November 08, 2023

The plants most likely to cause pet allergies

The plants most likely to cause pet allergies
Dr. Chris Brown

Those bare bellies and toe beans run across hundreds of plants every day. And while some are the perfect napping spot, others trigger quite significant allergic reactions that result in everything from subtle foot licking through to big red belly welts.

So it’s time to get our green on for the ‘can’t touch this’ collection of grasses and weeds. With some special mentions of the pet friendly choices!

As Whitney Houston (sort of) asked, How Will I Know…if my pet is allergic to the plants in my garden. And it’s a good question Whitney. And while grasses and weeds cause both hayfever (inhaled allergies) and contact allergies, the signs are typically…

  • Red welts and nodules on the belly
  • Increased scratching
  • Lots of foot and belly licking
  • Swollen feet
  • Hairloss

There’s no doubt those areas without a covering of fur see more allergic responses. It’s what happens when their skin comes into direct contact with those plants. Causing a ‘freak-out’ in their immune system with licky and scratching the result.

So what grasses do this?

Well, as much as we all love a lawn, some grasses produce more of these proteins and pollens for the body to react to. And the biggest offenders are often found in backyards and parks

The biggest culprits are:

  • Clover (below)
  • Rye grass
  • Paspalum grass

While the grasses that are most gentle on skin are:

  • Buffalo
  • Kikuyu

What about weeds?

On a hot day, often the favourite spot for the furry family is that damp, shady corner of the park or yard. And this is typically where the weeds live. But crush the sap of these weeds in the act of lying down and pets can trigger some strong reactions on that exposed skin…

The worst offenders:

  • Common Ivy
  • Wandering Jew
  • Turtle Vine

Looking for a better ground cover for those spots?

Try Native Violets. They typically cause fewer problems. And native wildlife and butterflies love them!


While your vet may be required for those intense allergic reactions, I developed my Soothe My Skin Wash to wash away those pollens and saps and calm that licky and scratchy skin. The new Super Useful Skin Cream is also great as a soother and a barrier cream…

Soothe My Skin Wash
Soothe My Skin Wash

Super Useful Skin Cream
Super Useful Skin Cream


The problem plants guide:

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