What Hedge Plants Are Safe for Dogs?

Dogs can be most excellent pets and the last thing you want is to accidentally poison them by planting dangerous hedges in your garden. I thought I’d curate a list of dog-friendly hedge plants, and highlight a few specimens that you might want to avoid!

Hedge Plants That Are Safe For Dogs:

While plants like to dig in their roots, dogs love to dig then back out. It can be a challenging task to have the right balance in your garden, especially concerning hedges. But you do not have to compromise on your viewing pleasure without putting your canine companion at risk. Dogs and plants can co-exist, but you will have to take extra precautions for the safety of both your dog and your plants. 

If you want to find out which hedge plants might be harmful for your four legged friend, click here to jump to that part of the post. But let’s start with the plants you’ll both like!

Hedge Plants That Are Safe For Dogs

Before starting, let’s acknowledge that you have some plans, and then your dog has his plans. It is easy not to mix them, but when they do, you should go with the dog’s plans. He knows his instincts more than we do, and second-guessing his nature will not prove to be fruitful. To make the gardening journey productive for everyone involved, here are some shrubs for your yard that will be dog-safe.


Copper Beech Hedge
Copper Beech Hedge

These are one of the more popular hedges with dog owners. Growing to heights of over 1-5 meters, they do not require a lot of attention to sustain their development. Dogs digging them out is not a problem, and even if your puppy gets chewing on the beech, they should be fine.

Find out more about Beech Hedges with my guide post!


Griselinia variegata by Ellie Enking on Flickr

Also known as the New Zealand Privet hedging, this perennial plant has an apple green foliage that is pleasing to the eyes. They can outgrow beech hedge plants by a full metre and offer a more dense hedge, which is useful if privacy is on your mind. However, their growth rate is slower and requires more careful pruning while gardening.

If you want to find out more about Griselinia, I’ve got you covered!



The Hawthorn is also commonly known as Quickthorn, thanks to their sharp thorns. For young children and pets, they can be devastating at first touch, but they learn their lesson quickly. It can be enjoyable to grow them as they can thrive almost anywhere.

Hawthorn can offer up colourful fruits for a touch of visual appeal but the berries, while edible, contain tiny amounts of cyanide and should be avoided. Thankfully your pup’s ultra keen nose means they’ll probably realise that far sooner than you would!

Western Red Cedar

Out of the non-toxic hedge plants we’ve chosen, the Western Red Cedar Hedge,, also known as Thuja plicata hedging, is the easiest to grow and is aromatic. It is also the fastest to grow but needs to be pruned to keep its wild mushrooming in check. They can grow both in the sun and in the shade, and it is recommended that the soil is not wet when rooting them. 

Shrubby Honeysuckle


They are small shrubs with slightly darker foliage. It is different from other plants on the list as it does not grow over three meters. However, it is straightforward to grow and adjust to any surroundings that you may put it in. If you are comfortable with garden shears, pruning it can give quick results. 



We are moving from green hedges and into the world of color with the Gorse hedging plants. Also known as Ulex europaeus, these hedges are famous for their yellow flowers and bring color to your garden. They have evergreen foliage and are friendly for wildlife. However, their growth rate is slow and needs to be put in areas with direct sunlight. 

Purple Beech

Copper Beech Hedge

As the name suggests, these pet-friendly hedges give a purple color that blends in well in any garden. They are known as Copper Beech due to their color in the winters. Their presence in your garden will keep it colorful in all seasons. Besides, they are easy to grow and do not have any specific soil or sunlight requirements to mushroom.

Golden Leylandii

A selection of leylandii on a boundary

Leylandii are the fastest-growing options that we have shared so far, and well, I have mixed feelings about them. My thoughts are explained in the LeyLandii guide. They can define a landscape, and they are dog safe, but they grow fast.

They are a great privacy hedge if you can keep their height in check, and they’re a nice habit for bugs and such like. But, hmm.

