Veggies by Chain Link Dog Enclosure - Toxicity??

aclumDecember 20, 2007


A bit of quick background.... We have a very nice lawn area about 60 x 40 with a few trees off our patio that we've enclosed with a 5' high chain link fence. This is to provide a nice area for the dogs as well as a "lawn vista" of sorts from the patio. I'm planning my veggie gardens - mainly raised beds - outside the chain link but within our regular wood fence. I'm planning on approximately 50 LF of 1-1/2 to 2' wide veggie beds right outside the chain link.

(In addition to other beds).

I was surfing garden web and on some forum (can't recall which), I was reading a nice thread on Scarlet Runner Beans. I'd been planning to plant some Scarlet Runners just outside the chain link to have pretty flowers to help disguise the chain link as well as provide some good eating.

Then I read in the aforementioned thread that raw scarlet runner beans (like fava beans) can be toxic in some people - and I assume also dogs. I KNOW my dogs are going to try to eat anything that pops through the chain link, so I guess I'll have to put the scarlet runners someplace else.

I'm also planning to have eggplants and peppers (along with flowers) in the beds along the fence. I know these CAN be toxic to dogs, but I think I can keep these far enough from the chain link so that they're not a problem (or if the leaves poke into the chain link maybe just put up some plastic drop cloth type of a barrier going up about 2 feet.

I know to keep dogs away from potatoes, onions, and the nightshades, but the beans were a surprise to me! Anything else toxic to dogs that I should be aware of in planting next to the chain link? (I've read most of the online list of plants toxic to dogs on the web - but had never seen the beans mentioned). (I hope sweet peas are OK!).



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cambse(8 - Renton WA)

These are things I know of.
Seeded grapes - The seeds are toxic.
Mushrooms in your lawn grass - some may be toxic.
Persimmons - seeds
I also have a list provided by my vet:

Aloe Vera
Apple (seeds)
Apricot (pit)
Asparagus Fern
Autumn Crocus

Bird of Paradise
Black Locust
Black Walnut
Bleeding Heart
Boston Ivy


California Poppy
Calla Lily
Castor Bean
Cherry (seeds, wilting leaves, and pit)
Chinese Evergreen
Christmas Rose
Corn Plant
Crown of Thorns
Crown Vetch


Devil's Ivy
Donkey Tail
Dumb Cane
Dutchman's Breeches

Easter Lily
Elephant Ears
English Ivy

Fiddle-leaf Fig
Florida Beauty
Four O'Clock
Fruit Salad Plant


German Ivy

Hurricane Plant



Jack in the Pulpit
Japanese Yew
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimson Weed


Lamb's quarter
Lily of the Valley


Marigold (Marsh Marigold)
Mexican Breadfruit
Morning Glory
Mother-in-Law plant
Mother-in-Law's Tongue
Mountain Laurel



Oak Tree (buds and acorns)

Peace Lily
Peach (wilting leaves and pits)
Pencil Tree
Poison Ivy
Poison Hemlock
Poison Oak
Poison Sumac
Potato (all green parts)
Precatory Bean


Ribbon Cactus
Rubber Tree

Sago Palm
Shamrock Plant
Snake Plant
Snow on the Mountain
Star of Bethlehem
Stinging Nettle
Swiss Cheese Plant


Taro Vine
Tomato Plant (entire plant except ripe fruit)

Umbrella Tree


Water Hemlock
Weeping Fig


Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 10:02PM
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Hi Carole,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post all of that!! Actually, I have seen this list before and you'll note no mention of beans at all. So I was just wondering if there might be any other "surprises" that might not be on the usual lists.

On the Scarlet Runner Bean thread I mentioned, it seemed like some people had no problems and some others had reactions that sent them to the ER. I've read similar things about raw fava beans and apparently there's a genetic basis for this, but can't recall the details now. (Some ethnic groups have the reaction and others don't).
I imagine the same applies to some of the plants in your vet's list. At our old house, our dogs would always grab any avocado that fell from the tree during the night and eat everything but the pit with no ill effects. However, I don't want to take any chances in my new gardens! I also note that eggplant and peppers (in the nightshade family) aren't listed in the vet's list - so maybe they're safe in the areas I mentioned.

Again, thanks for your post!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 11:32PM
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Beans in the family Phaseolus Vulgaris contain a chemical called Phytohaemagglutinin. If you cook it, the chemical is released and poses no threat. Raw, it's pretty nasty. In humans, eating small amounts of it via raw beans isn't usually fatal (from what I know, so don't read this, eat some raw beans then sue me when you die or get deathly ill), but even eating a small dose can cause some serious sickness like vomiting and general malaise and all. It's not usually fatal in humans unless larger amounts are consumed, but it's still dangerous enough to where I wouldn't eat raw beans.

