How to wake up your dog's senses in the garden!

Updated: Jul 1


I'm sure my dogs have cow in their genetic makeup! Seriously, they spend as much time munching on the different grasses in my yard as they do running, playing and sniffing!


When I first saw them doing it I thought surely something must be wrong! But actually, it's perfectly normal for dogs to forage on different grasses. They're actually doing what we call self-selection, which is looking for specific plants that their body needs. Their senses can pick out the different chemicals in the plant and, if their brain decides they need it, it becomes super delicious to them...and they can't resist a nibble!


Now this is great if your dog has access to a garden with lots of different plants and grasses. But unfortunately, many of our homes have been artificially planted with one and only one species of grass because, well, it's pretty and uniform. But that doesn't really help out our dogs much, does it?


Well I have a simple solution for you! Build a sensory garden for your dogs! It's really simple! Just build a raised bed for flowers or vegetables or designate a patch of lawn to create your doggy self-selection center!


You can plant it with a wide variety of beneficial herbs that your dog can choose from depending on his or her needs. Here's a list of plants with beneficial effects that you can start off with:


  • Catnip: this has relaxation properties and stimulates playfulness

  • Chamomile: dogs suffering from anxiety or skin/stomach upsets will be attracted to this plant’s scent

  • Clary sage: good for highly strung animals and those with hormonal imbalance

  • Hops: a calming plant often selected by hyperactive and stressed dogs

  • Lavender: helps to reduce anxiety and other nervous conditions

  • Marigold: dogs experiencing grief or emotional distress will often sniff out this plant

  • Marshmallow: known to help dogs with delicate stomachs

  • Meadowsweet: often selected by dogs with digestive problems, arthritis and rheumatic conditions

  • Mimulus: used as a remedy for dogs that are nervous, timid and shy

  • Mint: good for cooling properties and will often be selected by dogs who suffer from skin irritations

  • Plantain: helps gastric irritation and inflammation

  • Thyme: chosen by dogs with bacterial infections, skin irritations and diarrhea

  • Valerian: often selected by anxious dogs for its calming effect

  • Vervain: valuable for treating and nourishing nervous system disorders such as depression

  • Violet: nervous dogs or those who have recently changed home may enjoy sniffing this plant

  • Yarrow: great for animals with inflammation, urinary problems and internal and external wounds

  • Peppermint: chosen by dogs with upset stomach, gas or nausea

  • Basil: known for its antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties

  • Fennel: dogs with intestinal colic, cramps or gas will choose this plant

  • Angelica: selected by dogs suffering from anemia, inflammation or pain

  • Milk thistle: helps detoxify the liver and helps with any problem related to the liver, kidneys or pancreas

In addition, if you'd like to plant some beneficial herbs that you can pick and dry to keep in your pantry for specific pup problems, get my free guide, 10 herbs for your home pharmacy, which includes 10 must have herbs for common ailments, plus specifics on how to give it to your dog.



Now put on your coveralls, go outside and get to gardening!