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Plants Dogs Hate And Some They Don’t But Should (119 To Be Exact)

plants dogs hate

Knowing what plants dogs hate is a good start to keeping them out of your garden. Do you have a problem with a dog trampling your flowers and peeing on your bushes? Or maybe you saw a cool flower you want in your flower garden, but your dog tends to chew on your flowers? Better keep reading (I’m going to shed some light on the subject, don’t worry).

Before you buy that flower that could stop your dogs’ heart, or before you shoot the dog for trampling your flowers, read on to find out how to deter the dog safely, and how not to accidentally kill your pooch with a poisonous flower.

Some dogs love gardens. Learn what plants dogs hate to keep them out.
Some dogs love getting into the garden.

Jer’s Tip: At the end of this article is my favorite way to keep dogs off my lawn and garden. It doesn’t hurt them and helps my plants. Read on to find out.

What Dogs Don’t Like

Dogs don’t care for the smell of marigolds, citrus fruits like lemon or orange. Plants dogs hate include mostly strong-smelling flowers. Dogs also dislike the smell of vinegar. However, be careful with vinegar. If you are using vinegar near plants, it will kill many types of plants and is actually used as a herbicide to rid your lawn of weeds.

We’ve discovered the truth about marigolds, but what other secrets lie in wait for us to discover about plants dogs hate? Not only are there other things to find out about what plants dogs hate, but also we’ll take a look at some common plants that can stop your dog’s heart, or kill them with an agonizing and painful death.

In the interest of saving our loved furry friends from a gruesome death, let’s take a look down the rabbit hole and see just how far it goes, shall we? After all, not all plants dogs hate are ones they know will kill them.

Stinky Scents Humans Like and Dogs Hate

We all know that those wet noses have some superhero-like abilities to sniff things out. I wonder, what’s with dogs not liking the smells we like? A fine example comes to mind that is a perfect example of the difference between dogs and humans, not like the butt-sniffing isn’t enough right? And here it is.

A few weeks ago, my plumbing backed up in the basement. Luckily, we caught it in time but what a foul, evil smell. I turn my back for no more than a few seconds and there’s my little sweet Yorkie, face in the sewage, lapping it up.

Aside from the fact that I almost lost my lunch, I pulled the dog away from the foulness to clean her up and she wanted to go back for more. NASTY! But it’s a prime example that dogs often smell something we don’t (and I’m quite thankful that this is the case).

Flowers And The Plants Dogs Hate Most

Let’s talk about flowers now. Certainly, most humans enjoy a nice mild scented flower, in fact so many humans like the scent of most flowers that it is a booming business and a requirement of many a human tradition. Ever go to a wedding that didn’t have any flowers?

My point is that people like the smell of flowers very much. Many dogs, however, rather dislike the smell of many flowers. Some more than others obviously.

In my experience, the smellier the flower bed, the less likely my dog would go into or near it. I found that when my beds were in full bloom, my dog seemed genuinely disinterested and typically maintained a relative distance. Does this mean that all flowers qualify as plants dogs hate?

Or does it mean that plants dogs hate includes flowers? My theory is that due to the dog’s super abilities of smell, that a stinky flower bed would be the equivalent of a person with a headache going to a loud rock concert. I think the really strong smells are overpowering for a dog’s sensitive ability to sniff things out. Just my theory, but it seems to stand to logical reason as well as my own personal observations.

So, it may not be one or two types of flowers that equate to plants dogs hate. It may be a collective of scents or larger flower beds are the real answer and it isn’t plants dogs hate, it’s the overpowering scents of flowers. Again, just my theory. I’d love to hear what you think (in the comments below).

A yellow marigold flower is shown in this file photo.
Most dogs really dislike the smell of marigolds.

Plants Dogs Hate – Marigolds

One of the known flowers that dogs will turn their nose from is the marigold. A common gardeners trick is to sew marigolds between rows of other flowers or vegetables as the marigolds not only deter dogs but actually deter some pests like some types of beetles as well. My dog at home (the sewage Yorkie as I now call her) happens to dislike the smell of lavender.

My wife and I planted multiple lavender bushes around the yard as both of us really like the smell. However, our Yorkie doesn’t. She will steer clear of the lavender unless she’s trying to get her ball and it has happened to roll nearby. I’ve also heard that dogs are not fans of citronella but I have had no personal experience with that in particular.

