How to Pick Plants to Avoid Allergies in Your Pets

Make your garden completely pet safe

As spring approaches, everyone is eager to brighten their garden with colorful flowers, trees, and lush green grass. However, before decorating their yards, pet owners need to take several precautions to ensure that their gardening products, as well as their spring blooms, aren’t allergic or poisonous to their furry companions.

Just like humans, pets are also susceptible to allergies. If left untreated, allergies can lead to chronic infections or more complicated conditions like lick granuloma or dermatitis. This article will disclose to you how to pick plants to avoid allergies in your pets.


How to Pick Plants to Avoid Allergies in Your Pets

Pet allergies can originate from a variety of plants of different kinds including indoor plants, outdoor plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees.

There are two types of allergies in pets including inhalant allergy and contact allergy.

Keep animals safe in your gardenPlants that cause pet allergies produce pollen, a leading allergen among human beings as well as pets. Besides the pollen, other plants can cause allergies to your pets upon contact with them.

In addition to the typical symptoms of watery eyes and sneezing, plant allergies can also cause different signs and symptoms in pets including skin irritations, excessive chewing, rolling around in the grass to scratch the head or tail, difficulty in breathing, red eyes, scratchy throat, excessive licking of the skin, reverse sneezing, and much more.

Compared to humans, pets are more exposed to allergens because, as well as inhaling pollens through the air like humans do, our furry friends often roll or walk through pollen when it lands on the ground. This pollen eventually travels down their hair shafts and onto their skins, resulting in chronic allergic reactions.

Here are some of the plants that can cause either contact or inhalant allergies.



willow oakThere are different varieties of oak trees including black oak, willow oak, water oak, Japanese evergreen oak, post oak, pin oak, bur oak, chinkapin, and much more.

The pollen from this plant is responsible for a number of allergies in pets.

Be sure to check the specific oak you plan to plant, or that already exists in your garden against known allergens in the species of your pet.


Male Juniper Bushes:

juniper berriesThese plants produce a lot of allergenic pollen, causing pets to scratch and itch.

Only female juniper plants (with berries) do not produce allergens.

So if you must plant Junipers be sure to ask your supplier for female plants only.


Bottlebrush Plants:

These small plants or shrubs grow up to 15 feet.

Their pollen is needle-point sharp and tiny.

This pollen sticks on pets whenever they come into direct contact with the flowers of the plant and causes irritation to the skin.



Tulips are deadly to dogs and cats (dog chewing on fake tulip)Tulips may be beautiful flowers and are easy to grow. Coming in many different colours these gorgeous plants can bring even the dreariest of gardens to life.

However, they are deadly to cats and dogs!

Paper Birches:

These trees grow as tall as 60 feet and about 35 feet wide.

Their pollens are responsible for a variety of pet allergies across several different species of animals.


Acacia Shrubs:

Their pollen can trigger scratching and itching in a majority of pets including dogs.



Many common plants are poisonous to dogs & catsMost homeowners love growing poplar trees because they not only grow fast but also bring beauty and shade to the yard.

There are approximately 35 different Poplar species.

Their pollen can trigger different allergic reactions in pets.


Male Podocarpus and Male Yews:

The pollens from these two plants can trigger a series of allergic reactions in pets.

These plants are also poisonous when ingested and should be avoided or kept well out of the reach of animals.

Bear in mind that cats are great climbers and jumpers so such plants should be caged off or not planted at all.
Male yews are poisonous to pets

Euphorbia Plants:

Euphorbia plants are poisonous to pets.

All Euphorbia species produce a sap that is poisonous to pets.

Some examples:
Euphorbia produce a sap that is poisonous to pets

  • milk brush
  • spurge
  • pencil tree
  • chenille plant
  • and all others

Their pollen grains are also allergenic.

Mere contact with these plants can also trigger scratching, itching, red eyes, and runny eyes in a majority of pets.



Another plant that produces truly beautiful flowers.

primrose flowers look beautiful but cause terrible symptoms in petsThe different hues of the petals on these flowers make any garden look colourful.

These plants are therefore very popular among gardeners who do not realize the risk they pose to the furrier members of the family.

These outdoor and indoor plants can also be grown indoors. Contact with primroses causes scratching and itching in pets.


Purple Leaf Velvet Plant:

purple leaf plant is an irritantThis beautiful plant is used for colour variety in many gardens but can irritate the skin and eyes of pets by merely brushing against it.

Their pollen is also known to trigger allergic reactions in most pets.


Cocoa Mulch:

cocoa mulch contains toxins that are dangerous to petsCocoa Mulch may be a great nutrient-rich mulcher for your garden but it has hidden dangers when you are a pet owner.

