Bulbs are popping and seeds are starting to take root. For the green-thumbed among us, you know what this means: Gardening season is here! If you have an outdoor cat or a garden-loving dog, you might need to do some thinking about how you design your yard, what’s planted, and where you allow your pets to play. See below for some tips on pet-proofing your garden.RELATED STORY: How Do Dogs Get Fleas?
Are the Plants OK for Pets to Eat?
Many of the very prettiest flowers, shrubs, and plants can be toxic to cats and dogs. Even non-toxic greenery, like grass, can cause pets to have an upset tummy. If you know your pets will be in the garden, take time before you plant to make certain you're not introducing something potentially toxic to your pet's environment.RELATED STORY: What Plants Are Poisonous to Pets?
Is Your Fertilizer Toxic?As well as killing mites and bugs and encouraging blooms from flowers, some fertilizers, pesticides, or insect repellants can contain ingredients that are toxic for pets. If you spray fertilizers or insect repellents on the grass, and your pet walks on the freshly treated area, it's all too easy for some of the chemicals to wind up on your pet's paws. Licking the paws later on can lead to your dog or cat ingesting some of the toxins. Aim to use pet-safe fertilizers, and keep your cat or dog off the lawn and away from the yard area just after applying chemicals.RELATED STORY: 7 Unexpected Dangers to Pets in the Summer
Design With Your Cat or Dog in MindAs you plot out your garden, think about your particular pet. Is it easy to train them to stay away from certain areas? If so, plant at will -- but if your dog or cat has a tendency to go where they’re not wanted, or dig up herbs, shrubs, and flowers, you may want to establish boundaries. Here are a few ideas for how you can lay out your garden to accommodate your pet’s habits:
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- Create Pathways: Generally speaking, many pets will stay on pathways (and away from flower beds).
- Establish Boundaries: Use materials like bricks, rocks, and leafy barrier plants to form boundaries around areas that should be kept pet-free. You can also put up a gate or fencing if you really want to make sure to keep pets away from vulnerable seedlings.
- Try Containers: Raised beds, or containers, can be a good way to keep plants and flowers away from paws.