Gardening is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors, but many gardeners worry about how their pets will interact with the plants they have chosen. With a little planning and foresight, you can make your garden safe for your pet and still have the beautiful and healthy yard you desire.
Identify the Plants You Should Avoid
It can be difficult to know which plants are toxic or not, so it’s best to do your research before adding any to your garden. Common plants that can cause problems include lilies, crocuses, azaleas, box, bluebells, broom, cyclamen, daffodils, daphne, hyacinth bulbs, irises, mistletoe and yew (Taxus baccata).
Pick Plants That Are Dog-Friendly
There are many dog-friendly flowers and vegetables that are not only beautiful but also do not pose any health risks to your pup. These include snapdragons, asters, camellias, roses, sunflowers, elaeagnus, centaurea (cornflower), impatiens and Calendula.
Plan for Predictable Pathways
If your dog likes to run and explore, it’s important to create paths around the edges of your garden. These paths will help your pet recognize the boundaries of the garden and minimize detours into flowerbeds or other areas you don’t want them to explore.
Use paw-friendly materials to make these pathways, such as flagstones or smooth gravel, rather than sharp rocks or stones. This will prevent your dog from damaging delicate garden plants or stepping on them.
Designate a Dog-Friendly Area for Exercise
When your dog runs and plays in the yard, you’ll likely notice he or she spends a lot of time digging, climbing or jumping up on fences and walls. A designated exercise area will prevent them from destroying your garden and keep your yard looking neat and tidy.
Make a Fence that’s Sturdy and Secure
A strong fence will keep your dog from running through it or escaping. Install a fence that’s at least 6ft high, but if you have an active or athletic dog, you may need to go up to seven or eight feet.
Be sure to do regular checks of the fence and patch any holes or spaces where your dog can get through it if he gets loose. Terriers, especially, are notorious diggers, so check your fence regularly to ensure it’s secure at the base.
Provide an Outdoor Litter Box
For dogs that prefer to poo in the yard, provide an outdoor litter box with an attractive cover to encourage them to use it. Then, if you clean it up often, your pet will know where to go and you won’t have to constantly clean up messes in your garden.
Creating a Separate Play and Rest Area
A separate area for your dog to play in will not only keep them from destroying your garden but also redirect their attention from other areas that are less appealing to them. This will allow you to focus on weeding and planting, without worrying about your dog’s destruction in the meantime!
You can also plant some odor-resistant plants, which will reduce the amount of urine you have to clean up in your garden. This will also save you from having to re-plant in those areas where your dog frequents most.