By Luke Sumpter

Creating a pet-friendly cannabis garden is pretty easy, and essential if you’re going to grow marijuana and keep pets. Cannabis plants might pose a danger to pets, and you’d be surprised how much of a danger certain pets can be to cannabis plants!

In this article, we explore various simple methods for keeping cats and dogs away from an outdoor cannabis grow, for everyone’s benefit.

The Importance of Keeping Pets Away From Your Cannabis Garden

It may well be the case that you allow your cat or dog, or your neighbors cat—or simply that cat that appears and disappears with no known source—into your garden, to range, feed, and defecate freely. In most cases, this is okay. But if you’re growing cannabis in your garden, you might want to protect your plants from these pets, and these pets from your plants.

Pets can damage a grow by affecting plants directly or by upsetting the soil with urine and faeces. Moreover, it’s possible that if they consume mature cannabis flowers, they could be harmed by the cannabinoids present.

Cat and Cannabis

Impact on Plant Health

Primarily, pets can damage plant health. Dogs especially may well chew on and eat parts of cannabis plants. Young dogs in particular aren’t picky when it comes to finding things to gnaw on, and the tough, stringy stems and branches of cannabis plants are perfect to give their jaws a workout. Even if they don’t eat your plants, dogs can easily break and trample on plants, especially when they’re small.

Cats are unlikely to start eating weed plants, but they will go to the toilet in your cannabis garden. The urine and faeces of both cats and dogs can disrupt nutrient concentrations and microbial life in the soil, which can have adverse effects on your plants. Animals tend to go to the toilet in the same place, so if they decide that your cannabis garden is a good location, the cumulative effects of excrement can disrupt your grow (and make it less pleasant to be in!).

Whether through direct damage or by changing the soil, cats and dogs can negatively affect cannabis development, and should be kept away from a grow.

Dangers to Pet Health: Can Cats & Dogs Be Around Weed?

It’s possible for cannabis plants to also pose a danger to your pets—though the reality is that it’s unlikely. THC is known to be dangerous to these animals. Fortunately, the THC in raw cannabis flower (namely, THCA) doesn’t interact with the endocannabinoid system of dogs and cats in the same way; so even if they eat raw cannabis leaves or buds, there is a low risk of toxicity compared to ingesting decarboxylated THC.

However, in quantity, the risk of toxicity is said to increase, so you definitely shouldn’t let your pets nibble on plants.

Knowing the Signs of Pet Damage to Cannabis Plants

It’s fairly easy to figure out if your pets have been causing damage in your cannabis garden. Aside from catching them in the act of getting up to no good, you can identify pet damage to your cannabis garden from the following signs:

  • Missing leaves or buds
  • Signs of chewing on stems and branches
  • Trampled plants
  • Signs of digging
  • Visible excrement
  • Strong smell of ammonia (urine)

How to Keep Cats Away From Your Cannabis Garden

First, we’ll look at how to keep cats out of your cannabis garden. This can be tricky as they are highly agile animals who tend not to take too kindly to being restricted. You probably can’t train your cats to stay away from your cannabis garden, but you might be able to keep them out by other means.

How to keep cats away from your cannabis plants

Chicken Wire Fencing

One of the crudest and simplest ways to keep cats (or most animals) from your cannabis garden is simply to fence it in. Using chicken wire is easy as it’s cheap, light, flexible, and easy to erect. Plus, cats can’t climb it. And when you’re finished with it, you can easily roll it up and store it so you’re not stuck with a load of fencing.

To effectively keep cats at bay with fencing, you’ll need it to be at least 100cm tall. What’s more, if anything tall borders your cannabis garden, such as trees, a shed, or a wooden fence, then this method might be limited in its effectiveness.

Another way you can use chicken wire is by laying it down and creating a boundary around your grow. This fencing is fairly sharp and uncomfortable for pawed creatures to walk across. This can be a highly effective way to stop cats from entering your grow, without creating a large barrier around it.

Scent Repellents

You can also use certain scents to try to deter cats, but how effective they are outdoors is uncertain. The following scents are known to repel cats:

  • Orange and lemon peel
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Tobacco
  • Lavender oil
  • Cymbopogon oil extracts (lemongrass or citronella)
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Mustard oil

Indoors, it’s easy enough to deploy these scents effectively. Outdoors, scents become less concentrated, and wind and rain can quickly render them ineffective. But if you go for this option, administer these scents around the whole grow area to make the entire space off-putting to cats.

Cat-Repellent Plants

Perhaps more effective for outdoor grows, you can try planting certain species that produce scents that repel cats. These are better than using scented oils, for example, as their scent won’t quickly diminish and you won’t have to continually replace them.

Cat-repellent plants include:

  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Rosemary
  • Scaredy cat plant (this is a plant bred in Germany specifically designed to repel cats and other animals)


You can also net your plants. This involves placing a fine mesh over your plants, which protects them from all manner of animals that might try to land on or eat them. For cats, it has limited effectiveness as they are unlikely to directly tamper with your plants, but are more likely to cause problems by defecating in the general area, putting too many nutrients into the soil. Unless you net the entire area, then netting won’t solve this issue.


Train Them to Use a Litter Tray

As excretion is the main problem caused by cats, if you train them to use a litter tray when they go to the toilet, then keeping them away from your cannabis garden is a less pressing issue.

You can use multiple litter boxes, including one or two paced tactically in the garden to give your cat an easy choice if it happens to decide to go to the toilet. This option is in some ways the simplest, as it means you can leave your garden as it is.

How to Keep Dogs Away From Your Cannabis Garden

Dogs, depending on their breed, age, and training, can range from harmless to totally destructive when it comes to a cannabis garden. Here’s how to keep them out.

Dog-Repellent Plants

As with cats, you can use plants to keep dogs away from your cannabis grow. There is some overlap between the two animals, but some plants that are effective at repelling dogs are:

  • Citronella
  • Marigolds
  • Bergamot
  • Rue

Planting these around and within your grow should, for the most part, convince your dogs to take themselves elsewhere.

Dogs and Cannabis

Citrus Peel Mulch

You can also add citrus peel to mulch, and lay this around your plants. The strong scent will deter dogs (and other animals). This is especially effective if your dogs have a tendency to chew plants, as they are less likely to be drawn to something that smells strongly of citrus.

Dog-Proof Fencing

A fairly simple option, you can just fence the grow space off. Unlike with cats, any type of fencing will work with dogs so long as it’s tall enough. But if you only want to fence temporarily, then we would once again recommend going with chicken wire for the same reasons as listed above.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

If you’re feeling high-tech, you can use motion-activated sprinklers. When something crosses the infrared boundary, these will set off and deter most animals—plus, they’ll water your plants too!

This is both a benefit and a drawback, and you should make sure that they don’t go off too often as you could end up overwatering your plants, which can be very detrimental.

Proper Training

With dogs, it could also be possible to simply train them to stay away from a cannabis garden—in some cases.

Young dogs and certain breeds are less easy to train than others, especially if they are not being observed. If you don’t have a super-obedient breed of dog, then you may find them wandering around a cannabis garden when they’re alone, no matter how often you tell them to stay away.

However, if you do have a dog that is reliable and easy to train, then this is a free method that doesn’t involve any new object or even much effort, if you’re lucky.

Keep Your Plants Safe From Your Furry Friends

To maintain the health of your pets and your plants, it’s best to keep the two separate, where possible. Depending on the animal, the prevention techniques differ a little, but in either case, you shouldn’t struggle to find one that’s cheap and effective.

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