Make Your Garden Safe for Your Pets

A dog in the garden with a watering can

It’s not just humans who enjoy going out into the garden as soon as the sun starts shining. Our dogs and cats love “garden time” too. It means they can laze in the sun, chase insects and play games – and spend quality time with the people they love best.

Of course, we want out pets to have fun and enjoy the sun, but just like in our homes, we need to pet-proof our gardens so it’s safe for them outside.

Here are some simple ways to make your garden a safe place for your pets to play:

Pests: Snails, slugs, fleas and ticks and other pests can be really nasty to your garden. But what we use to kill these critters can often be much nastier to our pets. At Live the Pet Life, we prefer natural options. For snails and slugs, we like eggshells or diatomaceous earth because they provide jagged barriers we can put around the plants. Snail killer is one of the most toxic substances that people put in yards.

To keep fleas and ticks out of your garden and off your pets, reach for something that kills fleas, flea eggs and ticks – and repels mosquitoes – naturally, like Natural Care products. It’s always reassuring to look at products for pets and see that the active ingredients are botanical oils like peppermint and Eugenol, instead of hard-to-pronounce toxic chemicals.

Walls and fences: If you have a dog, you’ll need a boundary wall that’s a least 6-8 ft. high, depending on the size of your furry friend and their capabilities. If you have a cat, add a fence-top barrier to stop them escaping – the outside world is dangerous for our kitties. To prevent your dog digging under the fence, bury the bottom of it several inches in the ground or add a cement base. Do periodic inspections for holes in the fence where you pet could escape. Other options include electronic fences.

Gate: It’s every pet parent’s nightmare: a delivery person leaves the gate open and their dog escapes. To prevent this from happening, install a gate that automatically closes.

Steps: If you have a senior dog with mobility issues who has trouble maneuvering steps, decks and porches, consider getting a foldable dog ramp with a gentle incline to help them climb up and down.

Shed: Make sure to keep the shed door closed so that your pets don’t get trapped inside. Also, put any toxic chemicals on shelves high up so your pets can’t get into them.

Lawn: Dogs love to dig, run around and urinate outside, which can do a lot of damage to your lawn. While some grasses are sturdier than others, the only grass that can withstand these activities is artificial grass. To help prevent urine patch burns on your grass, consider adding dog rocks to your pooch’s water. They absorb excess nitrates, which means your dog will excrete less – and nitrates are what causes burn patches. You can also try the Pee Post outdoor training aid from Simple Solution, which encourages puppies and dogs to eliminate in a specific area of your garden.

Compost bin: Keep the lid tightly closed to prevent your pets foraging for scraps (and to deter rats).

Shade and water: Protect your pet from the sun and dehydration. Provide plenty of shade with trees and bushes and keep your pets hydrated with a supply of cool, fresh water.

Plants and Weeds: There are a number of plants and flowers that should not be grown in a pet-friendly garden as they are toxic to pets. Surprisingly, chamomile (both normal and Roman varieties) is a plant that should be kept away from pets; it can cause issues from allergies to vomiting to bleeding. Daffodils and dahlias can also cause issues in both dogs and cats. And for cats in particular, lilies are very unsafe – even the pollen can cause toxicity in our feline friends. Instead of these, consider planting pet-friendly flowers like petunias, roses or sunflowers. All are safe to have around cats and dogs.

A word on weeds: Although there are weeds that are dangerous for dogs to eat, we also need to be careful with weed killers or similar herbicides, which can cause pets to vomit if ingested. We recommend bringing in your pet’s food and water bowl, any toys and your pooch himself if you spray herbicides in your garden or yard – or better yet, dig up the weeds by hand.

And finally, to complete your pet-friendly garden, consider creating a play area for your pooch or kitty, with a sand pit for your dog, or a series of tunnels for your cat.

And that covers most of it. Just remember to use common sense in the garden as you do elsewhere for your pet. Till next time!

Do you have any other gardening tips for pet parents? Share them in the comments below!

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