Summer Gardening And What Plants Are Safe For Your Pets

One of my favorite parts about summer time is growing fresh vegetables in the garden. I spend the springtime planning and prepping. Garden catalogs start showing up in the mailbox. Seeds are started outside in the tiny greenhouse, and we start thinking about all the fresh food that we'll have to eat. The dogs often join us outside as we do all of our garden chores, but to keep them safe we have to know what plants are toxic to pets and which ones are safe for them.
Photo of a dachshund with his head peeking out of a pile of red tomatoes and green cucumers

Garden plants that are toxic to cats and dogs: Many plants that we can eat and grow can be very dangerous to our pets. It's important that when they are outside, we watch them to ensure that they stay away from ingesting or messing around with these plants.

  • Tomatoes - The leaves, stems, and unripe tomatoes are bad for pets when ingested. 
  • Potatoes - Raw potatoes and their leaves and stems are dangerous for cats or dogs to eat.
  • Onions, Garlic, & Chives - These plants are related to daffodils and are extremely toxic to animals when eaten. Make sure your cat grass or catnip is nowhere near any of these plants.
  • Rhubarb - While the rhubarb stems aren't a big deal for our pets, the leaves are definitely a part of the plant to make sure your cats or dogs don't eat. Humans too!
  • Hops - If you're growing hops to make up a sweet home brewed beer, you should know that this plant is very toxic to our pets whether they're fresh, cooked, dried. 
Photo of a  gray striped tabby standing next to a small silver pail with green plants coming out of it looking behind her
Here are some safe garden plants for dogs and cats: There are many plants that you can have in your garden that are not toxic for your pets. This is not an extensive list, but there is so much that they can enjoy.
  • Dill - can my cat eat dill? Is parsley and basil safe for dogs? YES! Most herbs are perfectly safe for your furry friends.
  • Carrots - Our dogs LOVE carrots. The cats... eh, not so much.
  • Zucchini - What would a summer garden be without zucchinis? No worries if you pets are hanging out under their giant leaves. Ours get attacked by borer beetles every year, and then I find myself out there digging them out with a razor blade and a crochet hook. I don't normally share the ones that survive with the critters if I can help it.
  • Peas - These are found in a lot of homemade dog and cat food recipes and are sweet treats.
  • Beans - Everyone likes beans. 
  • Cucumbers - These are a nice hydrating little crunchy treat that lots and lots of dogs love. Mine turn yellow every year, because they're not getting pollinated enough, so I couldn't tell you if our dogs like them at all. I'd just like to get enough of these to make pickles out of them, honestly.
  • Ripe tomatoes - So the tomato becomes non-toxic as it ripens. We don't know if our dogs or cats like tomatoes, but it's good to know that if they decide to take a taste a ripe tomato, they'll be all good.
  • Cooked potatoes - These are another staple in homemade pet foods. Just remember that they have to be cooked!
Photo of a jack russel terrier with a yellow handled green rake in his mouth

While the summer is a great time to be outdoors with our pets, while we do things like garden, it's important to always make sure your pets are as safe as possible. When in doubt, please get in touch with your vet about the safety of a plant or vegetable if you are unsure if it's okay for them to have. With a little extra effort, the garden can be a great place to spend some time with our furry companions.


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