Most importantly, to note, a stubborn dog will likely plow through nearly any plant you put in its way, especially if there is a squirrel involved. The best plants I have found to keep dogs at bay are bushy plants with either thorny limbs or rigid branches that the dog finds to be a nuisance to push through.

Let’s Spice This Up

Hot peppers can keep critters out of gardens. Sprinkle cayenne in the garden to keep out a variety of pests.

Have you ever heard of pepper spray? Pepper spray is made from capsaicin which is made from peppers basically. If you’ve ever put something super spicy in your mouth, you know that spicy foods can cause rather irritating reactions like watering eyes, burning mouth, sweating and even burning in your nose. Now imagine if you sniffed, for instance, pepper (NOT recommended!). Well, rest assured, dogs aren’t huge fans of burning mouth and watery eyes either.

If you want to keep dogs out of your garden, try mixing mustard with pepper and sprinkle around your garden soil. This mix works great to keep a dog from the garden. The dog will sniff this mix once and steer clear after that. The only issue with this mixture is it is only really effective in dry climates because the rain tends to wash away your spice mix.


Certainly, if you live in a climate where rain is moderate, such as England, then the spice trick may give way to a good old fashioned fence. This is also true for colder outdoor climates as snow will bury spices just as rain will wash them away.

If you live in a drier climate such as the southern United States or Australia (most of) then likely you can use the spice mix to deter dogs from your garden. Keep the spice mix on the ground though, some plants don’t care for spice on their leaves, especially when wet.

I’ve also used cayenne pepper as well on gardens to deter dogs and other critters and like the mustard/pepper mix, cayenne works quite effectively but must be re-applied regularly which can get costly, but hey it works right?

With many types of peppers, if you’re going to use them in your garden again be careful not to put too much and also to make sure you keep it off the leaves of your plants. Therefore, a good trick is to make a ‘fence’ out of the pepper.

Sprinkle the pepper in a line about a foot wide around the perimeter of your garden. Unless the dog is in full-blown running mode, it will likely be nose to the ground, it will sniff up some pepper and therefore wish it hadn’t gone anywhere near your garden.

Fish And Chips And …

Did someone say Vinegar?

Vinegar. I do love a nice fresh dish of french fries with salt and vinegar. But your pooch may not care for it. I’ve read that dogs are not fans of the scent of vinegar. Strange though because my sewage Yorkie will eat french fries sprinkled in vinegar.

As the tale goes, vinegar is a strong scent that deters dogs. I read that you can sprinkle vinegar to stop dogs from peeing in a particular place. Again, I don’t believe this to be true.

I’ve used vinegar in an attempt to stop my dog from peeing in the house, or rather anywhere in the house other than the dogs training pad. It does not appear as though vinegar deters dogs except to maybe turn their nose away if you were to have fresh vinegar out. Besides, I think most people would turn their nose when a strong scent of vinegar hits the old nostrils.

In terms of my Yorkie, and actually also my last dog which was a mutt as well, vinegar did not seem to be effective. I have read in multiple places however that vinegar is quite effective. Certainly, I recommend that you try it and let me know if you have any success.

Plants That Kill

Dogs don’t like some smells but there are many plants they don’t know are bad for them out there in the outdoors. They might eat these plants and it could kill them, literally. Keep an eye out for any of these plants if you have a dog in your life.

There is a ludicrous amount of plants that are poisonous to dogs. I was reading on a pretty reliable site: who has a really cool tool to see poisonous plants for dogs, cats, and horses. It’s like 410 pages long. Obviously, I’m not going to list them all here.

So I went through the list and pulled out some common plants that are poisonous to dogs. Actually, there are also many types of wood that are poisonous to dogs. Most importantly, I have to say, I was quite surprised by some of the plants on this list.

Plants Poisonous to Dogs

Warning: These plants can cause illness and even death so don’t let your dog near any of these, please.