Lavender Hidcote

Lavender is a great herb that is safe for dogs

Lavender is the most expensive suggestion on the list but there’s good reason for that. These pet friendly shrubs produce dark purple flowers that attract butterflies when in full bloom, adding a little more colour to your garden, but this is not the only reason I recommend them.

Lavender’s year-round sweet scent that makes it endearing, and it can be great for cutting and drying. What’s more, it’s a popular plant for insects, particularly bees, which is a bonus to your local ecosystem, and it is safe for dogs!

I go into more depth about Lavender in my dedicated guide!

Dog Rose

Rose Hips

When you have a hedge plant called Dog Rose, it’s got to be the final one in the list! Also known as Rosa canina, Wild Briar, or Wild Rose, Dog Rose hedge is one of the faster-growing hardy plants in the list and is identified by their unique pink flowers. As the flowers mature, the pink fades into white and fills the environment with their fragrance.

They produce large orange and red hips, which attract birds. However, there is no cause for concern as the dogs, and other larger animals are kept at bay by the thorns.

Hedge Plants That Can Be Dangerous For Dogs

Admit it, dogs like to fool around. They are not stupid as we may think so they can take care of thorns in hedges. But they’re still not the sharpest animals on the planet, so it’s fair to say they do not have an innate knowledge of plants that are dangerous to them.

Our canine chums will steer clear of foul-smelling plants, but they might be tempted like shiny fruits. Moreover, they are unaware of the chemicals that are toxic to them, but we can steer them away from some of the common plants that can be dangerous.

Here is a list of hedge plants that are common in gardens but should be avoided around dogs. 

Thankfully the list of hedge plants that are harmful is much smaller than those that are harmless, but let’s expand on the list a little!


English Ivy

Poison ivy is dangerous for men, while ivy is generally a sour mix for dogs. It can cause severe abdominal pain if ingested, and also lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and excessive salivation. The needlepoint variety of ivy has been know to cause dermatitis.

Avoid the leaves and the berries – or the whole plant in other words – and your dog will be fine.



Elder is quite common in hedgerows and because it produces both berries and flowers that can be used to make food – jam and cordial, for instance – it is a friendly hedge plant for humans.

However it’s another plant that will really upset your dog, causing nausea and vomiting. Thankfully it is quite distinctive, particularly when flowering, so pay attention to where it grows and you can redirect your puppy’s nose!


Holly Branch with Berries

Holly, much like it’s seasonal counterpart Ivy, is not good for your dog. In the case of this specimen, consumption can cause an upset stomach as a minimum, but there is a risk of tremors or seizure if your dog eats a lot of berries.

You would hope the spiky leaves would act as a deterrent, and while they might, you should take care to avoid this particular plant.


Privet Hedge

Privet is a fantastic hedge plant, particularly if you want to sculpt your borders with topiary, and while it can be your friend in the garden, it’s a different situation for your dog. For the full skinny on Privet, check out my guide!

The leaves can be harmful if your dog gets chewing through a lot of them, and while this is unlikely, it is important to clear up your leftovers properly when trimming!


European Yew Hedge

Saving the most dangerous for last, you need to be aware of Yew! Both the foliage and the berries are harmful to dogs and the list of symptoms include vomiting, cramping and dizziness. But those are the mild symptoms and if your dog eats a significant number of leaves – remember to tidy when trimming! – there is a high risk of fatality.

Yew is also poisonous to humans, in case you were wondering!

I’ve got a guide all about Yew, which has some positive aspects, but if you love your dogs, this particular plant should be avoided.

Further Reading

No one wants their dog to come to harm, and hopefully this post will make you aware of those hedge plants you should be mindful of. The Dog’s Trust has a fantastic list of other plants that can be dangerous for your four legged friend, and you can download their factsheet here.

Mr X

I'm Jamie and I started TrimHedge to learn about hedge trimming and topiary and share my findings with you. I enjoy the sight of well formed foliage and enjoy helping you keep your hedges in good shape and your borders in order. To find out more about me, visit my About Page.

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