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Are Marigolds Poisonous to Dogs? Vet-Approved Health Facts

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by Dogster Team

marigold flowers

Are Marigolds Poisonous to Dogs? Vet-Approved Health Facts

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

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 pup—the good news is that it’s completely fine to plant. Marigolds are mildly irritating to dogs, both internally and dermally, but they are non-toxic. That said, it would be best if you prevented your dogs from getting into your flowers for their own safety.

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What Is a Marigold?

marigold plants
Image Credit: JumpStory
Appearance: Small bushing plants with vibrant, full blooms
Colors: Yellow, orange, white, red
Light Requirements: Full sun
Soil pH: 6.2–6.5
Difficulty: Easy

Marigold flowers are ornamental plants in the aster family that are popular among garden enthusiasts. These plants are easy to grow, as they’re not fussy or sensitive to their environment. These flowers can survive and thrive in full sun, so you don’t need to fret over brightly lit areas of your yard.

After the final 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.

Marigold Flower vs. Extract

Calendula oil is a 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 dogs and cats for years as a treatment to soothe skin abrasions and wounds. It also improves gastric ulcers with great success.1

However, pregnant dogs should never take calendula oil because it might cause uterine contractions. Also, since the marigold is part of the aster family, calendula oil can irritate their skin.

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.

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Will Dogs Typically Eat Marigolds?

As any dog owner knows, our canine companions can wolf down just about anything—including long lists of things that they shouldn’t eat. So, even though there’s nothing special that might draw your dog to a marigold plant (except their bright colors), they might gobble it up, anyway.

Some dogs will avoid any plant matter, though, including flowers. Other dogs enjoy digging them up but not necessarily eating them. They can smell all sorts of wildlife that might be taking advantage of your flower garden, so they could be on a rogue mission to catch a mysterious underground critter.

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Marigolds Might Cause Mild Irritation

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, marigolds might irritate your dog, but they are essentially non-toxic.

Dermal Exposure

If your dog plays in your bed of marigolds, it might cause skin irritation. You may notice redness or irritation bumps developing on the skin shortly after exposure.

Mongrel dog scratching
Image Credit: VVadyab Pico, Shutterstock

Ingestion

If your dog gobbles up a marigold, they might feel queasy after a while. In rare cases, it could cause vomiting or diarrhea, especially if you have a sensitive pup.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Marigold

If your dog ate a marigold, don’t panic. They might experience mild irritation, but unless your dog devoured a whole line of marigolds from your garden,  they should be fine. Just make sure that marigolds are the only flowers that your dog consumed.

Pay attention to any significant signs 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.

nurse veterianarian caring for the old dog
Image Credit: ARVD73, Shutterstock

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Top 3 Tips for 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 that you worked so hard to grow. They also aren’t shy about doing their business on them either. How to keep your dog out of your flower gardens:

1. Create a barrier

Get creative and separate your dog from your flower garden by using fencing that can be both aesthetically pleasing and effective.


2. 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.


3. Leave deterring scents

A dog’s sense of smell is incredible. Lucky for us, they don’t like certain scents that are safe or even good for your flower garden. Use things like coffee grounds, vinegar, and chili pepper to ward them off.

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Final Thoughts

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, a popular extract prepared with a different species of marigold that has medical uses, please make sure you consult your vet beforehand. If your vet approves, you can try it out on your dog for wound or ulcer healing. Stop use immediately if your dog reacts negatively, and contact your vet.


Featured Image Credit: Peggychoucair, Pixabay

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