Dog Friendly Backyard Ground Cover, & Toxic Ground Cover


Decorating and landscaping your yard can be fun, and when it’s done, it looks great.

We’ve already written a guide about some considerations when choosing dog friendly surfaces for your yard.

But, if you’ve got stone paths or entertainment areas you want ground foliage for to add greenery to, it’s worth knowing what some Dog Friendly Backyard Ground Cover, & Toxic Ground Covers are to watch out for.

We’ve listed examples of each, along with what you might look for from ground cover from both a pet friendly and practical perspective when adding it to your home.

Let’s check out this guide!


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


Dog Friendly Backyard Ground Cover, & Toxic Ground Cover To Watch Out For


What Is Ground Cover?

Ground cover are plants that usually have the following characteristics:

They are low lying i.e. they grow very close to the ground

They grow out and spread out over the ground

They are low maintenance

They generally don’t allow weeds to grow


In backyards and front yards they are usually used to make an area looking more visually appealing such as in between stone paths for example.


What Makes Ground Cover Dog Friendly?

The first things you want to make sure of is that any plants you put in your yard are safe and not toxic for dogs.

Don’t put plants or cover in your yard unless you’re sure it’s safe.

Ask your vet or a professional who is qualified to give you an expert opinion if you’re unsure.

You can also check a full list of plants that are toxic and not toxic for dogs and cats here.


What Are Some Practical Things To Look Out For In Ground Cover?

Secondly, from a practical sense, ground cover should be able to stand up to some level of foot traffic and be pretty durable to pet urine and other environmental factors.

Different ground covers are going to have different characteristics such as:

Appearance (some might look more separated like grass, while some might clump together like a moss)

Some might sprout little flowers in the warmer seasons

Some might need more watering

Some might be more resistant to drought and other environmental conditions

Some might be more resistant to human and pet traffic than others – some are better for near garden beds, whilst some will go better on main paths

Some grow to different heights than others

Some re-seed themselves when damaged

Some are deer resistant

Some grow and spread quicker than others


Make sure you research the appearance and characteristics of the particular ground cover that interests you.


What Might Be Some Dog Friendly Backyard Ground Cover?

Some of these ground covers may be good for traffic-able areas like paths, whilst others will be better on the sides of paths and gardens as more visual ground cover to add beauty:

Silver carpet (dymondia margaretae)

Irish moss (sagina subulata)

Elfin thyme (thymus serpyllum “elfin”)

Labrador violet (viola labradorica)

Miniature stonecrop (sedum requieni)

Snow in summer (cerastium tomentosum)




Lady mantle


What Are Some Backyard Ground Covers That Might Be Dangerous To Dogs?

Examples of ground covers that can be toxic to dogs are:

Bishop’s weed

Lily of the Valley

Common ivy

Vinca vines


It should also be noted that some sources note that Wintercreeper Euonymus contains alkaloids that cause gastrointestinal disturbances and cardiac glycosides, which can affect your pet’s heart (



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