Creating a dog-friendly garden

Playtime in the garden with your dog is great fun for both of you. Find out how to make your garden dog-safe, fun & practical to enjoy together!

A safe place

Before you let your dog out into the garden, think about how secure it is. Look for any gaps in fences and hedges that could be tempting for a dog to investigate and dig, making sure they're high enough to stop your dog from jumping over.

Sadly, the recent increases in dog theft is another critical factor in ensuring your dog is safe, isn't visible, and isn't inadvertently 'advertised,' e.g., with an 'I live here, please close the gate' sign.

Dog-friendly plants

When planning your garden, spend time finding out about the plants that are non-toxic and safe for your dog or puppy. Safe flowers and plants include roses and honeysuckle - and many more, but some of the most common garden plants are toxic to dogs, including daffodils and tomato plants – read here for further information. If you think your dog has consumed any poisonous plants, contact your vet immediately for advice.

Making your garden fun!

As well as eliminating poisonous plants from your garden, think about which plants will stand up to dogs running through them, lying on them, and generally having fun! 

Perhaps you can include paths for an easier route through the garden? Or create raised beds to offer protection for your more delicate plants. You could even make a dog play area using sand or bark. And if you have space, why not leave areas of uncut grass too, this is not only great for insects and wildlife - it provides a lovely cool place for your dog to lie.

If your dog is a water-lover, think about a shallow paddling pool for cooling down when the weather's warm. Drinking water and shade are essential; make sure their water is changed frequently, so it's always clean and fresh. 

If you're a busy keen gardener, consider what your dog can do for stimulation while you're hard at work. Perhaps you could hide their dinner around the garden, give them a stuffed Kong-type toy to chew, or use a lickimat. Dogs also love having their own den in the garden - under a bush, in a purpose-built shelter - just somewhere they can pop in and out of when they like.

Dog safe garden tips

  • Never let your dog eat slugs or snails. Infected slugs and snails can cause your dog to contract lungworm. Additionally, they may have consumed slug pellets, which are highly toxic to dogs
  • Keep any sheds or outbuildings secure – particularly if you are storing any chemicals, fuel, or dangerous tools
  • Avoid using any chemicals on your plants or in ponds to prevent the possibility of your dog accidentally eating or drinking anything they shouldn’t
  • If you have a compost bin, keep it secure and closed – your dog might be tempted to investigate decomposing food, some of which could be harmful
  • Tidy up clippings and garden debris promptly when gardening
  • Regularly pick up acorns and conkers during the autumn

Find out more by visiting

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.