Having a nice garden and a dog together don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but just as you might have to compromise on how your garden looks based on how destructive your dog is, so too do you need to make allowances and be thoughtful about what comes into your garden in order to keep your dog safe.
This article will outline seven steps to creating a dog-safe garden, covering the key points you need to think about. Read on to learn more.
First of all, whether you’re starting with a clean slate or revamping an existing garden, make sure that nothing you bring into it in terms of plants and flowers could be dangerous to your dog. Different parts of different plants can be toxic, so check everything out carefully before you start planning your foliage.
For instance, daffodil bulbs are toxic but the rest of the plant is relatively safe. However, as many dogs like to dig and will dig up bulbs, plus they’re round-ish in shape and fit neatly into a dog’s mouth, these might well pose a problem. Crocuses are a safe alternative, and some other dog-safe plants include calendula, nasturtium, or most plants with edible flowers.
Things like lavender and honeysuckle are fine for dogs too, and may attract bees; which on the one hand is great because bee populations are dwindling, but can itself be a problem if your dog is apt to snap at them and risk getting stung.
Also, it is wise to avoid plants with thorns or sharp spikes like most roses, or be prepared to fence them off with sturdy mesh.
On the subject of fencing, they do say that good fences make for good neighbours, and this is very true if you have a dog; they also keep your dog enclosed and safe from straying or harm.
Buying and installing a fence or boundary that is suitable for dogs can be costly, particularly if you decide to put a wall around your garden. That said, the more time and money you spend in the first place, the more resilient and long-lasting your boundary will be.
Make sure your fences or boundaries are made of a material your dog can’t get through, and are high enough to prevent climbing or jumping out. Also, install deep enough foundations to keep digging dogs in too!
Pesticides can be harmful to dogs, as can things designed to make plants and grass grow too, so check ingredients and warning labels on everything very carefully.
Products like weed killer, fertiliser, and slug and snail repellent can all be dangerous to dogs, so check labels and follow any instructions on safer products carefully, like keeping your dog off the lawn until a product is dry.
You may well be looking for natural alternatives to chemicals and pesticides, either with your dog in mind specifically or simply because this matches your own ethos. However, don’t assume that just because a product is organic or natural that it is safe for dogs too; after all, even some foods that are safe for humans are dangerous for dogs.
Innocuous-seeming products like cocoa mulch and cocoa husks can be toxic to dogs as they come from the cocoa plant, and fertilisers that contain blood or bonemeal are natural but nitrous-rich and dangerous if your dog eats them.
Your dog will probably love playing in the garden, and over time, quite a collection of toys might make their way outside. However, even when it comes to toys that are fine to use outside and that won’t be affected by the elements, bring them inside when play is over the for day; don’t leave them outside overnight. This is because slugs and snails are apt to crawl over them, leaving slug slime or snail trail; and with it, the risk of lungworm.
Negate the risk by bringing toys in before this can happen.
One upside of having a garden is that it’s easy to let your dog out to do their business, but you should still be conscientious about cleaning up after them and picking up the poop.
Not only is it not nice to have your garden littered with piles of poo, they can also spread disease to people, and further, worms to your dog, and also to people who walk on the garden in bare feet as well.
Finally, if you have a pond or other water feature in your garden, make sure your dog isn’t endangered by it. Could they get out without help if they fell in, would they be able to stand up in it, might they get trapped, or are they unable to swim?
If you have any doubts, either fill the pond in or fence it off.