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How to Grow a Pet-Friendly Vegetable Garden

As part of my quest to feed my dogs natural, healthy, and grain-free treats, I have taken to giving them fresh and dehydrated vegetables as snacks. Each year, we also plant a garden, which got me thinking about pet specific plants. While many people often strive to keep pets out of the garden, why not plant a garden full of plants that are safe and healthy for your pet and let your cat or dog do a bit of supervised grazing?

Photo Credit: Oakley Originals 

A garden for your pet can be as simple as a few containers with pet-friendly plants, or as complex as large raised beds full of pet-safe choices. With spring finally here, now is the time to start planning! Here are some considerations for making a vegetable garden for your pet and plants that are safe for your pet to eat.

1. Containers

If you want your pet to be able to freely graze in the garden, choose containers that are an appropriate height. For making raised beds, be cautious about building materials. For example, it is advisable to avoid use of pressure treated wood which can leech toxins into the soil. If you do not want your pet to have access to the garden, perhaps because you have plants that you don’t want them to get into, then good fencing is in order. We put a decorative fence up around our garden to keep the corgis out of the green tomatoes.

2. Fertilizers and Pesticides

If your pet will be grazing directly from the garden, extra caution should be taken regarding the use of pesticides and fertilizers. I prefer to grow plants as organically as possible, using compost as fertilizer and foregoing the use of any pesticides.

 Photo Credit: Nociveglia

3. Plants Your Pet Can Eat:

The following are great plants that your pet can eat.

  • Asparagus
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots 
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Peas (I like the ones with edible pods)
  • Potato (cooked)
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Strawaberries
  • Squash
  • Watermelon (preferably seedless)

However, avoid these plants, which can be toxic to your pet:

  • Avocado
  • Aloe Vera  
  • Eggplant  
  • Garlic 
  • Grapes  
  • Mushroom  
  • Onion 
  • Potato (spouts, vines, unripe tubers) 
  • Rhubarb 
  • Tomato (foliage, vine, green fruit). I let my dogs have fully ripe cherry tomatoes in moderation.

Sources: The American Dog Magazine and Pawnation (covering berries). If you have a cat, you might also want to grow catnip and you can also grow wheatgrass for your pet to nibble on.

My dogs’ favorite snacks are carrots, zucchini squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans. My corgi Eve will grab green beans on the vine and pull and pull until they come off, which is fairly amusing to watch! In the above photo, she is taking a taste of a zucchini.

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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