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13 May 2022


Tips for Planting a Dog-Friendly Garden

If you have a big backyard and a green thumb, you might be planning out your gardens and flower beds. But, if you have a pup – it is important to plan carefully and avoid planting things that are toxic or could make them sick if ingested. To help you plan for a beautiful, pet-friendly […]

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If you have a big backyard and a green thumb, you might be planning out your gardens and flower beds. But, if you have a pup – it is important to plan carefully and avoid planting things that are toxic or could make them sick if ingested.

To help you plan for a beautiful, pet-friendly garden, we rounded up some of the best things to plant so you can both enjoy it.

Best plants for pups


These flowers look a little like roses and come in many colors. They’re safe for your pup and oh so pretty. You will mostly find Camillia in the south but they’ll grow anywhere in partial sun.


These brightly colored flowers are great for beginners and a favorite of bees. So you don’t have to worry about your pup getting into them, and you’ll be helping to promote healthy bee colonies – it’s a win-win. Another cool thing about these flowers is that they are edible – they can be used to garnish cheese plates, desserts, or even a favorite beverage.


These small bushes filled with colorful flowers can keep things safe and visually interesting for your pup too! Just be warned they are the goldilocks of bushes – they need just the right amount of sun – too much and they will auburn but not enough and they won’t bloom. If you’re up for the challenge of getting them in just the right spot, you won’t regret it when your garden is filled with the colorful, sweet smelling blooms.


If you’re wondering what to grow in the sunniest spot in the garden, the Sunflower might be a perfect choice. These bright flowers do require full sun and they grow nice and tall – much taller than your pup! For a fun training activity measure your pup standing next to the sunflowers as they grow. It’s a much more fun way to practice things like cooperative care (standing to get measured) or work on your stay durations!


Purple Basil
While you can absolutely grow green basil, add a pop of color to your garden with a purple variety. Not only is this safe for your pup, but it’s also delicious and can be eaten. Toss some on top of a spring burrata, or chop and add to your favorite pasta or salad.


If you want to grow fruit and vegetables consider some strawberry plants. Your dog may eat all the fruit before you get a chance to harvest them, but that’s ok! Strawberries are a great choice for dogs. Lower in sugar, packed with fiber, and oh so tasty!


Dill is easy to grow and also delicious in summer recipes. You can use it to make homemade pickles for your barbeques or even add some to bone broth for the pup. With many uses, you’ll be glad you added dill to your herb garden.

Rosemary is often used as a preservative in dog food making it a safe option for you to have in your garden. While you might not be preserving your own dog treats there are plenty of culinary uses for this strongly scented herb.


Polka dot plant
Another one of the more interesting visually, the polka dot plant has pink and green polka dot leaves. If you like a lot of colors in your garden, this is a great choice.


The leaves and flowers of the Nasturtium plant are edible! You may have seen some on your plate at a fancy restaurant but they are easy to grow and use at home too! You can make any weeknight dinner feel like a five star restaurant when you add some of these gorgeous flowers (and their leaves) to your plates.

In vibrant colors including pink, purple, yellow and white, the Snapdragon is a great choice for any backyard garden. These are a good choice for late spring to early summer in most parts of the country. Don’t plant too many or your garden will look bare by the end of the summer – they stop producing flowers when it gets too hot.

Plants to avoid in your dog-friendly garden

In order to keep your pup safe, avoid planting the following in your garden:

  • Aloe
  • American Holly
  • Philodendron
  • Tulips
  • Crocuses
  • Sago Palms
  • Rhododendron
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Hydrangea
  • Primrose
  • Pointsettia
  • The list above covers many common plants that are toxic to dogs but is not exhaustive. If you have questions about whether what you want to plant is safe for your pup check with Animal Poison Control or your dog’s vet first.

    If you are out and about or visiting a friend’s garden and your dog eats something they shouldn’t call your vet’s office, Animal Poison Control, or an emergency facility to get further instructions.

    Spending time together in your garden is a great way to bond with your dog. They will enjoy the time with you as well as the sights and smells of the plants and maybe even some of the wildlife they attract. Remember to be safe, stay hydrated, and have fun!

    The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out Ollie.com.

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