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Do Dogs Like Plants? Toxicity, Treatment and Prevention tips


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You will be surprised to know that dogs love to eat plants as well. Besides meat, plants including grass are an important element in their diet.

Dogs do like plants. Dogs will eat plants, sleep in the pots and even drink water out of the saucer. Plants can provide a safe haven for dogs and create a comfortable environment. However, care must be taken as some plant species, soil, and plant chemicals can be toxic to dogs and can cause grave harm.

Are you concerned about having dogs around your plant? 

This article lists the plants that are both good and bad for dogs as well as what you can do to create a safe environment for both your pets and your plants.

Dogs and Plants:

Why Do Dogs Like Plants info

Yeah! Dogs like plants. Besides domesticated dogs, wild dogs are also seen eating grass and leaves when they do not find any meat source. 

So they feed on plants to maintain their diet.

Among dogs, Pooches are the extremists and are most fond of plants.

In 2008, Dr. Karen Sueda and Dr. Kelly Cliff along with Benjamin Lhar from the University of California did research on dogs that like plants. 

They went through a couple of surveys and concluded the following result.

  • Dogs feeding on plants is a common behavior.
  • It is the primal instinct of dogs that’s why they eat plants including grass.
  • Young dogs prefer plants more often than old ones.

Are Plants Harmful To Dogs?

Although plants are a major part of some dogs’ diets, not every plant can be consumed or beneficial for them. There are certain plants that are harmful to dogs and can cause serious health issues. 

The pesticides and herbicides used on plants to protect them from diseases and pests are detrimental to dogs if ingested. 

If your dog likes plants, you should be careful of spraying pesticides and herbicides on plants. Be careful of such sprays if you are allowing your pet to play in the garden.

Additionally, a bulk of garden and house plants are toxic to dogs and can cause serious problems in them.

Plants That Are Toxic To Dogs?

Plants that are toxic to dogs

If you are confused about which plants are good for your pet and which ones are bad, don’t worry, we got you. Down below, we have compiled a list of plants that are toxic for dogs:

HydrangeaAloe Vera
IvyYew
PhilodendronHyacinth
TulipsFoxglove
Castor bean Oleander
Lily of the valleyDieffenbachia
Rhododendron\AzaleaSago Palm
Autumn crocusAmaryllis
Asparagus fernChrysanthemum
LavenderCyclamen
Begonia

Other plants may be toxic to dogs but the most important are listed above.

Lily Plant:

The Lily plant has different kinds. The most toxic member of the lily family is Rain lily.

Rain lilies contain bulbs that can cause GI diseases including colon polyps, colon cancer, strictures, hemorrhoids, stenosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diverticular disease.

The health problems may vary from mild to severe depending upon the dose of bulbs and the health of your pet.

The symptoms of lily poisoning include vomiting, drooling, lack of appetite, diarrhea, pawing at the face, and much more. Besides Rain lilies, Calla lilies, and Peace lilies can cause oral irritation as well. 

If your pet has some type of heart problem then your dog might have ingested lily of the Valley.

Lavender: 

Lavender contains a tiny percentage of Linalool which is toxic and can cause serious health problems in dogs.

Sago Palm: 

All parts of this plant have a devastating effect on dogs. Most importantly the seeds. Taking in a tiny amount can cause serious problems and immediate treatment will be required.

The symptoms of ingestion of a sago palm include liver failure, organ damage, lethargy, and vomiting.

Brendon Howard presented a report on 30 April 2021 that two dogs died by ingesting sago palm plants.

Autumn Crocus: 

Another deadly plant that can cause vomiting, kidney and liver damage, GI bleeding as well as respiratory failure on ingestion is the autumn crocus.

All parts of this plant are toxic for dogs when consumed raw. Moreover, the concentration of harmful alkaloids is also present in the seeds and flowers of this plant.

Castor Bean: 

This plant is toxic because of the presence of a protein called Ricin which is harmful to both cats and dogs.

The major health issues caused by castor bean ingestion include:

  • Burning of throat and mouth
  • Increase in thirst
  • Oral irritation
  • Vomiting

Treatment for Ingestion of a Poisonous Plant

sick dog

The treatment usually depends on how long ago your dog has eaten the plant, which type of the plant was it, and how is your dog’s behavior.

