With a dog’s curiosity never faltering, pet-proofing your garden is a helpful way to give them the freedom they require outdoors, while ensuring they are kept safe, happy and healthy while at play. If you want to know what measures you should be taking to make your garden dog-friendly, read on to find our top five tips.
Secure the perimeter
Having a dog is an extra reason to fence off the borders of your garden, with little more nerve-wracking than watching them sprint away through open gates and gaps. While you might already have this fencing in place for your own security and privacy, you should be regularly checking these for any holes or damage to prevent your dog from escaping.
As your dog grows, these fences may need to be changed. Your gates and fences will have to accommodate even the most energetic of dogs, so be sure you’re installing ones that are still taller than them even when they’re at their most excitable! Choose a durable and weather-proof material for these, to help secure your garden effectively—metal and chain-link are both strong options that can resist even the most turbulent weather conditions.
If you think this makes your garden look unappealing, grow some barrier plants round the perimeter to hide the fencing—bamboo works particularly well.
Designate a section for them
Digging up the lawn, chewing on grass and ripping up flower beds are among a dog’s favourite outdoor activities, often leaving us with unsightly and unkempt gardens. Prevent this by designating a certain section of the garden for your pet to do as they please. This could include leaving a patch of overgrown grass in a concealed corner of the garden or creating a digging patch for them. You could also try planting some things they can benefit from: dogs are drawn to peppermint when they feel sick or have indigestion, so will enjoy having this around to nibble on.
Buying a wind- and weather-proof kennel for them will prove helpful when they need some shelter from the sun or a bit of downtime. Finish off this space with some of their favourite toys, and a comfy bed to make it their ultimate chill-out spot this summer. And don’t forget to have water bowls dotted around to encourage them to drink while roaming outside! You can pick everything up from a pet supplier like Millbry Hill.
Use pet-safe gardening solutions
Fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides contain a lot of chemicals which can be harmful to animals, so make the switch and use organic or dog-friendly solutions on your lawn, like this one from Viano, to minimise the risk of toxicity. Additionally, refrain from putting any additives into water features or ponds, as it’s likely your dog will head straight for these for a quick drink on a hot summer’s day.
If you have a vole or other animal issue, you may have laid out some bait for it, but be aware that this will look—and probably smell—extremely appealing to your dog. These can be highly toxic so should be avoided or set out when your dog isn’t around to be tempted.
You should also be careful which plants you choose to grow in your garden, as some can be extremely poisonous to your dog. Steer clear of planting things like daffodil and tulip bulbs, as well as wisteria and hydrangeas, which could be fatal if you dog decides to chew them.
Pave pathways for them
Dogs love having pathways to take to get to their favourite spots—especially when the lawn is wet—so put these in place to help deter them from a route across your flowers and plants.
Although they generally have tough paws, they can feel the temperature through the pads on them, making some flooring potentially hazardous in certain weather conditions. Pea gravel or other small stones tend to be more paw-friendly than concrete slabs and brick, so stick with these. Mulched pathways are also great—just be careful that they aren’t cocoa bean hulls, as these can make your dog sick if they decide to snack on them!
Dogs are very loyal animals and often like staying close to you, so chances are if you’re chilling out on the decking, they’ll be there too! But, be aware that the wood can substantially heat up from the sun, so lay down some thin blankets or large cushions for them to relax on.
Remove any hazards
It might sound obvious, but there are some things that are easy to miss when clearing up your garden for your dog’s leisure. Ladders and stools that your dog might be tempted to step on should be removed prior to letting them outdoors. Additionally, investing in some pond cover net, like this one from Hozelock, can deter your dogs from fishing out any wildlife, or prevent your puppy from falling into the water.
Everyday items left lying around like hoses, watering cans and spades can also pose as a threat if your dog decides to chew them, potentially choking on softer materials or breaking their teeth on hard metal. Doing a quick tidy up before you let them out can remove any worries you might have and ensure your dog is kept safe and secure while out.
Your garden is bound to be your dog’s favourite place to explore, so make sure it’s dog-friendly and accommodating for them. Whether it’s building a shelter for them to relax in or swapping out potentially harmful chemicals and plants for dog-friendly ones, you can help to keep your pet happy for years to come!