Flowers are a beautiful way to brighten a room and add cheerful touches to outdoor landscaping. A dog's inquisitive nature may lead him to nibble on colorful blooms or try to supplement his diet with fresh enzymes from the living plant. When considering adding flowers to your home or garden, you'll find a wide range of flowering plants both you and your dog can enjoy without any worries.
In the House
Not only do flowering houseplants cheer up a room and bring a touch of nature indoors, they help purify the air inside the house. Make sure houseplants are inaccessible to dogs while you are out of the house by containing your dog in a crate or other area where houseplants are inaccessible, as dirt from the plants can be difficult to clean up and leave stains on furniture and carpet. Bromeliads are easy to care for and come in 391 varieties and every imaginable color. Mature plants produce pups, which can be transplanted into their own pots to produce additional blooms. Christmas cactus and African violets are two more easy-to-grow choices. Traditional cacti, such as prickly pear, deter canine curiosity with large spines and break out in large, colorful blooms each spring when kept near a sunny window.
In the Yard
With a little planning, you can create a flower garden that will invite butterflies into sunny areas and bring both color and fragrance with no worries about toxicity to your dog. Annuals last one growing season and can include zinnias, cosmos, snapdragons and petunias. For flowers that come back year after year, choose perennials such as phlox, coneflower, columbine or bee balm. Roses are another non-toxic choice that not only bring color to your garden, but thorns will usually deter your dog from using the plant for a chew toy. Another fragrant choice are all varieties of jasmine, just make certain to choose a "true" jasmine) Begonias, impatiens and violets are among flowering plants that do well in the shade with no worries of poisoning your pet.
Flowers can be a great way to send congratulations, condolences or celebratory wishes to a loved one, but if the recipient has dogs, go with a non-toxic selection to eliminate any chance of your good wishes turning to a bad experience should the dog take a taste of the bouquet. Classics such as roses and orchids are readily-available pet-friendly choices at floral shops. Peruvian or Brazilian lily, which is not a true member of the toxic lily family, can be substituted for toxic varieties. Make sure the florist knows that you want a pet-friendly arrangement, and she can assist you in making non-toxic choices.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
If you're not sure if a flower that your dog has access to is poisonous, consult the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center website where you can search for plants in its toxic and not-toxic plant database. You'll need to know the common or scientific name of your plant, as plants are alphabetized over numerous pages, but clear pictures of the flowers and plants are provided to help ensure positive identification. The database is also a great way to check out plants you are considering planting in your garden or bringing into your home.
By J.T. O'Connell
About the Author
A former world-class swimmer, J.T. O'Connell shares her love of adventure travel, extreme sports and pets through thousands of published articles. O'Connell studied journalism at Grand Canyon University, and brings professional experience as a tour guide and travel consultant. She authors the blog, Traveling With Large Dogs.