Last Updated: May 13, 2021
If you love gardening, filling up your flower beds with spring favorites is a must. But if you share your home with four-legged buddies, it might make you a bit wary of what exactly you plant. After all, dogs are notorious for digging things up—and some plants are highly toxic to them.
So, if you love the looks of a marigold but you’re worried about your pooch—the good news is that it’s completely fine to plant. Marigolds are very mildly irritating to dogs, both internally and dermally, but they are non-toxic. Though, it would be best if you prevented your dogs from getting into your flowers for their own safety.
What Is a Marigold?
Marigold flowers are an ornamental plant in the daisy family that is pretty popular among garden enthusiasts. These plants are elementary to grow—not fussy or sensitive to their environment. These flowers can survive and thrive in full sun, so don’t fret over brightly lit areas of your yard.
After the last frost, marigolds are easy to grow by seed straight in the ground—but you can start them indoors if you feel the need. These hardy plants will begin to sprout after a few days. They typically develop blooms around 8 weeks after they start to grow.
Marigolds can live in an area that gets a small portion of shade throughout the day but be careful that the soil isn’t too moist. Marigolds can develop dust and mold if they get too wet. If you have them in the right environment, these plants are rewarding and lovely for any flower garden or decorative pot.
- Appearance: Small bushing plants with vibrant, full blooms
- Colors: Yellow, orange, white, red
- Light Requirements: Full sun
- Soil pH: 0
- Difficulty: Easy
Will Dogs Typically Eat Marigolds?
As any dog owner knows, our canine companions can wolf down just about anything—including long lists of things they shouldn’t eat. So, even though there’s nothing special that draws your dog to a marigold plant (except their bright colors), they might gobble it up anyway.
Some dogs will avoid any plant matter, including your flowers. Other dogs will enjoy digging them up but not necessarily eating them. They can smell all sorts of little wildlife that might be taking advantage of your flower garden. So, they could be on a rogue mission to catch the mysterious underground critter.
Marigolds Might Cause Mild Irritation
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, marigolds might irritate your dog, but they are essentially non-toxic.
If your dog plays in your bed of marigolds (naughty, naughty), it might cause some skin irritation. You may notice redness or irritation bumps on the skin developing shortly after exposure.
If your dog gobbles up a marigold, they might feel queasy after a few minutes. In rare cases, it could cause vomiting or diarrhea, especially if you have a sensitive pup.
The marigold flower can be converted into oil form. This marigold extract is called calendula oil, which is a very concentrated liquid form of the marigold plant. Even though the raw flower may irritate your dog, the extract can be an excellent remedy for specific skin issues.
According to VCA Hospitals, this remedy has been used on both dogs and cats for years. It is a treatment to soothe skin abrasions and wounds. It also improves gastric ulcers with great success.
Pregnant pooches should never take calendula oil because it can cause uterine contractions. Additionally, because the marigold is part of the Aster family, calendula oil can even irritate their skin, too.
Always check with your veterinarian to determine if your dog is a good candidate for calendula oil. Discontinue use if your dog shows any symptomatic response.
What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Marigold
If your dog ate a marigold—don’t panic. They might experience mild irritation, but overall they should be fine. Unless your dog plowed a whole line of marigolds from your garden, they probably won’t bat an eyelash. Just make sure that marigolds are the only flower your dog consumed.
Pay attention to any significant symptoms that show up, like vomiting, persistent diarrhea, or lethargy. If you feel concerned, don’t hesitate to contact your vet right away for further advice. Nothing can replace medical direction from a trusted professional.
Tips to Keeping Dogs Away from Your Flower Garden
You might love dogs and gardening—but not together. Dogs are notorious for tramping on, digging up, and munching on the beloved plants you work so hard to grow. Not to mention, they aren’t shy about doing their business there either.
So, how do you keep your dog out of your flower gardens?
- Create a barrier—get creative and separate your dog from your flower garden by using fencing that can be both aesthetically pleasing and effective.
- Plant thorny vines—your dog won’t be a fan of getting their paws pricked every time they stroll through the flowers. They will learn to avoid them quickly.
- Leave deterring scents—or dog’s sense of smell is incredible. Lucky for us, they really don’t like some scents that are safe or even good for your flower garden. Use things like coffee grounds, vinegar, and chili pepper to ward them off.
Dogs and Marigolds: Final Thoughts
So, now you can be confident that your marigold plants will not harm your dogs—even though they can cause mild irritation. If you are interested in calendula oil, the marigold extract, always consult your vet beforehand. If your vet approves, you can try it out for wound or ulcer healing.
Stop use immediately if your dog reacts negatively and contact your vet.
Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.