We tend to hear a lot about plants that are toxic to our four-legged family members, but not so much about plants that are beneficial for them. We all know that cats love catnip, but did you know that when ingested it acts as a sedative and reduces anxiety, stress, and depression? It can also reduce stomach pain and bloat. We have catnip growing around the garden and I’ve seen our cats help themselves and it’s rather entertaining to watch them in the catnip patch.

As I started to research plants for this topic I came across an article regarding a sensory garden for your pets.  Essentially, it’s a garden designed with your dog’s nose in mind. These enrichment gardens got their start at animal shelters that were looking for ways to de-stress dogs who were cooped up in kennels and they showed that as nervous dogs would explore the garden, they would calm down as it provides a place for them to exercise and explore.

I’m thinking next season I’ll put some plants in pots and place them around the yard where our dogs run around like the maniacs they are – then I can easily move them about and they can be changed out easily. I’ve also seen our dogs dig out our Jerusalem Artichoke 20 minutes after it was planted. It’s a large yard, so they have plenty of space to dig, but I will try mint in the ground in their yard as nothing seems to kill mint. So, other than mint, what else could be grown to create your pet’s sensory garden?

Try to grow seasonally so things are changed up frequently.

Chamomile and lavender can help calm a dog who sniffs or eats the plants.

Rosemary and mint can energize a dog who sniffs the plants, and bonus: if they eat the mint, their breath will smell better. If you need to include your feline friend, substitute mint for catnip. It’s always a favourite.

Barley grass aids in digestion and we often find dogs eat grass when their tummies hurt. Barley grass is packed with nutrients and minerals and is a good variety to plant to satisfy your doggo’s urge to use nature as a medicine cabinet.

These are just a few suggestions.

Maybe add a little texture in to get your pups thinking about the ground on which they walk on.

Consider adding in some:

Guess I have the winter to make a plan on what we’ll add into the yard this spring for our furry friends.

Our dogs are young, around 2-years-old, so they also love space to run around to chase each other; but the yard is rather plain and some potted plants and herbs might be nice for everyone.

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