If your pet has ingested any of the deadly plants listed above, immediately consult with a vet. The following first-aid-steps may also help:

  • If your dog has eaten the plant within an hour, you should induce vomit by giving him apomorphine or Hydrogen peroxide.
  • If it is longer than one hour, use activated charcoal to remove the poison from the dog’s stomach.
  • To protect the gastrointestinal tract, use IV fluids along with medications to dilute the poison and to avoid any further damage to your pet.

Pet Poisoning: Sometimes even careful use of a pesticide can cause harm to a sensitive, ill, or injured animal. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a pesticide and you need assistance, call your veterinarian or NPIC (800-858-7378).

If your pet is having difficulty breathing, is bleeding, having tremors, seizures, convulsions, or is unconscious, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control center immediately. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be contacted at 888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply. [Source]

Plants That Are Non-Toxic To Dogs:

Some plants which are safe for your dogs are listed below.

Boston fernAlyssum
Christmas cactusAlgarroba
Blue Echeveria (also known as hens and chicken plant)Alumroot
African violetAcorn daisy 
African daisy Baby Rubber Pant 
Prayer plant Areca plant 
Wax plant Spider plant and many more.

Why Do Dogs Eat Some Plants?

It’s a natural act if your dog is eating grass or any plant. Some dogs also balance the amount of fiber by consuming grass and plants.

Another reason for eating plants for a dog is that it aids in treating intestinal worms and helps in good digestion as well.

According to a report on a miniature poodle that likes to feed on grass and then vomits for seven years every day, the owner put his dog on a balanced diet containing a proper amount of fiber. 

After a few days, the owner noticed that his dog had stopped eating grass completely.

He found that some dogs eat plants to fulfill their nutritional deficiency when not provided a balanced diet. 

There might be a possibility that you aren’t providing your dog a balanced diet and because of that, he is trying to eat your plants. 

According to another report, among plants, grass is the most typically eaten plant. So we can conclude that there is also a possibility dogs love the taste of grass.

Calming Plants For Dogs

Some calming plants which your dog might like in your garden are listed below.

Hops

Hops are also known as strobiles or seed corn and they are beneficial for stressed dogs. 

Lavender

A tiny amount of lavender helps in reducing pressure and aids in improving nervous conditions. However, if consumed more than enough, it can cause health issues in dogs. 

Catnip

Catnip is a calming plant that helps in relaxing your pet and enables playfulness.

Marigold

Marigold proves to be beneficial for those dogs which are experiencing grief or any type of emotional stress.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows are used to help animals with stomach issues.

Willow Plants

The animals which are suffering from any pain may like the bark of willow plants.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is beneficial for those dogs which show aggressive behavior, seem nervous sometimes, or anxious.

Other calming plants for dogs include camellia, rosemary, snapdragon, peppermint, etc.

Do Dogs Like To Sleep in Plant Pots?

Dog in plant pot

Dogs will sleep in potted plants because the dog sees it as safe and comfortable. Dogs can be very territorial and plant pots can provide a very welcoming area for dogs to rest. However, potted plants are not designed for dogs, and having a dog in a plant pot for too long can cause damage to the plant and the soil.

Some dogs love to find shelter in plant pots. There are many reasons why they do so.  Dogs might find the plant pot safe and comfortable for them. That’s why they like to sleep over there.

Some dogs tend to sleep in cool places in hot weather. This is another reason that dogs like to sleep in plant pots.

Plant pots can be a welcoming bed for dogs to sleep in because cool soil brings them comfort and pleasure. 

Our detailed article on dogs sleeping in plant pots goes deeper into this topic and gives safe solutions to prevent them.

Can Potting Soil Harm Dogs

Yes, potting soil can harm dogs.

It is best to discourage dogs from eating potting soil. Potting soil is specially formulated soil that contains ingredients made for plants with specific needs when grown in pots or containers. 

The constituents of potting soil are dangerous to dogs and cause a variety of ailments when ingested.

Some dogs may start to see signs of ingestion a few minutes after the potting soil is eaten which may last a couple of hours and other dogs may see signs sometime after it is eaten and the effects may last for up to three days. 

