One of the major obstacles to designing a garden when you have one or more dogs in the family is finding a way to keep both your fur baby and your cherished plants safe and healthy. While most dogs won’t necessarily chew all your prized blossoms, they may head for the vegetable patch for a tasty snack at play time. Unfortunately, altogether too many pets have grown ill (or worse!) by eating plants which are toxic to the species. So, no matter how careful you are, it pays to have good pet insurance to pay for that costly visit to the vet. Even with the best of intentions, here are some tips on how to design a dog-friendly garden that both you and your dog will absolutely love.
Set Aside a Dog-Friendly Area
Many families with dogs have found that by setting aside an area where your dog can romp and play helps to keep him out of the plants which they shouldn’t be near. Not only will you need good dog insurance for a vet visit if they get into something toxic, but you will be designing this area especially for them. You can put an assortment of toys here, a comfortable area for them to lay about in, and even bury a few of their favourite toys for them to dig up. You don’t, after all, want them digging up those carrots you’ve planted for this year’s fresh produce, or do you?
Build Boundaries around Those No-No Areas
Before talking about the kinds of boundaries you’ll want to build, keep in mind that some plants truly are toxic to pets. It is especially important to check out sites like Everypaw when your new puppy arrives because you’ll want puppy insurance just ‘in case.’ Older dogs heed those boundaries once they’ve been trained, but puppies take some guidance. If you are busy in other areas of the garden, it only takes a moment for that little puppy to ingest enough to make them thoroughly ill. Now then, as for the boundaries you’ll build, lattice fencing looks lovely but by no means plant grape vines to trail up the fence. Did you know that grapes are toxic to dogs? You’ll need that insurance for dogs if your puppy decides to nibble a grape or two. Sometimes that’s all it takes to send you and your fur baby off to the vet!
Set Aside a Designated Potty Area
Within the area of the garden where your dog is allowed to play, set aside a designated potty area for them to do their business. It may take some training to get them to potty only there, but with proper planning, it can work well for both you and your dog. One thing you will want to avoid is planting grass in their potty area. The copious amounts of nitrogen in urine is toxic to grass and will quickly have it turning into nasty shades of yellow and brown. It is suggested that you use gravel or mulch and if you have a male dog, find something akin to a fire hydrant for them to ‘lift’ at. Some gardeners use fountains for this as they are easy to hose off and attractive to the eye.
Beware of These Plants in the Dog-Designated Area
So far, grapes have been mentioned as toxic to dogs, but there are other plants equally, if not more, dangerous to canines. You may be tempted to throw in a few flowers to beautify the doggy den, but steer clear of chrysanthemums, carnations, and daffodils. These are all poisonous to dogs as are tulips, morning glories, lilies, hosta and yes, ivy! You may be tempted to plant ivy on that lattice fence mentioned above but this would be a grave mistake if you have a chewer in the family! Perhaps brightly coloured paint would suffice to beautify that fence, but some plants may cause more harm than good.
Making Room for Doggy in Your Garden Space
There will be times when you want to sit with a cool drink to enjoy the garden you’ve worked so hard to design and grow. Of course, you will have a people area as well as that designated doggy den, but don’t forget that like a child, your fur baby will feel totally abandoned if he needs to watch you lounging about without him at your side. When planning your sitting area, always make a comfortable lounge for your dog as well. While some people may not mind your dog hopping up beside them in a garden chair, other guests may not be too happy to have dogs share their space. An outdoor ottoman works well so that the fur baby can be ‘with’ his humans without being ‘on’ them.
It’s lovely to share your garden with your canine family member, but always ensure that you keep them away from toxic plants and your prized vegetables and flowers. A garden is meant to be a sanctuary, so let’s keep it free from stress. This is how you do it.
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