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Plants for Pets


Pets actually need plants, for both their psychological and physical wellbeing.

Just consider; where would a dog be if it didn't have a tree to cock its leg on (perhaps with a serious bladder problem). What about the tree-less cat that keeps breaking toe nails trying to climb a brick wall? Dogs and cats both have an inbuilt need to eat grass. The list goes on.

We all know, dogs & cats are carnivores (meat eaters); therefore, we tend to feed them meat, and sometimes only meat. This is wrong. They do need to eat plant material too. In nature, much of their essential minerals come from plants, often from partly digested plant material which they eat from the digestive systems of their prey. Your pets may compensate for this need by eating plants.


Anise (Pimpinella anisum) – Dogs tend to love the scent.

Grass  – Generally believed that dogs eat grass as a way of stimulating vomiting to clear the digestive system; but it can also be a source of certain nutrients. Small grass plots must be regularly cleaned of dog droppings and care is needed with urine patches to ensure enough fresh grass is available to the dogs. Grass is also cool to lay on during a hot day.

Fennel, lavender, santolina & chamomile – These herbs are widely used for repelling fleas.

Mints– Repel many different types of insects that can harm animals, including fleas.

Thyme – Repels lice.

Lucerne – Dogs have been known to eat dried and fresh lucerne.

Fruits – Dogs will happily eat fruits from a plant such as berries, nuts and grapes.

Trees – Provide shelter, for example: from wind or extreme cold or heat. Trees also provide bark to rub against (to scratch themselves).


Catnip (Nepeta cataria) and Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – Cats love them, will become excited & active with the scent & roll amongst the plants. – Cats will chew catnip...it has strong medicinal effects (eg. very good against diabetes).

Cucumbers – Cats tend to love eating cucumbers.

Couch Grass – Grass is great to lie on & chew.

Mints – Repel many different types of insects that can harm animals, including fleas...peppermint repels rodents that may carry ticks.

Thyme – Repels lice.

Lavender, Santolina & Chamomile – Can control fleas.

Article by John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc.FIOH Principal ACS Distance Education

For more information on courses and books offered world wide through John’s school, see www.hortcourses.com , www.acsgarden.com , www.acsbookshop.com

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