Dogs are fantastic pets to have around, they change your life for the better, but sometimes people are hesitant to get one because of the destruction that can follow them. When adopting a dog, a responsible pet owner needs to pet-proof their home, this includes pet-proofing the backyard. Fido also requires a set schedule for feeding and exercise.
One way you can make sure your dog gets the exercise they require is by making sure your backyard is suitable for their needs. With the right garden design, you can give your dog room to play, while also growing out the garden of your dreams.
Map It Out
The first step to making a dog-friendly garden is to map it out. The biggest factors to include in the planning are the size of your yard and your budget. Then, you can make a list of everything you would like to have. Keep in mind that not everything will work in the finished design.
On your list, think about what you use your backyard for. Your design will depend on what kind of garden you want. How much time do you spend in it now? How much space will your dog use up?
- Think about the placement of the following items:
- Types of plants: trees, flowers, fruits, and vegetables
- Lounging area
- Water features
- Grilling area
Once you have your ideal garden in mind, you can start mapping it out to see what can realistically fit into your space. A pet-friendly garden should keep as much open space as possible for your dog to run around and exercise in.
A few ideas for your garden would be:
- running path
- place for your dog to relieve himself
- weather-protected area to rest in
You should consider adding a dog house outside for when your puppy wants to relax in the fresh air. Shade from a large tree can also offer the needed protection from the sun in the summer.
Keeping Your Dog Out of Your Plants
In order to protect your plants from your pooch, there are several options you can explore.
Planting a garden around the edges of the yard, or next to the house itself will help minimize your dog’s interaction with your favorite shrubs. Dog fences can help keep your dog out of the garden, as well. Strong smelling spices are also known to keep dogs away from gardens, such as dried mustard or crushed pepper. You can also use containers or raised beds if you know your dog will inevitably get into your garden and destroy your plants.
Another option is to put your garden in your front yard rather than your backyard. This way, you won’t have to worry about your dog digging up your garden or eating plants that they shouldn’t be eating. This won’t completely prevent your furry pal from getting into your garden, it will reduce the frequency of this happening.
Another option is, a fenced out area just for your dog. This field can keep your pooch out of trouble. This is especially true for larger dogs, such as German Shepherds , because they’re more likely to get into trouble, but also have more need for exercise. Also keep in mind that the more you provide healthy outlets of energy for your dog, the less likely they are to get into trouble.
Regardless of the extent to which you block the access of your garden to your dog, they will likely get in it at some point. In fact, you should plan on them getting into your garden at one point or another. This is why you should make sure that all the plants that you put in your garden are pet-friendly and dog safe — this goes for houseplants as well.
The ASPCA offers a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs that you can refer to. A few herbs on the list include:
Some dog-friendly fruits and vegetables on the list include:
- Acorn squash
- Butternut squash
- Wild strawberry
The list also includes plenty of flowers and other decorative plants to beautify your yard for your pet safely. If you want to grow a plant that’s toxic for Fido, it’s best to do it inside your house. Just make sure to keep it out of reach from them!
Ban All Pesticides
Pet parents should know that pesticides profusely pester pups’ health. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, even the least toxic of insecticides can cause health problems to animals with enough exposure. Luckily, there are many natural alternatives to pesticides that are just as effective and don’t cause harm to any family member.
One natural way you can do this is to build a strong ecosystem in your yard. According to gardening experts, “by (naturally) improving the soil, your plants will become stronger, healthier and more resistant to pests and disease. A good practice is to add companion plants that deter unwanted critters and benefit nearby plants.”
You can also make your own natural and organic pesticides, like a salt spray, citrus and cayenne pepper mix, chrysanthemum flower tea spray, and more. Combining these options will keep your garden healthy and flourishing while prioritizing the safety of your pet.
Natural Flea and Tick Prevention
When you’re planning out your garden, you may want to consider flea and tick prevention for your dog. Not only are these parasitic creatures out to cause Fido discomfort and pain, but they carry diseases. These include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or tapeworms. Using flea and tick control will help keep your dog safe from those diseases and harmful insects.
Eco-friendly is Pet-friendly
Global warming is no longer a looming threat on the planet but a reality that is destroying many parts of the planet. One way to do your part is to conserve water with an eco-friendly landscape. Housing experts state that a sustainable lawn is attainable with a few easy changes. One such change is replacing or reducing the grass in your lawn: “Consider minimizing your lawn space with some aesthetically pleasing rocks, flower beds and mulch covered gardens that will help retain water.”
Another option is to choose the type of grass you use carefully. “You can also conserve water with the sod you use. UC Verde Buffalo Grass, Dune Wedge, and Native California Bentgrass are all alternatives to standard sod that require about 50 percent less water than your average grassy lawn.” Making changes to reduce the water use for your garden will help improve your sustainability.
Pet Safety Tips
Lastly, you should keep an eye out for your dog’s health. Even with all the preparation, planning, and prevention efforts, your pup can still get into something they’re not supposed to. It’s not always possible to be watching your dog all the time, but you can learn to recognize signs if he eats something harmful.
For example, if you notice your dog regurgitating or vomiting, it can be a sign that something is off. This could just be because your pup ate too fast, but it might be in reaction to something they ate. Dog’s bodies are usually good at getting something damaging out of their system. However, if you notice something off in your pet, it is always best to take them to the vet immediately.
Some signs and symptoms of dog poisoning to be aware of include:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive or abnormal drooling
As a pet parent, you will likely be able to tell if something is wrong with your pet. Just make sure to act fast, and if you are in doubt, you should always consult a vet.
Creating a garden that your dog can enjoy as much as you do, may take some planning, but it is completely achievable. Just make sure to map out a yard that gives your dog space to run around, include an area for your dog to relax, plant dog-friendly plants, and make it as natural and sustainable as possible.
About the Author
Devin writes from somewhere along the West Coast. He is infected with wanderlust but always tries to bring his dog, Scrummy, along for the ride. You can follow him on Twitter.