Pups eating raspberries.

Blue and gray Weim pups foraging for raspberries.

When planning your garden, be sure to consider which plants are toxic.

Blue and Gray Weimaraner Puppies help themselves to ripe raspberries. Aren’t Blues and Grays beautiful together?

With Spring here, I’m having gardening fever. I’m poring over my gardening books, looking through catalogs, organizing my seeds and taking daily trips to the garden center. This morning I was browsing through a book on climbing plants and I happened to read that honeysuckle is toxic. (Note, I believe that the European honeysuckles are more toxic than the American varieties.) I’m very glad I ran across this article as I had been planning on getting a honeysuckle.

Unfortunately, most catalog or garden center plant descriptions don’t include information about toxicity. Living with dogs, we need to be aware of what might be harmful and even lethal to our pets. I decided it was time to revisit my copy of Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs by Cheryl S. Smith. I reviewed the section on toxic and annoying plants. I was surprised to see that Morning Glory seeds are highly toxic and can cause death. I grew walls of Morning Glories last year and was planning on doing the same this year. I was lucky last year but I started imagining the following scenario: In Fall, the seeds start dropping into the flower bed. The cat does her business in the flower beds. Let’s say she leaves her present on top of some fallen seeds. The dogs find the poop and eat it. (Yeah, I know, gross—but I doubt I’ll ever be able to stop it. Dogs will be dogs.)

Here are a few other plants that can be toxic that you may not be aware of: Iris, Daffodils, Hydrangea, and Nicotania. It would be hard as garden lovers to get rid of all plants that are toxic and usually dogs don’t naturally eat most plants except grass. I try to consider how likely it is that they might eat something. When I was looking through my archive of photographs for this article, I ran across a photo of Ellie lying on Nicotania flowers, and another lying under a Hydrangea bush.

The Morning Glory seeds seemed too risky to me. I also think about putting my more dangerous plants in areas where the dogs are supervised. The dogs have free access to our courtyard, but the backyard and vegetable garden are supervised areas.

Puppies should always be supervised around plants as they put everything in their mouths! You may notice in the photo above, there are Iris to the left. I watched carefully that the pups didn’t chew on the Iris.

Besides plants there are other dangerous items in the garden. Fertilizers, insecticides, slug bait. I personally know someone who lost his Weimaraner to slug bait. Think of treating your garden organically and only use non-toxic treatments.

After looking over the toxic plants list in Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs I found myself re-discovering what a great book this is. I had first read it around 6 years ago when I was new to gardening. This book is essential it for anyone thinking of landscaping and gardening and how to best integrate your dog’s needs into your plans. For instance, a lot of people know that cocoa mulch is toxic to dogs, but have you thought about how Pine needles might puncture a dog’s paws or that Pinestraw might be slippery to elderly dogs? How about planning your garden paths in a way that makes sense with the dog’s natural traffic, rather than against it?

Link to information on Toxic plants for dogs: Humane Society


  1. nuzicanuz says:

    I thought my Weims were the only ones to pick berries. They would pick the RIPE blackberries and wild grapes.


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