How To Keep Dogs Away From Plants


Dog smelling a flower bush

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As a fellow dog lover and gardening enthusiast, I totally understand the struggle.

On one hand, we want our furry friends to have enrichment and excitement.

On the other, we also want to nurture our beautiful gardens and indoor plants. The good news is you can have both!

With some planning and training, you can keep your plants and pots intact while giving your dogs plenty of approved outlets for their energy.

This article will share insider tips to protect both your green thumbs and four-legged family members. Let’s get into how to keep your dogs away from indoor and outdoor plants, so everyone can live in harmony!

Why Dogs Are Attracted to Plants

How To Keep Dogs Away From Plants

Dogs have a scientific reason for being attracted to our leafy friends. Here’s why they love to dig, chew, and play with plants:

  • Scent – A dog’s nose is incredible, with up to 300 million scent receptors! Flowers, herbs, fruits, and other plants release smells that draw pups in to sniff, explore, and occasionally taste.
  • Texture – Furry paws love the feeling of soft, smooth, and fuzzy plants. Pups enjoy rubbing against, digging in, and chewing on pleasing textures.
  • Taste – Some plants simply taste good! Sweet berries, minty herbs, and crunchy veggies appeal to a dog’s palate.
  • Fun – What better way to entertain a energetic pup than letting them dig, chew, and play with an interesting new object! Plants provide mental enrichment.
  • Instinct – Modern dogs retain foraging instincts from their ancestral days as scavengers in wooded areas. They can’t resist investigating potential food sources.

Problems Caused by Dogs and Plants

As much as we love our dogs, their curiosity and excitement around plants can cause some issues:

  • Damaged plants – Digging, trampling, chewing, and rough play leads to destroyed gardens, broken branches, and uprooted houseplants. All that hard nurturing work down the drain!
  • Toxicity – Many common plants are toxic to dogs, like sago palms, azaleas, rhododendrons, and lilies. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, or even death.
  • Pesticides – Chemicals and fertilizers on outdoor plants can make dogs very sick if eaten. Always check for pet-safe products.
  • Dirt and mud – Zooming around the yard and digging leaves dirty paw prints all over your floors and furniture. More cleaning for you!
  • Vet bills – Eating unknown plants or pesticide toxicity can result in expensive emergency vet visits. Prevention is key!

Keeping your dog’s curiosity in check helps avoid these headaches. Next, we’ll get into practical solutions for protecting those precious plants, both inside and out.

Tips to Keep Dogs Away from Indoor Plants

Indoor plants boost mood and purify air, so they’re wonderful to have around.

Here are some tips to keep houseplants safe from curious canines:

How To Keep Dogs Away From Plants
  • Place plants on high shelves and windowsills, safely out of your dog’s reach.
  • Hang pots from ceilings, walls, and plant stands to keep them away from pups.
  • Add decorative rocks, pinecones, or pebbles on top of potting soil to discourage digging.
  • Try natural dog repellent sprays using scents like citrus, menthol, eucalyptus oils. Reapply frequently.
  • Only use non-toxic houseplants if you have a puppy or very determined dog, like spider plants, ponytail palms, or peperomia.
  • Block dogs from plant rooms using baby gates or closed doors.
  • Train a “leave it” command and reward with treats when they obey.

With some strategic placement and training, you can keep those indoor plants flourishing safely out of your dog’s way.

Now let’s look at protecting outdoor gardens and yards.

Tips for Protecting Outdoor Plants and Gardens

Our outdoor spaces deserve protection too! Here are great ways to keep your flowers and veggies safe from frolicking four-legged friends:

  • Fence off vegetable gardens or flower beds with decorative fencing or garden borders. Blend in with your landscape design.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers that will harmlessly startle dogs away from your off-limit zones.
  • Make areas uncomfortable for dogs to play in using plastic carpet runners spike-side up, gravel, or chicken wire.
  • Spread repellent citrus peels, vinegar, or chili pepper powder around plants. Reapply after rain washes away.
  • Plant some dog-safe greens they can nibble like mint, catnip, oregano, parsley. Give them an approved place to munch.
  • Train dogs on designated digging areas in your yard. Reward with treats when they use those approved spots.

With some clever boundaries, deterrents, and training, you can protect your outdoor oasis while keeping your pup happy.

Let Your Garden and Dogs Co-Exist in Harmony

How To Keep Dogs Away From Plants

With a little work, it’s totally possible for gardens and dogs to live in perfect harmony! Start with proper plant placement, pet-safe choices, and effective repellents.

Provide plenty of dog toys and approved digging spots to satisfy their instincts.

And be sure to train positive behaviors like “leave it” using reward-based methods.

Compromise and patience from both plant and pup parents is the key to success.

Just remember – a green thumb paired with a four-legged family member makes for a very happy home! With the right balance, you can nurture beautiful gardens and happy dogs at the same time.


What are the most dog-friendly indoor plants?

Some good indoor plants that are non-toxic for dogs include spider plants, Boston ferns, African violets, peperomia, orchids, and hoyas. Always check a plant’s safety before bringing it home.

Should I use hot pepper powder or cayenne pepper to repel dogs?

Avoid hot peppers, as they can burn a dog’s sensitive nose and eyes. Try milder deterrents like citrus peels, vinegar, or menthol sprays instead.

My dog keeps digging up my flower bulbs – help!

Place chicken wire or hardware cloth over the planted bulb area to prevent digging. Or plant bulbs surrounded by gravel or rocks so they are uncomfortable to dig in.

What are the most toxic outdoor plants for dogs?

Some very toxic outdoor plants are sago palms, azaleas, rhododendrons, lilies, daffodils, tulips, oleander, and mushroom plant varieties. Research before planting in yards with dogs.

Should I yell at my dog when he digs or chews plants?

Don’t yell or punish after the fact. It’s better to train “leave it” positively, interrupting unwanted behavior with a reward when they stop. Prevent access to plants until trained.