Poison Control for Dogs in the Garden

Puppy in the Garden
I live in a dog friendly neighborhood. When one of our canine neighbors goes outdoors, I can hear him woofing softly for everyone else to come out and play. Without fail, at least one other mutt will rise to the challenge and con his owner into letting him out where both dogs will commence to barking like crazy. If there are other dogs in their respective yards, it'll become a barkfest of epic proportions. They sound like a marauding pack of feral dogs from one of those post-apocalyptic movies.

It's all in good fun -- I'm pretty sure. In the middle of a lazy weekend afternoon, it's kind of amusing; in the middle of the night, it's a light sleeper's worst nightmare.

Their antics have started me thinking about dogs and garden threats in general. If you own a dog, pass on the cocoa mulch, it can be poisonous to your pooch. Eucalyptus mulch is a good bet, though, because it will help keep fleas under control.

Dog Poisons in the Garden

You should steer clear of herbal shampoo recipes that use pennyroyal. You can find them in some old books and on a few websites because pennyroyal repels fleas too. It's a member of the mint family and seems innocuous enough, but it's a big no-no. Dogs have been known to die from skin exposure and ingesting of pennyroyal.

Another couple of herbs you should watch out for if you have dogs are comfrey and garlic. They can cause liver damage if ingested. There's some confusion about garlic because some experts recommend garlic as an additive to a dog's diet (also a flea deterrent). In small amounts, it's probably pretty safe, but keep the dosage to about 1/8 of a teaspoon of garlic powder a few times a week. If your dog is a digger and the idea of digging and munching on garlic bulbs may appeal to him, keep your garlic patch away from his enclosure. [source: Tilford]

Many garden flowers and landscape plants are dangerous to dogs that love to snack on greenery, so play it safe by checking out the ASPCAs toxic plant list for more information about common plant hazards for both dogs and cats: ASPCA - Poison Plant Page

Keep this number on your refrigerator too: (888) 426-4435. It's the hotline number for the national pet poison control center. There's a $65.00 fee for the call, but if you think your pet's life may be in jeopardy, having the number close by could be a lifesaver.


Tilford, Gregory. "All You Ever Wanted to Know About Herbs for Pets." Bow Tie Press. 1999.


  1. Great post. Don't forget that onions are dangerous for dogs and cats too.

    I've had to do some major adjustments to my cooking, as our dog usually gets some of whatever we're having for dinner.

    The CRITTER Project and Naked Without A Pen

  2. Lemur,

    Yes! Onions are a danger too. Thanks for the reminder.


  3. I have been searching for some natural ways to keep fleas and ticks away. I am glad I didn't go with anything that has pennyroyal. What I have found and seems to be confirmed by multiple sources is the use of Rose Geranium essential oil. Any thoughts?

  4. Over 30,000 common garden plants are poisonous... And that includes many weeds that you don't even plant ... Dogs, and people for that matter are unlikely to ver ingest significant quantities of any of these, but there is very little you can do to make an environment fully safe... That is just life !


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