It's dangerous though to most animals, not just humans. So, a dog would be just as likely to get it, if not more likely, as a human.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:15AM
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Hi Eliot,

Thanks for the post! Very informative. I'm off to google now to try and find out just which beans are in the Phaseolus Vulgaris category.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:43AM
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Hi Again,

Did a bit of "research" and came up with this (among other things):
The major categories of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are:

Field, dry, or agronomic beans:
The pod walls are thin, fibrous, tough, inedible, dehisce more readily.
The dried seeds retain shape when cooked.
Green, snap, string, or French beans:
The pod walls are fleshy, edible, have little fiber, dehisce poorly.
The dried seeds do not retain shape when cooked.
Dual purpose or horticultural beans:
The pods are fairly fleshy and generally edible.
the dried seeds may be cooked and typically retain shape fairly well.
Other "Beans" include:

Runner Beans (Phaseolus coccineus)

Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus)

"Butterbeans" (Phaseolus lunatus) is a term used for certain small, flat seeded lima beans. There is no separate botanical classification for a butterbean. It is basically a description of the way that they are prepared for cooking. Whereas most limas are grown to the dry stage, butterbeans are shelled fresh while in the late green stage, cooked and buttered.

Fava beans (Vicia faba) are not from the same family as other beans (Phaseolus). Their origin is reportedly the Mediterranean region and their history dates back to at least Biblical times. Favas are commonly known to Middle Eastern, Greek and Italian cooking.

Hyacinth Beans (Dolichos Lablab) - Grown for ornament.

Castor Beans (Ricinis communis) - Grown for ornament. Highly toxic.

Apparently the runner and fava beans aren't in the vulgaris species. OTOH, the vulargis species include regular snap bean which seem to been somewhat commonly eaten raw in the garden or lightly blanched before eating (I - as well as my dogs - have eaten many raw green snap beans with no ill effect). So I'm a bit confused. Guess I need to look into it some more. In the meantime, I guess I'll grow ALL of my beans on teepees in the regular beds rather than tempt fate by placing them up against the chain link.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 1:17AM
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Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus)are toxic to humans (seeds) so I doubt that they would be good for dogs. As for runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) vs common beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris) There is still a debate as to their relative toxicity. It is not recommended that either be eaten raw, although some folks do with no major ill effects. In my youth runner beans were grown purely as ornamentals, but lots of folks eat them.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:03AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Other than the toxicity issues you'll also want to keep in mind that garden areas attract insects and varmints. Both could pose problems for the dogs. And you'll also have possible problems with pet excrement contamination problems.

Consider moving the garden areas to the wood fence area and away from the pet enclosure. Or another alternative is container gardening that would allow for placement further away from the enclosure. Carefully arranged containers can be quite attractive and easily more productive than a 1-2 foot wide area. Plus you won't have the weeding problems. ;)


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:40AM
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Hi Dave,

You made some very good points (that hadn't occurred to me)!
I think I will take your advice and abandon planting right up against the fence. I've had dogs with severe allergic reactions to spider and bee stings, so probably not the best idea to be attracting bees, etc. so close to where the dogs are. One of my dogs is intensely curious about the cardboard I have laid next to the fence now and has been sort of pawing at it, so I think I might also be inviting them to start digging under the chain link if I have plants so close.

So back to the drawing board for at least part of the garden. I think I need to take a closer look at interplanting and succession planting to make more efficient use of the remaining beds - which is probably a good thing :).


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 1:18PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I have beans and other things in my garden. A neighbor's dog scouts the area. I will give credit to most animals to have incredible instincts concerning poisonous vegetation. Sure, there are a few that might error. Cats cooped up indoors and dogs with little freedom are probably more likely to nibble on plants that they shouldn't.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 2:57PM
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When I read the topic I thought you were concerned about poisoning humans from the dog contamination. Although in an open field it is probably somewhat safe to allow a dog to run on a farm. I would not grow my veggies next to a dog kennel.

Safe manures come from animals that eat veggies or grass and no meat. Rabbits, chickens, cows, sheep etc. unsafe manures come from animals that eat meats. so dogs are not considered real safe. Pathogens can grow that are harmful to humans. Since this is going to be a permanent site, I would keep a safe distance from the dogs. I would try to avoid the roots of the plants growing under the dog pens. Tomato plants can have long roots along the surface. the soil under a dog pen might build up pathogens. However, I would not be concerned if my dog runs through the veggie patch.

I know people who fertilize with hog manure which is not suppose to be safe but never have a problem. I have read that some oriental countries have used human waste which is very unsafe. But you are on your own here. Maybe you can find something on the internet and can report it back here.

I was told that raisins which are grapes with the seeds removed are not good for dogs either. also chocolate is not good for dogs.

I have dogs and if I find a dog poop in the garden I remove it with a shovel. I find very few poops in the garden. Maybe I am lucky. I never use dog poop as a manure for the garden.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 9:31AM
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