How to have a pet-friendly garden
As the weather gets warmer, many people look forward to spending more time outside and our pets are just the same. But is it really possible to maintain a luscious lawn when you have playful pets? The experts at Armitage Pet Care explain how to combine the two.
Avoid any great escapes
A determined Houdini can scale great heights, dig deep ditches and squeeze through the tiniest of gaps. Make sure any gates and fencing are secure and high enough to keep your pets in and any unwanted visitors out. A thorny hedge can be a useful addition, preventing cats from climbing and dogs from digging. The dense, prickly interior will also attract birds to your garden.
Pet-proof your plants
Flowers and plants can really brighten up your garden but some are highly toxic to our four-legged friends. If eaten, lilies can cause kidney failure in cats and just 15g of a daffodil is enough to kill a dog . Double check to make sure you have nothing harmful growing in your garden – The Dog’s Trust publishes a useful checklist – and watch out for vegetables too. Onion, kale and tomatoes are all harmful, so it’s a good idea to keep pets off the vegetable patch as well!
As beautiful as your garden looks, your pets still use it as their toilet. Create a specific spot for your dogs and cats to go using wood chips or a raised bed. Teach your pet to use it by leading them to the area and rewarding. Remember to pick up poo quickly to make the garden more enjoyable, especially if you have guests over or children playing outside. Avoid smelly bins by composting doggy doo.
Be careful with chemicals
Sometimes our plants and flowers need a helping hand to really flourish but make sure your pet isn’t exposed to the harsh chemicals that might be in your fertilisers and pesticides. Opt for a safer organic fertiliser, for example bone meal, and other natural remedies such as crushed up eggshells around the base of plants to deter slugs. But be wary that even those can cause problems for your pet if too much is ingested!
Make it fun
No one wants a garden full of craters but if your dog is a digger, why not make an area where he can enjoy himself without destroying the flowerbed? Encourage them by hiding their toys and treats in the right place. Make sure there’s a shady part of the garden for your pets to relax in and ensure that they have access to water if they’re outside over a long period.