The Do’s and Don’ts of a Dog-Friendly Garden


Most dog owners know that having a dog means occasionally acquiescing to the chaos that is pet ownership. They’ll make their way into the home (if they weren’t allowed immediately), onto the couches, into the fountains, dig around the corners of the yard, and-- yes-- they’ll get into your garden.

Of course, there are certain precautions you can take to keep your pups from tearing through your garden and eating veggies that could upset their stomachs-- mainly using raised beds to make it more difficult for them to access.

But just as they weasel their way onto our couches, there will be times they successfully get into our gardens as well, which is why it’s good to choose dog-friendly crops and avoid those which could irritate your pup’s digestive tract (or worse-- cause them severe harm). Remember, just because a food item is labeled “natural,” or even if we grow it ourselves, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for our dogs.

According to the ASPCA, organic substances such as, “ricin, oleander, and strychnine are all natural, but they are all also serious toxins that can be fatal to our furry friends.” Therefore, it’s important to plant a dog-friendly garden; we’ll outline what you should include in your vegetable bed and which plants you should avoid.

Doggy Garden Don’ts:

  • Tomatoes: fully-ripened tomatoes can be okay for dogs, but leaves, stems, and unripened green tomatoes contain a substance called solanine. Too much solanine consumption can lead to an upset stomach, loss of coordination, and tremors.

  • Citrus: citric acid can irritate a dog’s nervous system.

  • All plants from the Allium Family: these vegetables contain allium, which can cause severe damage to the red blood cells of dogs (and cats). This could lead to vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and in severe cases, organ failure and death.

    • Onions

    • Garlic

    • Leeks

    • Chives

  • Avocados: while these trees won’t be part of your raised bed, as a native Californian, I thought I should note that avocados contain a substance called “persin,” which can be toxic to dogs. Avoid growing these in or near your garden for your pup’s sake!

Doggy Garden Do’s:

  • Broccoli: healthy, but in moderation-- too much fiber can cause gastric irritation for dogs

  • Brussel Sprouts: the same as the broccoli. Healthy, but excess can cause puppy gas!

  • Carrots: these are high in beta-carotene, and crunching on these treats is good for your dog’s teeth!

  • Cucumbers: these low-calorie snacks are great for overweight dogs. Plus, they’ve been known to boost energy levels.

  • Green beans: these are great for dogs. Canned green beans can have an excess of sodium, however, so grow them yourself!

  • Spinach: in general, spinach is fine for your dog in moderate amounts (a couple baby leaves). It contains oxalic acid, which can only affect your dog if it’s consumed in very large amounts, so don’t overdo it.

  • Sweet potatoes: these are best for your pooch if they’re washed, peeled, and cooked.

  • Cauliflower: this is a great snack for your dogs, cooked or raw. The vitamins and antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and help older pets with arthritis.

  • Lettuce: lettuce leaves can help keep your pet hydrated as it adds water to their diet.

Just remember to not season any of the fruits or veggies for your furry friend.

If you need a little help getting started, check out how Avalow’s Grow Team can assist you in making your perfect garden. Happy planting!