  • Aloe
  • Apple
apple tree
Apple Trees and dogs shouldn’t mix.
  • Apricot
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Bishop’s Weed
  • Black Nightshade
  • Branching Ivy
  • Buckwheat
  • Buttercup
  • California Ivy
  • Caraway
  • Carnation
pink carnations and dogs don't mix
Keep your pooch and carnations apart.
  • Castor Bean Plant
  • Chamomile
  • Cherry
  • Chives
  • Clematis
  • Corn Plant
  • Cow Parsnip
  • Cutleaf Philodendron
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil
  • Dahlia
  • Daisy
Flowering of daisies. Oxeye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare, Daisies, Dox-eye, Common daisy, Dog daisy, But don’t let the name fool you. Don’t mix dogs and daisies.
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dracaena
  • Elephant Ears
  • English Holly
  • Eucalyptus
  • Feather Geranium
  • Fig
  • Foxglove
  • Gardenia
  • Garlic
  • Geranium
  • Golden Bird’s Nest
  • Grapefruit
a bowl of grapefruit
Grapefruit and your pooch don’t mix.
  • Hellebore
  • Holly
  • Hops
  • Horseweed
  • Hosta
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Jade Plant
  • Klamath Weed
  • Lambkill
  • Laurel
  • Lavender
  • Leek
  • Lemon
  • Lemon Grass
  • Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley
Keep those pooches clear of Lily Of The Valley also.
  • Lime
  • Maidens Breath
  • Marijuana
  • Marjoram
  • Mayweed
  • Medicine Plant
  • Milkweed
  • Mint
  • Mistletoe
  • Morning Glory
  • Mother of Millions
  • Nightshade
  • Onion
  • Orange
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peace Lily
  • Peach
  • Periwinkle
  • Plum
  • Poinsettia
  • Poison Hemlock
poison hemlock
Conium maculatum, the hemlock or poison hemlock is no good for any pets or people so keep clear.
  • Primrose Ragwort
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb
  • Satin Pothos
  • Schefflera
  • Shamrock Plant
  • Silver Dollar
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Snake Plant
  • St.John’s Wort
  • Sweet Pea
sweet pea
Beautiful sweet pea flowers are great in the garden, bad for your dog. Keep them apart.
  • Taro
  • Tarragon
  • Tobacco
  • Tomato Plant
  • Tulip
  • Vinca
  • Winterberry
  • Yarrow
  • Yew
  • Yucca

A Few Thoughts On Poisonous Plants

So, that pretty much lists all the fruit in my house, at least half of the flowers in my garden and probably half the flowers along my daily route where I walk my dog. However, not all of these will kill your dog. For instance, Marijuana will make your dog rather sick, but unless he/she eats a big bag of your stash, it’s not likely to cause death. That said, if your dog ever ingests any, it’s best to get them to a vet immediately, just in case.

Compare that to Foxglove though. Foxglove aka Digitalis aka dead man’s bells or witch’s gloves has some rather potent and deadly glycosides. Thanks to Wikipedia for the info on deadly digitalis. Therefore, you don’t want your dog chomping down on that one so be careful what your pooch eats out there.

To Sum It Up

Dogs dislike strong-smelling flowers, most importantly marigolds and citrus fruit smell. Vinegar also is unpleasant to most dogs but can kill certain plants so it should be used with caution.

Certainly, the best solution to keeping dogs out of your garden is a fence but you can also try sprinkling pepper on the ground where you don’t want the dog to go, but this is only good in dry climates because you have to re-apply the peppers after rain for obvious reasons.

There is a multitude of plants that are poisonous to dogs, and a sample list above shows some of the more common plants you may find in your kitchen, grocery or garden stores. In short, be cautious if you have a dog and see any of these plants.

If you have any suggestions or experiences with dogs disliking a particular smell or flower, please put a comment below and share your experience. Similarly, if you know of any common plants poisonous to dogs that you think I should include here, leave me a comment below.

A few tips before you go?

Jer’s Tip: Favorite Methods Of Keeping Dogs Out Of Gardens & Lawns

I like Garden Enforcer. It’s handy, doesn’t hurt the dog, and waters the lawn and garden at the same time. And this will keep cats, skunks, all manner of creatures who don’t want to get sprayed with cold water away.

Anything that moves can set off the Garden Enforcer. And no neighbor can say anything unless it’s cold enough outside to freeze in which case you aren’t likely to have the hose out anyway. Just plop this thing in the area you want to protect, set it up, hook up a hose and you’re done.

Garden fencing is a sure-fire way to keep out critters.

Of course, there’s always some nice fence if all else fails. This decorative fence from Amazon comes in 27″ x 11′ packs, and I think it looks decent enough. Plant some lovely flowering vines to climb through it, and in a few years, you’ll have a green fence covered in flowers. Remember if you want plants dogs hate, using a bunch of flowers seems to do the trick.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my article and found it useful. Let me know what you think in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

More With Farmer Jer

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