Article by Elizabeth Bublitz at Pet Friendly Landscapes in Golden, CO.
Native Plantings for a Pawfriendly Landscape ™
Ahhh, spring is here which means we will all be outside soon digging in the gardens or creating new ones. As a Colorado native, I’m aware of the importance of xeriscape gardens. I’m also aware of creating beautiful yet functional yards based on dog’s habits while making certain their yards are safe. This means I must know safe native plants for dogs in our dry, arid climate.
Some of the most common native plants used in gardens yet can be toxic are:
Black Eyed Susan: All parts are toxic, especially the flower.
Blue Flax: Foliage and seed pods are toxic.
Delphinium (Larkspur): All parts but especially young plants, sprouts and seeds are toxic. Symptoms include GI upset, cardiovascular is affected, nervousness, dermatitis, depression and if eaten in large quantities, cardiac failure may occur.
Lupine: All parts – mildly toxic.
Yarrow: All parts. Symptoms include GI upset, hyper salivation, depression, vomiting and diarrhea.
Non toxic substitutes: Gallardia (Blanket Flower), Coneflower, Lavender, Salvias (Sages), Columbine, Shasta Daisy, Spotted Gayfeather
Chokecherry: Leaves, cherries and pits are toxic.
Mountain Mahogany: Leaves are toxic.
Oregon Grape Holly: Leaves and berries – mild toxicity.
Yucca: All parts. Liver disease, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, drooling and seizures.
Non toxic substitutes: Rabbitbrush, Cinquefoil, Boulder Raspberry, Kinnikinnick, Mountain Ninebark
Apple, Plum, Peach and Apricot -stems, leaves, seeds – all toxic, contain cyanide and can affect the respiratory system. Wilted leaves are especially toxic.
Avocado – pits – can cause diahrea, labored breathing, GI upset, vomiting or death.
Garlic - blood toxin – anemia, GI upset, bloody urine, panting.
Hops – all parts – dogs are the only known group to be affected.
Onion – blood toxin – anemia, GI upset, bloody urine, panting.
Potato Plant– leaves and stems.
Tomato Plant – stem, leaves, green fruit.
Wild Mushrooms – check backyards for mushrooms if precipitation is high.
The best way to create a perfect backyard for both you and your dog is to plan ahead. Make sure you’re working with a landscape firm that respects and understands your dog’s behavior, is knowledgeable about toxic plants and keeping your Fido safe in his backyard. When that relationship has been established, get a master plan for your yard. A good landscape design allows you to add plant and landscape material every year rather than subtract it. Make sure the material is indestructible to your dog, afterall, he’ll be using the yard more than any other family member.
Have fun and get dirty!