Are you hoping to grow a beautiful garden this summer, but worried that your dog will dig up your seedlings as soon as you plant them? Or are you concerned about potential hazards like poisonous plants and harmful chemicals? Try these tips to grow the garden of your dreams without it becoming a health hazard - or a giant digging pit - for your dog.
Choosing Dog-Friendly Garden Plants
Even if your dog is not known to nibble on things they shouldn’t, you may want to keep your garden dog-friendly. Some plants can cause mild gastrointestinal upset if ingested, while others can be fatal to dogs.
Certain flowers, including chrysanthemums, buttercups, daffodils, foxgloves, and hydrangeas are poisonous to dogs. These are just a few of many poisonous plants, so make sure to research any new plants you’re considering introducing to your garden to ensure they’re dog-friendly.
Plants in the Allium family, including onions, leeks, chives, and garlic, are toxic to dogs in moderate doses and can be fatal in large doses.
On the other hand, there are many plants that your dog can enjoy with you. Peppermint, basil, and parsley are great for adding to homemade treats to help freshen your dog’s breath. Dogs can also enjoy home-grown strawberries, blueberries, peas, spinach, and carrots.
Is Mulch Harmful To Dogs?
Mulch helps soil retain moisture and makes your garden look more visually appealing, but it can be a hazard to your dog. Some mulch is made out of cocoa bean shells, which contain theobromine and caffeine, the stimulants found in chocolate that are toxic to dogs. All types of mulch, even those that do not contain toxic materials, can cause gastrointestinal obstructions or stomach perforations if your dog eats it.
If you must use mulch in your garden, look for a finely shredded variety that’s less tempting for chewing. Rubber mulch and pea gravel can be good alternatives to traditional wood mulch. Pea gravel has the added advantage of being uncomfortable to walk on, so it can help keep your dog from entering your garden.
Keep Bugs Away Without Chemical Pesticides
While it’s disappointing when your crops or flowers get demolished by caterpillars and other pests, using chemical pesticides can cause more harm than good, especially when it comes to your four-legged family members.
There are plenty of organic options to keep pests at bay and help your garden thrive. Food grade diatomaceous earth is made up of ground-up diatoms. It looks similar to talcum powder. You’ll want to avoid inhaling the powder, but once it settles on your plants, it’s harmless to you and your pets. Simply sprinkle it on your plants and across the soil after watering to create a bug-free barrier.
Keeping Your Dog Out Of Your Garden
Gardens are full of tempting sights and smells that your dog might find difficult to resist. You can work with a trainer to help teach your dog boundaries, but in the meantime, it may make sense to make sure your dog simply does not have access to your plantlife. A physical barrier is an easy, reliable way to ensure your dog keeps out of your garden. A fence, especially if lined with chicken wire, can keep out even small dogs with the bonus of keeping your garden safe from birds, rabbits, and other critters. You can also try using raised flower beds, elevated planters, and hanging planters to protect your plants from your curious pup.
Tips For Diggers
For dogs who love to dig, soft, loose topsoil is prime digging real estate. But a digging dog creates unsightly holes, uproots plants, and accelerates soil erosion, only to come inside and track dirt in the house.
You can redirect a digger by creating a digging pit in an area of your yard that’s far from your garden. Filled with non-toxic play sand, a digging pit is a cleaner, less destructive way for your dog to stay entertained.
Dogs sometimes dig to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, it may be worthwhile to provide a temperature controlled dog house or other shelter from the elements.
As you spend more time outside tending to your new seedlings, you'll start to notice how your dog interacts with your garden. It’ll be a great opportunity to establish boundaries and set up fun activities away from your plants. That way, your dog will not feel the need to entertain themselves by getting into mischief.
Any time your dog comes back from the outdoors, whether they’ve been in your garden, at the park, or out on a neighborhood walk, rinse and dry their paws and snout. This coming-inside ritual helps keep pollen, pesticides, and ticks from hitching a ride into your home.
Do you have a dog-friendly garden? Tell us in the comments how you created an outdoor space where your dog and your plants happily coexist.
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