How do I create a pet-friendly garden?

Your garden is the perfect place to enjoy with your pets. However, while you may be in the safety of your home, there are a number of hazards present in your garden which could harm your pet.

Here are a few cat and dog-friendly garden ideas to help protect your garden and keep your pet safe.

1. Raise flower beds

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.

2. Identify toxic plants

Some plants can be toxic to animals so make sure that your garden contains only cat and dog-friendly plants and flowers.  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 dogs can chew on sticks when you are pruning.

3. Secure fencing

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.

image of a cat and dog lying on grass for vets now article on pet-friendly garden ideas
Make your garden a fun and safe place to enjoy with your pet

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4. Provide shady spots

Make sure your pet isn’t at risk of overheating on sunny days by providing shady areas around your garden for them to relax.

5. Store chemicals securely

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.

6. Secure compost

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.

Cocoa mulch is toxic if eaten and has the same effect as chocolate.