone can appreciate. (Plus, wouldn’t a dog named Zinnia be the cutest? Just saying.) Zinnias are edible, are generally grown from seed by gardeners, and were among the first flowers to be grown in space! Cosmic!
Gerbera Daisies: Thank goodness these colourful classics are non-toxic for dogs as well. Bright and cheerful, daisies are a great gift for flower-loving dog owners. Or, well, anyone. As with sunflowers, the petals of gerbera daisies are edible. Plants can be purchased from a nursery or can be grown from seed in your garden.
Here are some of the scented plants that have a beneficial effect that you can introduce in your sensory garden.
Catnip: Not just for cats! This has relaxation properties and stimulates playfulness in dogs!
Chamomile: Dogs suffering from anxiety or skin/stomach upsets will be attracted to this plant’s scent.
Clary sage: Good for highly strung animals and those with hormonal imbalances.
Hops: A calming plant often selected by hyperactive and stressed dogs.
Lavender: Helps to reduce anxiety and other nervous conditions.
Marigolds: Dogs experiencing grief or emotional distress will often sniff out this plant.
Marshmallow: Known to help animals with delicate stomachs.
Meadowsweet: Often selected by dogs with digestive problems, arthritis and rheumatic conditions.
Mimulus: Used as a remedy for animals that are nervous, timid and shy.
Mint: Good for cooling properties and will often be selected by dogs who suffer from skin irritations.
Plantain: Helps gastric irritation and inflammation.
Thyme: Chosen by animals with bacterial infections, skin irritations and diarrhoea.
Valerian: Often selected by anxious dogs for its calming effect.
Vervain: Valuable for treating and nourishing nervous system disorders such as depression.
Violets: Nervous dogs or those who have recently changed homes may enjoy sniffing this plant.
Yarrow: Offered to animals with inflammation, urinary problems and internal and external wounds.
Meanwhile sounds, textures and activities are also great ways to engage dogs and make them feel relaxed. Toys, activity tables and games (such as a log with treats hidden in it) provide mental stimulation and enjoyment and are things you can easily make at home. An area of astro-turf and a wooden bark trough of water provide different and interesting things for the dogs to sniff, feel and touch and a paddling pool is a great way for your dog to play and cool off after a strenuous bout of activity! A solar-powered fountain and wooden wind chimes provide soothing and relaxing sounds for the dogs to listen to. Non-invasive and natural noises such as these have a calming effect, making the dog feel at ease.
We hope you try growing some of these in your own garden for your dog to enjoy and are successful in making your own sensory delight for your dog in your garden.