Dogs are not only our beloved pets but often times, a member of the family. They like to follow us all over the house and especially when we go out to the garden they can always be found close at our heels. I don’t know about you, but I always try to make sure our garden is as dog-friendly as can be and that I am not planting things that would be toxic if my dog were to eat it. Here are some tips to create a dog friendly garden that you and your pooch will both love.
If you have the space, grow a medium-sized tree for a good shade spot for your pooch to rest under. Don’t forget to have both shade-loving and heat-loving grass planted so that he can take those afternoon naps he is so fond of. I like to create a nice sunny grassy patch on one side of my vegetable garden and have my dog hang out there while I am tilling away in the garden. He’s close by and out of harm’s way and I am working away doing something I love.
If you don’t want your dog to have access to your flower beds or vegetable garden, think about using raised beds and containers. If you want to keep your garden at ground level, put up a fence around it to keep the little guy from trampling your petunias. One secret I have found is to crush egg shells in areas that my dog goes in that I don’t want him in. The egg shells will hurt his little paws momentarily but it teaches him that the flower bed isn’t a nice and comfy place to hang out. The egg shells have much needed calcium for your plants – so they don’t mind.
Where ever you live, you want to make sure you have a list of toxic plants for your area. In the southwest there are Oleanders on every corner and in every yard but most people don’t know that every part of that plant is toxic to dogs. Typically, dogs know which plants to steer clear of as they have a good internal radar, but sometimes they will get into things they shouldn’t! Grapes, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes are especially toxic to dogs and I recommend only planting them in areas where your four-legged friend can’t get to.
It is also important to know when you spray pesticides and insecticides around your garden, that your pets will ingest it as well. Most containers say to keep animals away for 24-48 hours. Better yet, why not use an organic pesticide or plant those plants that naturally deter pests like marigolds to keep your garden safe from chemicals?
Same thing goes for fertilizers. A lot of synthetic fertilizers are not good when accidentally ingested. Try using Blood and Bone meal, earthworm castings and compost. Make sure to remember that dogs love the smell of blood and bone meal and you will need to keep the dog away for at 24-48 hours so it can seep into the ground. If they are diggers, they will search for where that scent is coming from – even going to find the box and sticking their nose in there. It smells like Heaven to them. Once it has soaked into the ground, the scent dissipates thankfully!
Teaching your dog to smell the plants and not eat them can be a challenging task but the rewards of having good quality time with your pooch in the garden will be worth it.