- Let your dog explore the boundaries of their new world
- Your dog is not the only animal in the garden to keep safe
- Enjoy being outside in the garden with your dog
Gardening presenter Ellen Mary (@EllenMaryGarden) has just welcomed a new furry friend into her family – here, she shares her top tips to help you keep your dog happy and your garden looking great.
Secure your boundary
Check all the fence panels surrounding your garden thoroughly to make sure they are high and sturdy enough to prevent your dog from jumping over into the neighbour's garden. You could add some trellis to the top and grow evergreen climbers for extra security and privacy.
Whilst it's lovely to plant hedging to encourage wildlife, dogs can find a way through any gap. Adding wire fencing around the outside can stop your dog breaking the boundaries of your garden.
Keep your garden tidy to deter pests
Having a tidy space can help to keep garden pests at bay – pests that could be harmful to your dog. Scrub the patio and mow the lawn to minimise the flea and tick population. Regularly apply flea treatments and check your dog for ticks after playing in the garden.
Use organic, pet-safe pest control
If you need to use any kind of pest control solution, check that they are pet-friendly. Slug pellets, pesticides and rat poison can be lethal to your dog, so avoid using them at all costs.
If you do want to keep on top of slugs and snails, use Nematodes, which are pet- and wildlife-friendly microorganisms and work a treat.
Keep wildlife safe
Your beloved pooch will soon sniff out all the smells in the garden, so make sure wildlife is kept safe by raising bird and bat boxes, checking frequently for hedgehogs and providing frogs and toads with a safe home.
Check plants are suitable
With the plethora of beautiful plants available, you can still have a lovely garden even if you have to cross a few favourites off the list. Azalea, rhododendron, foxgloves, delphiniums and geraniums, to name but a few, are toxic to dogs. Always check before you buy any plants that your beloved pooch will be able to play happily and safely around them.
The Kennel Club has a useful list of common UK plants that are dangerous to dogs, but for further peace of mind, make sure your dog is covered by adequate pet insurance, just in case something unexpected takes root in your flower bed and your dog discovers it first.
Provide shady areas
Dogs love the sunshine as much as we do and will probably enjoy playing fetch on the lawn to stretch the legs and tire themselves out, but when they are ready for a rest they will need a shady spot to cool down.
A bowl of fresh water placed on a cool patio will help to prevent heatstroke. If you don't have a shady spot, installing a pergola with climbing plants such as honeysuckle, clematis or even a grape vine will help to provide essential, cool relaxation for your dog.
Place toys outside
Leaving fun and interesting toys around the garden reduces the risk of your dog munching on other things like plants, trees and sticks, which can be toxic to dogs. Stop your dog ingesting splinters by enticing them with a suitable chew toy.
Keep your dog off your prize vegetables
Dogs enjoy digging and, lets face it, it's fun to watch. It's not so fun when it's in your vegetable bed, though! Raised beds are an ideal solution: they are less accessible to your dog and they reduce the strain on your back and knees when you're pottering among the flowers, making for happy gardening all round!
Research your canine companion's traits
Consider the breed and size of your dog when making your garden a safe place to play. A smaller dog, such as a Terrier, may like to dig under the fence or hedge, so ensure the boundary is secure and the fence is set deep.
A larger breed, such as a Labrador may be quite happy drinking or stepping in your pond; keep him out by putting a net over.
It's easy to enjoy every moment in the garden, safe in the knowledge your garden is pet-friendly, with just a little preparation before the excitement of bringing your new dog home.