38 Dog-Safe Plants, Shrubs, and Trees for Your Home or Yard
Keeping your furry friend safe shouldn't have to mean giving up your gorgeous garden.
Here's the lowdown: Pets like to taste and smell things and their curiosity can get the best of them sometimes. It could be food off the table, your stinky socks, or, yes, every plant they nose around in.
This is normal behavior! But if your dog goes after poisonous plants, it can be very detrimental to their health.
If it's starting to feel like every green thing you could plant, bring indoors, or see on a walk is dangerous for your pets, you're not alone. But luckily for us plantsmen and women, there are some beautiful plant babies we can still cherish on our windowsills and in our yards.
Indoor Houseplants Safe for Dogs
"Plants liven up a space, but we know that some varieties can make pets seriously sick," says Tina Wismer, DVM and senior director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Those with a green thumb rejoice—these houseplants are veterinarian-approved.
- American rubber plant (common names: pepper face, baby rubber plant)
- Blue echeveria, a succulent (common names: maroon chenille, painted lady, copper rose, wax rosette, plush plant, "hen and chicks")
- Boston fern (common names: Boston fern, sword fern)
- Cast iron plant (common name: bar-room plant)
- Christmas cactus (which can show off flowers, hence the flashy common names Easter cactus and holiday cactus)
- Donkey’s tail, a succulent (common names: horse’s tail, burro’s tail, lamb’s tail)
- Parlor palm (common names: miniature fish tail dwarf palm, good luck palm, bamboo palm)
- Spider plant (common names: ribbon plant, Anthericum, spider ivy)
- Swedish ivy
Wismer adds that marigolds and citronella (neither of which are toxic for dogs) are thought to have flea-repelling properties, but she warns that "they will not work as your only insecticide" to keep fleas off your dog and out of your house.
Flowers and Flowering Plants Safe for Dogs
If you're more of a flower child, these plants can make your yard the talk of the neighborhood, while also keeping your backyard a safe environment for your pup.
- African violet (common name: cape marigold)
- Creeping zinnia
- Gerbera daisy (common names: Transvaal daisy, African daisy, Veldt daisy)
- Lipstick plant
- Phalaenopsis orchid (common names: moth orchid, moon orchid, butterfly orchid, phals)
Shrubs and Bushes Safe for Dogs
Definitely avoid yews, whose parts are all poisonous to dogs when ingested, according to Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, a veterinary toxicologist who works with Pet Poison Helpline. Here are some great bushy alternatives you can plant that won't hurt your pup:
- The berry-rich but non-toxic black hawthorn (common names: blackthorn, thorn apple, May bush)
- The desert-friendly chaparral (common names: creosote bush, greasewood)
- Crimson bottlebush
- Magnolia bush
- Mulberry bush greenbrier
- Rose (but watch the thorns!)
Trees and Other Outdoor Plants for a Pet-Friendly Yard
- Big shellbark hickory
- Bitter pecan (common name: water hickory)
- Bottle palm
- Carob tree
- Figleaf palm
- Hemlock tree
- Iron tree (common names: Maui sunset, flame of the woods)
- Japanese aralia
- Mockernut hickory
- Mulberry tree
- Pupleosier willow
- Red maple
- Silver bell tree
- Tree cactus
- Tulip poplar
At the end of the day, Schmid says you shouldn't let fear of a dog eating something steer you away from a home or yard full of greenery.
"Don't avoid all plants and flowers just because a dog is around," she says. "Picking safer options is ideal."
If you're concerned about a particular houseplant or landscaping plant that has caught your eye at the garden center, look it up in the ASPCA's toxic and non-toxic plants database before you bring it home.
Why Does My Dog Eat Plants, Anyway?
Some dogs eat really weird stuff because they're curious or they like the smell.
But if you notice your dog is suddenly obsessively eating weird things, they could be suffering from a condition called pica that can show up in cats too. If you're worried this is the case or your pet has eaten something large and indigestible, it's best to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
RELATED: Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt?
In case you didn't see your pup consume anything toxic, watch for these common signs of poisoning in dogs:
"Any of these signs can suggest your dog may have ingested something poisonous," says Wismer.
Pay attention to what your dog ate and how much, and in an emergency contact your veterinarian or call the folks at ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661.