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Dog-Friendly Trees and Shrubs

Dog watching on as a man in overalls digs in the garden

Can I own a dog and have a garden at the same time? Many people ask this question because many trees and shrubs can be toxic to dogs. However, the simplest answer to this question is YES, because plenty of plants are safe for canines. In this article, we will discuss some dog-friendly trees and shrubs that can help you keep your pup safe and garden beautiful, simultaneously.

Dog-Friendly Trees

Many trees are safe for dogs and can be planted in your home without worrying about your pooch’s wellbeing. Not only safe, but some of them are also quite friendly to dogs. Some of the most dog-friendly trees that can provide a safe place for your pup to play are listed below.

Amur Maple

Close up of a Amur Maple tree

The scientific name of these trees is “Acer ginnala”. This small tree is a part of the Aceraceae family, has deciduous leaves, and nurtures up to 20 feet. The main reason for the popularity of Amur Maple is the beautiful color of its leaves. They look particularly amazing in the autumn when they turn bright red before dropping off.

According to ASPCA, this species is quite safe and friendly for pets, especially dogs. Hence, you can plant this tree to provide a dog-friendly backyard for your pooch.

Crepe Myrtle

Close up of a hot pink Crepe Myrtle

The botanical name of Crepe Myrtle is Lagerstroemia indica and it belongs to the Lythraceae family. Mostly, these trees are grown in warmer countries. They are quite easy to maintain and can be kept pretty small through consistent pruning.

Crepe Myrtles are frequently used as ornamentals in homes and community places. This is because of their colorful flowers and attractive bark. These healthy and strong trees are not only safe for dogs but also give a dog-friendly look to your backyard.


A white Dogwood tree

The scientific title of this tree is Cornus florida. It is a member of the Cornaceae family and is non-toxic for dogs. The supreme beauty of dogwood trees stays the same throughout the year (evergreen tree). That’s the biggest reason for their popularity as people love the sight of this tree.

The best view of these trees can be observed in the spring. The combination of white and pink flowers with cheerful red berries is simply a feast for the eyes. They are very easy to maintain which is why they are more suitable for local gardens.

Honey Locust

close up of the leaves of a Honey Locust

The botanical name of this species is “Gleditsia triacanthos”, and it is a member of the Fabaceae family. Honey Locust is native to North America and grows very quickly until it reaches its maximum height (20-30 meters). Generally, these trees are grown in the saturated mud of river valleys, but they can adapt to other environments.

The chemicals of Honey Locust are useful in treating human diseases, like rheumatic swelling and cancer. Similarly, its leaves are safe for dogs and the fruits of this tree are used as livestock feed. These trees are a must-have for those dog owners who have beach houses.

Dog-Friendly Shrubs

Some dogs love to munch shrubs but the leaves (or flowers) of some species can upset your pup’s stomach. This can cause a lot of trouble for the dog as well as the owner. In extreme cases, you may need to visit the vet. Hence, it’s important to plant dog-friendly shrubs in your yard if you own a pooch. The following are some popular shrubs that are safe for canines.


Close up of a wild banana

Many people consider it a tree, but it is a hardy tropical shrub. The botanic name of a banana shrub is “Musa acuminate”. It comes from the Musaceae family and has a juicy trunk with almost 93% water. It helps in reducing the thirst needs of your dog without causing any harm to him/her.

The stem and first female flower of the banana shrub develop a cluster. All of these parts of the banana shrub are considered non-toxic for dogs.

Bamboo Palm

Close up of a Bamboo Palm

The scientific name of this palm shrub is “Chamaedorea elegans” and it is a part of the Palmae family. It is not toxic for dogs and can be safely planted in your backyard. However, it will require some room and is recommended only if you have sufficient space.

Despite its name, this flowering plant is not bamboo by any means. It requires warm temperatures to bloom, but people living in cold climates can also grow these shrubs inside their homes. It helps in increasing the humidity level in your home and keeps your dog warm. Therefore, it can become a great dog-friendly house plant (or shrub).

Golden Bells

a branch of Golden Bells

The botanical name of this species is “Forsythia” and it is a part of the Oleaceae family. This is an outstanding shrub that instantaneously lures the eyes of everyone. Some people plant these trees as ornamentals while others plant them as hedges. Hence, you can choose which of these arrangements is more suitable for you.

Golden Bells are deciduous plants, which means that most of their leaves are shed every winter. These shrubs are non-toxic to dogs and do not cause any health problems.

Feather Palm

Feather palm against a white brick wall

The methodological name of Feather Palm is Nephrolepis exaltata and it comes from the Nephrolepidaceae family. It is a hardy and solid fern which prefers fairly damp places. This is why it is considered ideal for those who live in the humid Southeast.

These trees are also suitable for small places because it only grows around 3 feet. ASPCA ranks these shrubs as non-toxic for pets, including dogs.

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