Calling all puppy owners: how to dog-proof your garden

Tips to save your outdoor space from your chewing pooch

3 minute read

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You've just brought your new dog home and you can't wait to shower it with love and affection, but wait! Are your plants safe for your pooch to play around? Is there a gaping hole under the fence?

  • 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

A few simple tricks can make your garden safe for your pooch.

Gardening presenter Ellen Mary (@EllenMaryGarden) has just welcomed a new furry friend into her family. As someone who loves her pet and her garden, 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're 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.

While 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 they're 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 a few, are toxic to dogs. Always check before you buy any plants that your 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, jasmine or even a grape vine. These will help 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 harmful to them. 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 the dog 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.

Follow Ellen Mary on Twitter @EllenMaryGarden or check out Ellen Mary's website for more gardening tips.



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