Gardening and Outdoors

Tips for Creating a Dog Friendly Garden

This year at Hampton Court Flower Show, the Dogs Trust created a dog-friendly garden to celebrate their 125th year. So we thought we’d share our tips for creating a dog friendly garden.

Areas

To help include your dog, consider dividing up your garden into different areas. A varied, versatile garden with different features is ideal.

Throughout the garden, use a variety of textures, such as mounds of grass, chips of bark, wood piles and sturdy shrubs. Paths running around the edges of your garden will help channel your pet's urge to patrol the edge of their territory.

On a practical basis, ensure your garden provides an open area for your dog to sun themselves, and shady spots where they can escape the heat. A kennel or doghouse is an excellent addition – it'll keep your pooch dry in the rain and help him feel safe.

Consider an outside feeding station with plenty of water, and even shallow water features that your dog can enjoy at the height of summer.

You can make your life easier by designating a toilet area for your dog, and try to train them to go there and no-where else. For male dogs, add a post to encourage them to mark their territory there.

Sally

Digging

Dogs and puppies are notorious for digging in unattended gardens. There are a number of ways to minimise or prevent this happening.
You can protect your vegetables and most delicate plants by fencing them off, and reinforcing the message with training. A stand of tough plants such as bamboo, roses or thyme, can be used as an organic ‘fence' that will keep your dog at bay. Container gardens can also keep larger dogs away from your shrubs and flowers.

Some dogs, particularly terriers and Jack Russells, are bred for digging out burrowing animals. This can make them more difficult to train and deter when it comes to digging up your garden. For these dogs, a great solution is to create a specific digging area, such as a loose earth space or sandpit specifically for your dog. Consider hiding treats or toys in the sand, so that the dog associates the digging spot with rewards.

Overall though, the best solution is to keep your dog busy, distracted and well exercised.

Sally

Hazards

Sometimes called ‘dog proofing', it's important to design or fix your garden to eliminate the hazards that could hurt your dog.

The first thing to ensure is security. Most dogs are agile enough to jump any fence shorter than six foot. Check your existing fence for any gaps a pup could squeeze through or under. Be honest with yourself about whether you need a new, tougher fencing solution. A secure fence is worth it to protect your dog from injury or theft from your garden.

Avoid ‘invisible' fences. They don't protect your dog from people or from other dogs that could cause him harm. Plus, many dogs are quite happy to endure the shock of the fence to chase an errant rabbit or cat that has caught their eye.

There are a number of plants which are toxic to dogs – the Kennel Club has a good list here. Avoid planting these culprits and root them out if they appear on their own. Keep an eye on your dog if they eat any plants on a walk and seem sick afterwards.

When it comes to pests and parasites, the first thing is to ensure your dog is up to date with their treatments and shots. Mow the garden regularly (put Fido inside first) as fleas and ticks can congregate in long grass. Slugs and snails are dangerous to dogs (as they can be infected with lungworm parasites). However it's still best not to use chemicals on them, and that includes salt, which can be poisonous to dogs!

There are some pet friendly products out there. Alternatively you can use beer traps, barriers such as crushed egg shells, or else pick the slugs off manually with tongs and a bucket of water.

In addition to using non-toxic pest killers, look for pet friendly weed killers, or else try pulling the weeds by hand for a great workout. Make your own chemical free compost, and avoid using cocoa mulch, as it can be as toxic as chocolate.

How do you make sure your garden is dog (or pet) friendly?

Sarah_with_some_heart resize
*This is a collaborative post.

This article has 29 comments

  1. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    We don’t have a dog, but we do love to garden. My kids have been begging to get a puppy. We might surprise them with one in the next few months!

  2. Stephanie Jeannot

    These are very thoughfully generous tips to protect your dog and your garden. I like the idea about the fence. Happy harvest.

  3. Shirley Wood

    We have two fur babies in the yard. We don’t use weed killers, we just pull those pesky weeds the old fashioned way. I used to have low fences around my flower beds but the dogs just knocked the down to get in there. We prevent them from digging by ‘planting’ torn apart card board boxes on top of the ground then covering it with compost. It’s a win win.

  4. Vera Sweeney

    These are great tips for protecting your dog!! I know a fence would be a must have for us.

  5. Amber Myers

    Aw, how sweet. We don’t have dogs, but we do have cats.

  6. Elizabeth O.

    It’s important to make sure that your garden doesn’t contain plants that will harm your pets. These are great tips!

  7. victoria

    This is so sweet, I don’t have any pet in the house but I wanted to have when I am move next year

  8. tauyanm

    I never liked gardening hehe but it is interesting to experience and do once in a while. my mum and mother in law both love gardening. we dont have pets as well. Will be sharing this to my friends. Love knowing everything you’ve shared in here. I don’t know that you even in gardening you need some tips and pointers when you have pets.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I have to admit I’m not that green fingered – wish I was more so – I used to do some work with the local rangers though and loved it learn so much from them, its just keeping things alive that gets me 😉 x

  9. Amanda Love

    We have a dog and we make sure that we don’t have anything that will harm him. This post is a good reminder for us all to check our gardens and backyards especially if you’re planning to get a pet.

  10. Sara

    Such a great post! We want to create a safe garden, but there seem to be so many challenges when you have a dog. Our dog ate all our tomatoes that were growing a few years ago. Saving this post to read again later.

  11. Teresa Kunberger

    hmmm never thought of a dog friendly garden! Interesting!

  12. Coolchillmom

    My dog Doesn’t like our backyard do I never stopped to think About The combinación of dogs and garden S. Thanks for the heads up

  13. Laura

    Great tips to keep dogs and owners happy. And also owners!

  14. Rhian Westbury

    Great tips, I never thought about having a dog and what it can do to the garden x

  15. Krystel @ Planning The Magic

    Dogs are so much work but they really are the best. To think about the way they effect everything in your life. These are some great tips!

  16. Jeanine

    Great tips for protecting your dog! Dogs are a lot work, we have 3 of them – they are our babies!

  17. Sam B

    Would these work for a nearly 3 year old that wants to dig up my garden? Haha (I will kill the in laws for buying him a gardening set)
    These are fabulous tips though, will keep them in mind if we get a Doggie

  18. Mhaan A

    We have 3 dogs and this are perfect tips to keep them safe! Thanks for sharing!

    Mhaan

  19. Leigh Anne Borders

    What a great post and great ideas. We have two dogs and we are planning on doing some things to our yard next Spring. This will definitely come in handy.

  20. Kim Styles

    Lizzie is very fussy and doesn’t pick up stuff from the garden thank goodness, but she does eat grass sometimes and so I will check what plants are in the garden in case she eats a plant in with the grass.

  21. bev

    Great tips!

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