Gardening 101

11 Pet-Friendly Garden Tips

Having your furry friends cooped up inside is unfair to them and hard for you. A game of fetch or just loitering around outside is good for both their physical and mental health. But you can’t have your dog trampling over all the plants, can you? Dog-scaping your backyard is your best bet. Don’t know how? Let’s discuss 11 ways to make your garden pet safe and vice versa.

1. Use sturdy planters

A knocked-over planter spewing soil isn’t a nice sight. Even if your dog is trained, they can knock over planters just by running past it. And getting reprimanded for playing is discouraging for the dog.

To prevent this, use heavy planters. You can repurpose wooden troughs or large terracotta pots for planting. The container, combined with the weight of the soil, will be hard for your dog to knock over.

2. Be careful when selecting plants

Many plants are toxic to your pets if ingested. So you need to be extra careful when selecting plants for your garden. Popular garden plants like Lily, Azalea, and Pothos are highly toxic and can cause significant harm to your pets. Even if you have the best-trained pet, avoid these plants.

Fixtures like plant walls and moss mats are very popular in gardening. But peat moss could cause gastrointestinal issues for your dog. For a safe version of this fixture, you can use artificial moss instead.

You should also research which plants can tolerate urine and which don’t when selecting them. Plants like Rose and Mexican Sage can tolerate high levels of nitrogen. Plant these on the borders of the flower bed. Plant nitrogen-intolerant plants inside the garden bed.

3. Fence your garden bed

This won’t do much against cats. But if your dog is notorious for getting into the garden bed, create a fence they can’t cross. If you have a small dog breed, you can use chicken wire for the fence. But for larger breeds, you’ll need to install a sturdy frame first. Wood or steel fences stand the test against large dog breeds.

4. Start training young

Don’t expect your 5-year old dog to suddenly stop pulling out flowers. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Start training as soon as you can. Teach them to stay off the flowerbed and not to eat stuff from the ground. You can also teach them to urinate in a particular area by leash walking your dog in the garden till they learn.

5. Select mature starters

Itty-bitty plant starters are no match for your dog. One chomp and the plant is gone. Instead, get mature starters that can hold their own against your pet. This might be more expensive, but your plant will have a better chance to grow to full size.

A good way to start from seed is if you fence new plants from your dog. You can remove the fencing once the plant grows enough.

6. Give them pavement pathways

Dogs see it as their duty to patrol the ground. It doesn’t matter to them if there’s a flowerbed in their patrol area. Have an established path before you start letting your dog out. Then, leash-walk them in your garden for the first couple of months. This will habituate them to stay on the path.

7. Get an electric collar

No matter how well-trained they are, some dogs love to make a break for it. If you can relate to this statement, then an electric dog collar is your best bet. Don’t worry, you won’t be reported for animal cruelty. A shock collar delivers a slight tingle to your pet when they approach the boundary of your property. This is most useful in areas where you’re prohibited from building fences. Do note that this should be a last-resort option. Always try positive reinforcement first.

8. Water and shade are essential

Your pets can get a heatstroke from being in the sun for too long. A very easy way to prevent that is to always keep water accessible for them. Get a self-filling water bowl for your pets so they always have fresh water.

The garden should also have a shaded portion for your pet to rest in. If you have a porch, then cover it with a pergola or a canopy. If these options aren’t feasible for your garden, then install a doggy door so your pet can come inside at will.

9. Clean your garden often

Stray pieces of nails and sharp fatal objects always seem to find their way into gardens. And pets also have the tendency to explore these objects with their mouths. Make it a habit to check your garden every morning for these objects.

Most pets are fond of dirt mounds and leaf piles. But they also try to come in after rolling around in the dirt. Playing in lawn clippings can also turn your pet into a shade of green. Keep your garden clean to prevent all of these scenarios.

10. Avoid Cocoa bean mulch

Just like chocolate, cocoa bean mulch is harmful to your pet. It may smell and look good, but if ingested, it can cause trembling and even seizures. Cocoa mulch is also harmful to cats. The best alternative is to use wood or stone mulch. It may not smell as good, but it is safe.

11. Pesticide vs. Pet

All chemical pesticides are harmful to your pet. Your pets can get poisoned by inhaling, ingesting, or contact with the chemical. If you’ve just treated your plants, then don’t let your pet out till the pesticide dries. Follow the label directions on how long to keep your pet away.

You should also remove dog toys and food bowls that are sitting outside. If you notice any sign of poisoning, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.

Pets love being outside. Use these garden tips to make your yard the best playground for them.

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