How to pet proof your garden

The best way to protect your garden and pets is by designing a pet-friendly garden.  Raised beds and clearly designed pathways help to keep dogs out of the flowerbeds and protect the more delicate plants.  For areas where the dogs (and children) will be letting off steam choose tougher more hardy plants or shrubs that can withstand a bit of battering.

Ensure your fencing is secure with no gaps or holes to prevent your dog escaping.  Look at your pet’s habits too – is he a digger? If so, why not give him an area that it is ok for him to dig in and encourage him to use this area, by hiding toys or treats in it, rather than the lawn.  For cats consider planting cat nip (Nepeta cataria) or cat grass that is safe for them to chew on.

The main dangers for your pet come from chemicals and fertilizers, so try and reduce your use of these products – it is better for the wildlife in your garden too.  Metaldehyde (slug pellets) is the most common poisoning we see.

Some plants can be toxic to animals.  Common plants that are toxic include: crocuses, azaleas, bleeding heart (dicentra), box, bluebells, broom, cyclamen, daffodils, dieffenbachia, hyacinth bulbs, mistletoe, yew, onions and rhubarb.  Although most plants are not attractive to pets, puppies and kittens are especially inquisitive and dog can chew on sticks when you are pruning.

Mulches – cocoa mulch is toxic if eaten and has the same effect as chocolate.

Be careful with your compost heap as mouldy food can make your pet quite ill – ensure your dog cannot access your compost heap for a quick snack.

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