Are Sunflowers Poisonous To Dogs And Cats?

As a farm owner with your own farm dog, you will be keen to know which plants you can grow in your farm/homestead/garden that will be beautiful and productive, and also ones which will not cause your dogs any problems. There are a great many plants that are harmful to pets, but are sunflowers poisonous to dogs (or cats)? Let’s look into the answer to this question!

Are Sunflowers Poisonous To Dogs?

are sunflowers toxic to dogs

Sunflowers are attractive to your pets; whether it be as a place to cock their leg against, in the case of dogs; or a warm sheltered place to sleep favored by cats. Growing any plants in your farm if you have a pet (or visitations from someone else’s!) can be a worry, so let’s work out how safe your sunflower crop is.

Luckily, your dog can roam freely around where there are sunflowers planted, with absolutely no worries of being affected by anything toxic. Dogs do tend to munch on bits of plant that they find around the farm, especially young dogs, but you don’t have to panic if your dog munches on a bit of sunflower leaf (or petal, or seeds, or stem). They probably won’t, but it’s good to know that it won’t do them any harm if they do!

There are some plants that might grow at your farm that may be toxic to your dogs, so you should have a look on gardening websites before you plant something that you’re unsure about – but you won’t have to worry about sunflowers doing any damage to your dog.

Are Sunflowers Toxic To Cats

are sunflowers toxic to cats

Cats, with their small bodies and susceptibility to being poisoned by plants (Lily, we’re looking at you!) may be a worry around your sunflowers. But are sunflowers toxic to cats? The answer is NO. Unlike many house and garden plants, your cats will not experience any adverse reactions to being around, rubbing against, or even having a little nibble of the leaves.

Cats do like to munch on trailing leaves; it’s one of their favorite pastimes, and them gnawing on plants around the farm/garden can be a worrying thing, but seeing your puss munching on a bit of sunflower need not send you running off to the vet.

How To Keep Dogs Off Your Sunflowers

how to keep dogs off your sunflowers

If your dogs are constantly hounding (sorry for the pun!) your sunflowers, then the best thing you can do is find a way to keep them off them. Even though the dog won’t be harmed by the sunflower, you probably don’t want the stems chewed, a cheeky leg being cocked on them, or a wild dog dervish party crashing into your pretty flowers!

If your sunflowers are in pots then this issue is easier to deal with – you can either simply move the pots to a place where the dogs don’t roam, or lift them up high, so that they are out of reach. For sunflowers that are planted in the ground, you may have to install a fence – you can make it an attractive feature, as well as one that will keep your blooms and seeds safe.

You may have dogs that are very well trained (many of us don’t!) and which can be taught to not venture into certain parts of the farm. If you fall into the camp where your dog cannot be discouraged from leaping into your borders (like many of us!) then a fence is really your only option.

How To Stop Cats Eating Sunflowers

how to stop cats eating sunflowers

Cats are notoriously difficult to tell what to do. If you have ever had a cat, you will be familiar with the look of contempt they give you whenever you suggest that they stop doing something you don’t want them to do!

Unfortunately, it is difficult to keep cats out of your sunflower patch. They are smaller than dogs, and better at jumping, so a fence that keeps dogs out may well do nothing at all to deter cats.

If you have a serious cat problem – whether yours or the neighbors’ – then you may have to consider netting your sunflowers. Imagine that your cat is a pesky pigeon, and do all the things that you would do to keep a bird out.

Alright, it won’t make your sunflowers look as pretty as they do when they are waving freely around the farm, but it will at least keep your crop safe!

You can also plant small, spiky twigs in the base in the ground around your sunflowers – this will deter any furry feline from making a bed around the sensitive base of the plant.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Pet Has Been Poisoned

This should be included, because although sunflowers are not toxic, there are many plants that are. If your pet has eaten something that you are not sure about, or they are displaying symptoms that worry you, your first port of call should be to call your veterinarian.

They should be able to advise you, and will probably recommend that you bring your pet in for tests and observation. If your vet is unsure about the plant that your pet has ingested, there are a great many Facebook groups that can help identify emergency potential poisonings, and plant identification apps that you can use to work out what your pet has eaten.

Final Words

Growing sunflowers is a lovely thing, that will make your farm/homestead/garden look even more beautiful, and something that will encourage bees, butterflies and other pollinators to your patch.

You may have been worried about planting them, in case it causes problems for your pets – but now you can’t plant without fear! Sunflowers are not toxic to either cats or dogs, and will improve the look of your place no end.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

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