15 Dog-Friendly Plants for Your Garden

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These Garden Favorites Are Safe For Your Pups

Dogs are man’s best friend, but they’re not always your garden’s best friend! If your dogs are anything like mine, they’ll take any chance they get to steal a twig, munch on flowers, or lay right in the middle of the garden bed. Sure, it’s destructive, but more importantly, it can be dangerous! Some plants are toxic for dogs – like ivy, foxglove, and boxwoods – and may make your dog sick when ingested. But don’t worry; we’ve compiled a list of our most popular outdoor plants that are safe for dogs. Add these to your garden to spend less time worrying about your pup, and more time enjoying your garden!

two dogs playing in the grass

*Disclaimer: Great Garden Plants advises that pets, children, or adults DO NOT consume any flowers, weeds, trees or bushes. Ornamental plants are intended to be just that – ornamental. They should not be consumed by people or pets.

1.) Catmint


It may be called catmint, but it’s dog-friendly too! It’s one of the longest-blooming perennials on the market, providing over 5 months of flowers. It has strong stems, so it can handle some disturbance from a curious dog. Plus, the fragrant foliage may be a nice perfume for your pup!

2.) Crapemyrtle


Crapemyrtle is known for bringing drama to the garden, even when it’s not blooming! Vibrant flowers and colorful foliage make it hard to not stop and stare in the summer. If this shrub catches your dog’s eye too, no worries. It’s non-toxic and vigorous, so it can handle a few nibbles.

3.) Astilbe


Your pup might not be the fluffiest thing in your garden! Astilbe adds whimsical texture to every landscape with fluffy spikes of flowers. They’re wonderful shade perennials, known for their dark fern-like foliage and plume-like flowers. It’s non-toxic, durable, and low maintenance.

4.) Perennial Hibiscus


Easy to care for and beaming with vivid blooms, hardy hibiscus is the perfect perennial for the summer. This attention-grabbing plant isn’t just dog-friendly; it’s pollinator-friendly too! Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees will happily visit the flowers, as long as your pup doesn’t chase them away.

5.) Thyme


Thyme is a low-growing herbaceous perennial with fragrant foliage. Soft green foliage is aromatic when touched or crushed. It’s safe to eat fresh or dry, even for humans. It’s durable enough to handle some foot traffic (and paw traffic), so plant it around your stepping stones and pathways!

6.) Tickseed


The non-stop blooms of tickseed (Coreopsis) will turn heads in your garden! You can rely on the vibrant flowers to continually bloom without any deadheading. Don’t worry; it doesn’t attract ticks but has small dark seeds that resemble little bugs (hence the name). Make sure your dog has their tick meds anyways!

7.) Black-Eyed Susan


Black-eyed Susan brings glowing color late in the season, just when it’s needed the most! Hundreds of cheerful flowers bloom in late summer and float high above dark green foliage and handle summer heat with grace. The plant is non-toxic, and with so many flowers, there’s no way your dog can eat them all!

Close up of 'Goldsturm' Black-Eyed Susan with bright yellow-gold flowers with dark brown centers

8.) Russian Sage


With strong stems and an upright habit, Russian sage is the perfect accent plant in tough, hot, dry gardens. Blue-purple flowers persist all summer. It needs little water or maintenance to stay looking fresh! It’s a semi-woody perennial that is durable enough to handle a rambunctious dog. After my dogs run through it, they come out smelling amazing!

9.) Cranesbill


Cranesbill, or perennial geranium, is more durable than it looks! Nothing seems to stop this vigorous ground cover. It boasts heat and drought tolerance, is not subject to insects or disease, and is deer resistant. It’ll keep glowing in the landscape, even if your dog pesters it. It’s non-toxic, but dogs generally don’t like the taste anyway.

10.) Creeping Phlox

(Phlox subulata)

Creeping phlox may have dainty spring-time flowers, but this ground cover is tough-as-nails! It’s highly adaptable and able to thrive in challenging sites, like slopes, rocky areas, and borders. It grows to form a lush carpet of foliage and flowers that are non-toxic. It’s unbothered by deer and will hopefully be unbothered by your dog, too!

11.) Forsythia


Greet spring with extra enthusiasm each year with Forsythia blooms in your garden! Flowers are densely packed in tight clusters along the entire length of the stem. If your dog picks flowers off the stem or eats them as they fall to the ground, it’s ok. They’re non-toxic! This durable landscape plant is ready to shine.

A top-down view of 15 Coral Bells shrubs with vibrant green, chartreuse, orange, red, purple, and black foliage

12.) Coral Bells


Coral bells are cherished for their colorful foliage that persists from spring to fall. Leaves grow to form a lovely mound of foliage. Thankfully, all parts of this plant are non-toxic! Though it is fairly durable, it might not appreciate a trampling from your pup. Try planting it in a pot to avoid any paw traffic and ripped leaves from your dog.

13.) Maiden Grass

(Miscanthus sinensis)

Maiden grasses are the perfect addition to dog-friendly gardens! With long-narrow leaf blades that are non-toxic, your pup will love playing in the foliage. They’re more than just good looks; they’re also hardy, durable, and low maintenance. Watch them sway and rustle as your dog runs through them!

14.) Stonecrop


Stonecrop ignites new life in your garden during late summer (a typically quiet time) when hundreds of starry blooms signal fall’s approach. It’s forgiving of heat, humidity, and drought so it stays looking fresh during hot months. It’s also non-toxic for pets, so you can relax knowing your dog will be safe!

15.) Roses


You might be surprised to find roses on our list of dog-friendly plants! Yes, they have thorns, but that might actually be to your advantage. Plant them strategically as a barrier to keep your dog out of garden beds. Remove dead and dried branches promptly, as those have the sharpest thorns. If your dog is brave enough to try nibbling on rose flowers or leaves, it’s okay! They aren’t toxic.

Other Safe Plants For Your Dogs That We Love

Beautiful plants can add major curb appeal to your garden, but it’s important to keep in mind which varieties can make your furry friends sick. We listed our 15 favorite dog-friendly plants for your garden, but it doesn’t end there! There is a plethora of options for your pups that are both versatile and vibrant, and they are all approved by the ASPCA. Some more dog-friendly plant options for your garden include  hollyhock, coral bells, baby’s breath, christmas ferns, globe thistle, ice plants (delosperma), creeping phlox, and red hot poker.  As a pet parent with a green thumb, these plants for your garden help mitigate risks and keep your curious four-legged friends safe from ingesting harmful toxins. 

Why Are Dog-Friendly Plants Important?

Choosing safe plants is only one part of creating a dog-friendly garden! Make sure you also choose a mulch that’s safe for your dogs. Mulch made from cocoa shells, like cocoa bean mulch, is toxic for dogs. Try using cedar, pine, or hemlock mulches as a healthier alternative. Avoid spraying your plants with dangerous chemicals. If you do use fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, keep your dogs away from the applied areas until deemed safe. As always, consult your vet if your dog shows any signs of discomfort after playing in the garden.

Great Garden Plants advises that pets, children, or adults DO NOT consume any flowers, weeds, trees or bushes. Ornamental plants are intended to be just that – ornamental. They should not be consumed by people or pets.

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Written by: Miranda Niemiec, click here to read bio.

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