Plants and dogs: we love them both, but they don’t always live in harmony, unfortunately. Houseplants kept out in the open in your house can easily become a snack, a toy, or the victim of a happy tail. In this article, we’ll discuss why your dog won’t leave your plants alone and how to fix this.
What You'll Learn Today
Why is My Dog Eating My Houseplants?
As you know, dogs are notorious for eating things that they shouldn’t. When it becomes a habit, owners have to play detective to identify the cause, which will help to deter this behavior in the future.
Here are some of the reasons why your dog might be munching on your plants:
Pica is a medical condition that involves eating inedible items. Dogs with this condition may ingest things like stones, sticks, or other plant materials that they cannot digest.
Certain dogs are more likely to develop pica due to their breed. Some dogs can develop medical issues that lead to the inability to absorb the proper nutrients from their food, leading them to eat non-food items.
A dog with an upset stomach may try to eat leaves or grass to induce vomiting and alleviate discomfort. Your dangling foliage may seem like a good candidate for this remedy.
Different dogs have various ways that they display boredom. Some get the zoomies and race around the house, some play with their furry siblings or toys, and some snack on whatever looks attractive to them – including your plants.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Destroying My Plants?
Once you’ve figured out the root cause of your dog’s destructive behavior, you can begin to strategize. There are several popular methods to deter dogs from wrecking a plant, including:
If it works, training your dog to stay away from your plants could be the solution that works best for everyone involved. Depending on what your dog already knows, you can use a few different training strategies.
If you’ve already taught your dog “no,” “leave it,” or “drop it,” then use those commands when your dog gets closer to your plants than you would like. Make sure that you give your dog plenty of praise when they obey the cue.
If your dog is still working on learning these prompts, have training treats on hand and watch them closely when they’re near the plants. The American Kennel Club has a helpful guide to teach dogs how to “leave it.”
A bored dog who needs more mental stimulation can mean trouble for your plants, among other things. Younger pups and high-energy breeds, in particular, need a lot of exercise, play, and mentally engaging activities to minimize destructive behavior.
If you notice your dog chewing or playing with your plants, try redirecting them by giving them a favorite toy or playing one of their preferred games (like tug of war). If that doesn’t work, try taking them for a walk to get some of that excess energy out.
Most dogs love to learn, and it tires them out as a bonus. There are tons of fun games you can play with your dog that will also teach them valuable skills. YouTube is a great resource for training games.
Most pet stores sell sprays designed to deter dogs from disturbing your plants or other off-limit areas in your home. Bitter apple sprays are a good candidate for this. Some pet owners report that their dog doesn’t mind the spray, though, so it may not work for every dog.
Many dog owners swear by home remedies to keep their pets safe. Dogs are known to dislike the smell of citrus, so you might be able to keep them away by spraying diluted lemon juice near the pots.
The obvious solution to keeping your dog away from your plants is to make it impossible for them to get to the plants. If the above methods fail, this could be the only viable option.
Fortunately, there are many creative, low-cost options to consider. Here’s how a lot of plant owners keep them out of reach:
- Hang your plants: You can find plant hangers at many local garden stores, home goods stores, or online. You could also try your hand at making your own macrame hanger if you’re crafty.
- Use shelves or stands: Many home goods stores also carry plant stands as well – just make sure it’s tall enough to keep your plant out of reach and stable enough so that it cannot be easily knocked over. Wall shelves are another great option to elevate plants.
- Designate a “plant room”: If you have an office or a spare bedroom that you can make off-limits to your dog, consider taking this opportunity to create your own little jungle.
Which Houseplants are Dangerous To My Dog?
If you’ve only recently started collecting houseplants, you might be surprised to learn how many of them are toxic to pets. While some simply cause mild indigestion or irritation, others can be deadly.
If you suspect your dog has been munching on your plants, it can never hurt to give your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center a call. They can tell you what symptoms to look out for.
Here are some of the most common houseplants that are toxic to dogs:
- Alocasia: Causes oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing
- Aloe: Foliage causes vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. The gel inside of the leaves is considered safe to eat.
- Syngonium: Causes oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
- Monstera deliciosa: Causes oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue, lips, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
- Heartleaf philodendron: Causes oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
- Jade plant: Causes vomiting, depression, and incoordination.
- Snake plant: Causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Peace lily: Causes oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
It’s difficult to keep your cool when your pup (or cat) destroys one of your indoor plants – especially if it’s one that was expensive or you’ve had it for a long time.
Remember that your dog can’t possibly know that something is off-limits unless you’ve taught them or it’s out of reach. If all else fails, only put non-toxic, hardy plants at dog-level.