Pets can be a challenge for keen gardeners but there are great opportunities to watch your cat climbing or your dog searching for hidden treats with no dug-up flowerbeds.
Safety is obviously paramount. Fences and gates must be secure so dogs can’t escape. For rabbits a secure run with a shelter on the lawn is best so your pet is safe from predators and can’t nibble garden plants. Few gardeners welcome slugs and snails and they can infect pets with lungworm. But slug pellets can be toxic – including some described as “safe” – so stick to using barriers like soot, sharp sand or beer traps.
Avoid plants that are dangerous to pets
Some plants are so dangerous that they are best avoided. Lilies – the leaves, flowers and pollen – are highly poisonous to cats even in miniscule quantities. Most crocuses are a good alternative for spring colour to daffodils, which are toxic, but avoid colchicums or autumn crocuses which can also be poisonous. Bluebells can be too, but severe poisoning is rare. Most plants that grow from bulbs and most evergreens are poisonous for rabbits.
Choose robust plants but beware of thorns, especially at eye level. Many herbs, including rosemary, lavender and sage are good, safe choices. Other safe plants which are fairly resilient and can recover from damage include African daisy, calendula and nasturtium.
You could create a scented garden, as some animals enjoy honeysuckle and lavender. Many cats like catnip or catmint. Not all are sensitive to the effects but the plant is sometimes chosen as a sleeping cushion.
The plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables listed below are poisonous to cats, dogs, or both animals.
Those in bold are potentially fatal, so please take care to avoid these.