If have a dog, you understand the need to have a dog friendly garden. The excitement and curiosity of visitors to your garden may prove too much for dogs and pups. There’s little as disheartening as watching an energetic, friendly pup galloping around your carefully created border beds destroying those gorgeous plants that took months to grow. And then there is dirt everywhere!
While it might be understandable if Fido decided to dig up the lawn, I guess you would like to know how to prevent it?
So here are a few tips to help you make your garden a dog friendly and a happy, safe place for both you and Fido.
Secure Your Garden with Fences
One of the simplest ways to keep your dog in and other animals out is through the use of a secure fence. A 4ft high fencing around the perimeter is a great start, but you may prefer something more substantial such as a commercial-grade 8ft tall barrier.
Clean up Any Exposed and Unnecessary Soil
While it’s understandable that having a patch of soft earth for your pooch to play in might seem like a good idea, over time this will become another area where dirt enters your garden beds and borders, attracting unwanted pests such as slugs and snails. To avoid these unwanted guests from entering your newly planted beds or newly created borders, fill any exposed soil with gravel or larger chunky pebbles that are easier to move around for you. Of course, there are always alternatives to gravel if it doesn’t fit in with your design plans.
Secure Borders and Plant Beds
An easy way to make sure Fido stays out of your beds is by installing an open weave chicken wire fence along the edges of plant beds which would ordinarily prove problematic. Check regularly that nothing has become trapped inside where they can eat away at your plants unseen.
Utilise Raised Beds
To prevent any dirt from getting into new plant bed soil or coming into contact with other garden surfaces, consider building raised planter boxes using wooden beams covered in a thick layer of pond liners held together with some steel tacks. Raised beds are an excellent solution for all kinds of garden issues including sloped, difficult to reach or awkward spaces, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If you would prefer some pre-made raised planters boxes, these are readily available online too.
Leave Out Doggy Bags
One simple thing that can help keep your garden clean is always having some doggy bags on hand. It might not be possible to train your pup immediately but trying will definitely help in the long run especially if it’s a regular outing with friends and family. Having a designated bin only for dog waste is also beneficial as it won’t mix with kitchen scraps or related items like compostable plants cuttings.
Train Your Dog to Respect the Boundaries
It’s not easy trying to train Fido, especially if he doesn’t know where the boundaries of your dog friendly garden are – but it is possible. Generally, you should be able to get your puppy or newly adopted dog used to your garden boundaries by using some simple reinforcement like food rewards and toys. This will take time and patience, however, so don’t give up on your pup too soon! It might seem like they aren’t listening at times but they are just testing their limits. Keep training sessions short and sweet, then end with something that satisfies them such as a tasty treat or game of fetch in another area of the garden.
Be Careful with Garden Chemicals
While pesticides might seem like a solution, they are especially dangerous for young pups who are still learning what’s acceptable in the garden. There are other humane ways of ridding your garden of pests that won’t end up killing Fido too!
Make Sure All Plants Are Safe For Dogs
While there are some plants that can be quite harmful to your pooch, there are also many safe alternatives such as cacti and succulents for example. By doing your research on the plant or checking with a local nursery if you still aren’t sure, it will add peace of mind knowing they won’t get sick from playing in the garden. Besides dog food allergies, the most common types of allergy reactions come from plants!
Build Doggy Doubles
A great solution to helping Fido burn some energy without destroying your garden is by creating doggy doubles where he can play safely while you relax or enjoy time outdoors too! Depending on what space and budget you have at hand this might seem like an easy project but all it really takes is two simple wooden frames supporting a piece of chicken wire mesh between them and some good-sized toys to enjoy.
Clean Up After Fido
By simply clearing up any leftovers of his food after he’s finished eating, you’re ensuring your garden is not being polluted with nasty chemicals that could have been picked up by him while roaming around the garden. Cleaning up after meals will also encourage him to learn where in the garden it’s appropriate to defecate.
Control Water Flow
This might sound complicated but it all comes down to how you are managing your water flow when using irrigation systems or even watering plants with a hosepipe for example. By making sure they are turned off during times when Fido is out exploring or playing in the garden, you can avoid them accidentally getting sprayed which could lead to irritation on their skin.
Build a Play Structure
Dogs love having their own designated space where they can jump, climb and explore – something most traditional gardens don’t offer. Simply adding some simple wooden structures such as steps and perches, encourages them to start exploring around the garden and will burn even more calories than before! You could even add in some toys so they have their own fun place to play.
There you have it – all the tips and tricks for how to have a dog friendly garden as a safe haven while still making it inviting for Fido. Don’t leave him cooped up inside when he can be running around exploring new territory in his own backyard!
About the Author
My name is Gael Breton and I’m one of those millennials that don’t have kids yet but probably give more care to his dog than many people do to their children. And when my dog Cookie started having multiple food allergies, I decided to dive deep into his nutrition to understand how I could help my best friend.