Do your four-legged friends a favor by making a dog-friendly yard and garden this year. By making your yard a safer place, you will allow your dog to enjoy more time outdoors, playing and keeping you company in the garden. Keep your canine’s natural curiosity at bay by protecting your plants in simple and creative ways. Finally, adding a few basic features for your pet’s comfort is a perfect way to demonstrate just how grateful you are to have him or her in the family.
The Dangers of Toxic Plants
Many plant species are highly toxic to dogs, causing illness or even death if your pet eats them. Some are obvious and well-known, but others may surprise you. Apple trees, for example, are toxic if dogs, cats or horses eat their stems, leaves or seeds. Lilies, narcissus and amaryllis all contain toxins that are harmful to pets if eaten. The ASPCA has identified more than 700 plants that can harm animals, including aloe vera, begonia, chrysanthemum, ivy and potato. Some dogs will self-monitor, but others will munch on just about anything they find. Avoid planting toxic species, or create safety barriers. Remember that fertilizers, herbicides and other garden chemicals are also toxic, so keep them well out of your pets’ reach as well.
Using Barriers and Fencing
Good fences make good neighbors, it’s said, and the same holds true for man’s best friend. In fact, the American Kennel Club recommends creating backyard boundaries for your dog using raised beds, low fences, chicken wire cages, stone borders or decorative block partition walls. It’s best to combine vocal commands with fences and barriers to help your dog learn what areas are off-limits. Until you’re certain of Fido’s good behavior, keep an eye on him in the garden to keep him out of trouble.
Adding Dog-Friendly Features
In exchange for the “No!” areas of your yard and garden, give your furry friends a place of their own. Set aside a portion of the yard that belongs to them, where they can romp and play and answer nature’s call. Make sure their area has a sunny spot as well as a shelter or shade structure where they can cool off and dig to their heart’s content. Give them a high spot (a tree stump or large boulder for example), which will serve both as a lookout perch and a marking spot. You can even add puppy’s own garden, with wheatgrass, tansy and artemisia. For bonus points, add a sand pit and bury some favorite toys in it.
Millcreek Gardens has been helping dog-loving gardeners in the Salt Lake City area since 1955. Let their knowledgeable associates help you create the perfect dog-friendly yard and garden.