Potting soil and dogs infographic

Dogs Drinking from Plant Saucer

Dogs will drink from whatever water source they find if they have no other option. Sometimes dogs may drink out from a plant saucer because of the ease of access to water.

A simple fix to this is to have a personalized water bowl for the dog that always has a supply of clean drinking water so that there would not be the need to venture out and drink from somewhere foreign.

See our article on dogs drinking from plant saucer which elaborates on the safety considerations and easy solutions on how to prevent them.

9 Tips for Creating a Dog Friendly Garden

1. Placing Pots On Heights

Placing the plant pot on a height prevents the dog from easily accessing the plant. 

The height itself creates a barrier for the dog. The dog now has to put in extra effort in accessing the plant and would rethink its decision as it poses a risk of getting harmed. 

Caution must be taken when putting a plant on a height in order to curb a bad habit. 

The dog may attempt to access the plant and in doing so can topple it over causing harm to both the dog and the plant.

You should ensure that the plant is properly secured on the height to prevent any potential casualties.

2. Using a Physical Barrier

There are very many tools that a person can use as a barrier such as a perforated bucket, or fence with wires and sticks. 

You can use old nets to cover the plant. This denies the dog access to the plant. It gives it zero chances of using the pot so it will go to some other place. 

Doing this is very important especially if you are away during the day or not monitoring the dog.

3. Using a Dog Repellant

The function of the repellant works in a way that it produces a scent that is not enjoyable to dogs. 

This method works well on stray animals, especially if you have potted plants on the outside areas of your home.

To the dog, it is an odor. dogs will not rest in a place that smells unpleasant as the odor will keep the dog away from the pot.

Also planting smaller plants with high pungent odors will also help deter the dog’s actions when seeking refuge in the plant pot. 

Using chili pepper, citrus fruits, coffee grounds, and vinegar is a good way of creating some unpleasant odors for the dog

4. Provide Enough Space for the Dog

Dogs are very territorial and everything from the floor to the ceiling is seen as its own. 

If you provide a comfortable space for your dog to play and rest, the dog will not venture into your plant pot seeking a resting place as it will have its own.

In addition, the space provided for the dog will cause it to feel more secure and confident and will not seek out other places to sleep.

5. Moving the Pot to Another Area

Relocating the planter to another area is also an option. 

The dog may have found the current area where the plant is located is very conducive to sleep. 

Relocating the plant can break the normal routine and environmental conditions the dog is accustomed to when it ventures into the plant pot. 

Pro tip: Placing the plant in a separate room and banning the dog from going into the room is probably the most effective method of prevention.

6. Create a Play Area for the Dog

To keep dogs from lurking around in the plant pots, create their own play area. This will certainly serve as a distraction for the dog.

If the dog is very territorial the play area will be like a safe place for the dog and would take the dog’s mind away from the safe haven it once sought in the potted plant.

7. Use Lava Rocks as Mulch

Lava rocks provide a protective cover for the plant-soil while preventing the dog from sleeping on it. 

The lava rock is jagged in nature and makes uncomfortable bedding for the dog to lay. As a result, this would deter any dog from venturing into any potted plant. 

You can check out and compare lava rock on amazon here.

8. Use a Bright Light

Keep a bright light shining onto the base of the plant. 

When seeking a place to sleep a bright light can help deter the habit by producing an unfavorable habit for the dog.

The light must be kept at the base in order not to affect the plant’s circadian rhythm.

9. Use Distractive Toys

Placing toys that the dog may like away from the plant pot can also provide an effective distraction.

Having the dog play with the toys away from the plant will help break the habit of sleep in the plant as it will become exhausted after its playtime and just sleep where the toys are placed.

The Takeaway:

To conclude, dogs like plants for various reasons. However, it is your duty not to let them eat plants that are toxic or harmful to them. 

If your dog has ingested one of the plants listed in this article then you may need to take immediate action to prevent any possible harm to your dog. 

As stated in this article, If your pet is having difficulty breathing, is bleeding, having tremors, seizures, convulsions, or is unconscious, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control center immediately. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be contacted at 888-426-4435.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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