How to Plant a Dog-Friendly Garden

Photo by Faith McDonald on Unsplash

Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies around the globe. For some, it’s more than a hobby. It can be a person’s livelihood or a home’s food resources. Even if it’s just something you do for fun, gardening has many benefits.

Many people find gardening calming and relaxing. Exposure to the fresh air and sun offer vitamin D therapy that boosts mental health. The physical act of gardening is a great source of exercise that keeps the body fit and in good health.

In addition to the numerous physical and mental health benefits, gardening is good for the environment. Without plants, we wouldn’t be able to breathe, literally. Plants produce oxygen during the photosynthesis process.

Besides deer and rabbits snacking on a garden’s offerings, there is another possible snag that can hinder a garden from growing. Your dog.

Grass Seeds Can Be Dangerous For Dogs

Dogs can wreak havoc on the smallest of gardens. Digging, eating the vegetables and ruining a crop by mistaking plants for a bathroom are just a few of a dog’s infractions. As harmful as dogs can be to gardens, gardens can be equally as harmful to dogs.

Down below we explore toxic vs. non-toxic plants but there is another hazard lurking in your garden: grass seeds.

Lawns surrounding gardens are planted with grass to cover the ground in a pleasing aesthetic. When replanting grass or first starting a lawn, pet owners need to be aware that grass seeds are extremely dangerous to dogs.

The sharp ends of the seeds can get stuck in the dog’s paws, ears and eyes, among other places. The seeds can even be ingested, causing damage to a dog’s internal organs.

The best way to protect a dog from grass seeds is by keeping their fur trimmed short. Brushing your dog’s fur after a walk can dislodge any grass seeds that pose a danger.

5 Tips for Making Your Garden Dog-Friendly

It can be frustrating putting all the hard work into growing your garden only to have it trampled by your pet. One option is, of course, to completely block off access to the garden for your dog. But part of the satisfaction of a garden is visually enjoying its beautiful bounty.

Here are 5 steps to take to protect your garden from the dog and vice versa.

1. Know Which Plants Are Safe for Dogs

Grass seeds aren’t the only danger to dogs found in gardens. Popular garden flora toxic to dogs are tulips, aloe vera and the beloved tomato plant.

Do your homework on toxic vs. non-toxic before choosing which greenery to plant. Your dog’s well-being depends on your due diligence.

2. Place a Barrier Around More Vulnerable Plants

Barriers can be beneficial in two ways. They can protect your dog from plants they shouldn’t ingest and also protect more vulnerable plants from destruction.

Barriers can be shrubs, fences and even rocks, depending on your preference. A dog enclosure can also keep the dog from interfering with the garden.

Other harmful wildlife, such as deer, can also be denied access to the garden by the barrier. However, keep in mind that some wildlife is beneficial to plants flourishing.

3. Create a Dog Path Around Garden

When you’re out tending to the garden, your dog will likely want to be right by your side. In addition to barriers to make some areas inaccessible, creating a clear path can help your dog learn the boundaries.

In fact, some dogs may take on the job of securing the perimeter of the garden from unwelcome guests, such as squirrels and vermin. Keep in mind that any pathway should be constructed with paw-friendly materials.

4. Use Scents to Deter Dog From Ruining Garden

With around 300 million smell receptors, scent is how dogs ‘see’ the world. Planting plants with pungent odors, such as rosemary or sage, can keep dogs out of that area of the garden. Coffee grounds and some spices are also effective in repelling canines.

5. Train Your Dog Not to Dig

Some dog breeds have an instinct to dig. Whether it causes enjoyment or they’re bored, dogs can cause immense damage to not just gardens, but lawns as well. Using positive reinforcement training can help curb your dog’s desire to dig.

You Can Have a Dog AND a Garden

Many people grow gardens in outdoor spaces for their own enjoyment or sustenance. Dogs are wonderful companions, but they are also pretty clumsy. Your pet can accidentally damage a garden you’ve spent a lot of time cultivating.

With a little patience and compromise, gardens and dogs can peacefully coexist.

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