If you could ask your dog what his favorite place in the world was, he would probably answer, “the Great Outdoors.” Dogs love coming across other canines and people, sniffing plants and flowers, and rolling around in verdant areas like parks or your backyard. In warmer months, you probably enjoy spending time in the garden as well, having a party or enjoying a good read beneath the sun’s warming rays. The outdoors can be dangerous for dogs, though, so when it comes to designing your garden, ensure it is as dog friendly as possible by following a few handy tips.
Remove Toxic Plants and Chemicals from the Garden
As beautiful as they are, plants and flowers such as lilies, begonias, daffodils, chrysanthemums, autumn crocus, azaleas and oleander can be highly toxic to dogs, causing everything from nausea to organ damage. If you have just adopted a dog or are a first time dog owner, it pays to have a garden expert visit your yard, to help identify any possibly toxic plant species. The SPCA has an informative list of poisonous plants, which you can also consult before letting your dog outside for the first time.
Chemicals are another problem; a good garden shed that is large enough to allow you to organize your tools and products well (i.e. all chemicals on top shelves and sharp items neatly stored away) is key.
Try to rely on natural fertilizers such as compost, and deter insects with natural sprays created from neem juice or water diluted with essential oils such as lemon or bergamot; many chemical alternatives can be poisonous to dogs, even when ingested in small amounts.
Ensure Your Dog Has a Shady Spot to Rest In
Invest in a good dog house, which your dog will love relaxing in when it gets too hot. Place it beneath a tree or roof, to prevent overheating in the summer. Make sure your dog has all he needs nearby, adding a bowl full of fresh water.
A dog house/large crate/foldable metal fence serves a second purpose: that of keeping your dog safe while you are working with potentially dangerous tools in the garden, or mowing the lawn.
When buying a new lawnmower and other heavy gardening equipment, base your selection around your yard’s needs, but try as much as possible to opt for cordless, more silent machines, to reduce the chances of accidents and to keep dogs calm. Dogs can be known to jump before machines suddenly, which can potentially result in injury for them or yourself.
Ensure Your Dog has a Place to Walk, and a Place to Play
Don’t overfill your garden with plants; ensure there is enough grassy space for your dog to enjoy a good run, play fetch, or romp around with family members (both human and canine).
If you are worried about their urine ‘burning’ spots in the grass, try a product like natural rock urine patch preventers, which are placed into dogs’ water bowls, and which absorb the chemicals from water that stain grass.
Build a stone or cement path between the fence and your lawn; this will prevent your dog from digging under the fence to escape, and also provide a nice clear path he can walk upon.
A Makeshift Digging Pit
If your dog loves nothing more than digging, deter him from doing so by building a small sandpit in a far corner of the lawn. Dig up a little soil and fill the gap with sand. Bury Fido’s favorite toy beneath the sand, and watch him dig like there is no tomorrow.
For a beautiful, safe garden your dog will enjoy spending time in for many years to come, eliminate toxic plants and chemicals, rely less on poisonous fertilizers and chemicals, and take your dog into consideration when buying and storing machinery and tools. Finally, ensure he has a nice shady spot in which to disconnect, and make sure he has plenty of opportunity to play.