The sweet chocolate-like smell of the cocoa mulch attracts many pets to take a bite.

Unfortunately, the cocoa mulch causes severe inflammation, diarrhea, and vomiting when ingested by pets.

It is much better to use grass cuttings as mulch and they are easily obtained if you use a good mulching mower.


Common Bermuda Grass:

Bermuda grass causes scratching and itching in a majority of petsBermuda grass is very popular for its lovely lush look. However, the pollen produced by this grass causes scratching and itching in a majority of pets.

Instead of planting the more common Bermuda grass, go for the hybrid Bermuda grass because it produces little or no pollen.

Another perfect pollen-free choice is the female Buffalo grass species like the ‘UC Verde’ and ‘Legacy.’


Elephant Ear:

Elephant Ear plants are not as common as some of the plants and flowers on this list but they look so harmless and are so easily obtainable (and easy to grow) that they warrant a mention here.

Elephant-Ear-PlantSkin contact with this plant can trigger a series of allergic reactions in pets including scratching and itching.

The leaves can also grow to extreme heights, being larger than a human in some cases.


Wandering Jew:

The Wandering Jew adds colour to the garden but harms petsThe Wandering Jew plant is another plant chosen for its unusual colourful appearance.

Likewise, it is another plant that is unfriendly to our pets.

Apart from the pollen, direct skin contact with this plant can trigger allergic reactions in pets.

Allergic symptoms in dogs include runny eyes, red eyes, scratching, itching, and much more.


Snailseed Vine:

Snailseed vineProducing lovely berries this is a gardner’s favourite.

However, as a pet owner you should be wary of this climber.

Besides being poisonous upon eating, male Snailseed vines also produce pollen that is responsible for several allergies in pets.



Orange daylily, like all others, is dangerous for petsThis popular plant among gardeners has approximately 35,000 hybrid species. It comes in a variety of colours and hues.

Apart from its pollen, direct skin contact with this plant can also trigger allergies in pets.

In the dogs, the daylily causes scratching and itching.


Castor Bean Plants:

red castor bean plant is poisonous to petsA popular garden plant that many unwitting pet owners grow from seed in their gardens.

But, when eaten, the seeds of this plant are poisonous to pets.

Furthermore, its pollen is highly allergenic in both cats and dogs.

So, all-in-all this is one to avoid.


Gas Plant:

The gas plant is another hazardous plant to avoid if you own petsDictamnus, more commonly known as the gas plant, is a common addition to most perennial gardens.

The G gas plant is a 4 feet tall plant that is native throughout Asia and to most areas of Europe.

In addition to its pollen grains being hazardous to cats and dogs, direct skin contact with this plant also triggers allergic reactions in pets, especially dogs and cats.


Other Plants Species that Cause Pet Allergies:

Following is a short list of other plants that cause pet allergies. This is far from a comrehensive list and I would recommend you reserach any plant you plant to cultivate before you plant it.

Some plants that cause allergens in animals:

  • orchard grass
  • wormwood
  • willow
  • Chinese Pistache
  • box elder
  • aspen
  • pepper tree
  • and much more.

Cats especially love rummaging in the garden

Besides producing allergenic pollen, direct contact with a majority of these plants is known to trigger serious pet allergies. Just brushing against leaves, stems or flowers have your little friend in pain for days and continued exposure can have very nasty effects.

There are also plants and flowers that can cause severe symptoms and even death in our pets so be very careful when planting your garden.


How to Control Pet Allergies

Cats & dogs tend to roll in grass and flowers and thus pick up pollenWhile it is difficult to cure pet allergies completely, it is possible to manage allergic symptoms and limit exposure to allergens.

If you have planted any of the plants elaborated in this article, it may be wise to cut the tree and replace it with a pollen-free plant like bamboo palm.

If you cannot bring down the tree, you can limit your pet’s exposure to allergens by bathing the animal regularly with hypo-allergenic shampoo, administering anti-inflammatory medications as prescribed by your vet such as anti-histamines or by asking your vet to give the animal anti-allergy shots.

Plants that can kill your pet


Final Thoughts

If you discover that your pet is suffering from any of the symptoms listed on this page, the first step should be to take him/her to your vet.

Once you know that the little guy or gal is suffering from an allergy the second step will be to figure out which plants are are causing the problem.

Look after your pets in the garden by being careful with the flowers you plantThe good news is that not all plants produce pollen.

Thus, pet owners should adorn their homes with allergen-free plants to prevent pet allergies.

Some of the hypoallergenic plants include wildflowers, dahlias, chrysanthemums, dracaena, bamboo palm, and much more. So you don’t have to compromise on the aesthetic look of your garden.

You may also be interested in read the articles are amaryllis poisonous and are african violets poisonous.

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