A Guide to Creating Dog Friendly Gardens
Most people who are lucky enough to know the unconditional love and friendship of a dog will probably tell you that there is little they wouldn’t do to keep their pet happy. We take our dog for daily walks, feed him healthy food and aim to approach his health in a holistic manner. Research has shown that daily walking and time spent outdoors are also vital. Since our pets spend most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Follow these tips for a stress-free home and garden environment for your dog.
Removing Toxic Substances from Reach
Make sure that all potentially harmful substances (such as cleaning products and medications) are kept in cabinets that your dog cannot easily open with his paws. The ASPCA recently published a list of the top ten toxins, which included human prescription medications, over the counter products, food – including products containing xylitol, veterinary medications, household items (including paint and glue), chocolate, insecticides, rodenticides, plants and gardening products. Keep these items under lock and key, or high up where your dog cannot reach them. If you have a garden shed, place potential toxins on the highest shelves of the shed. Better yet, consider toxin-free cleaning products, made with ingredients such as essential oils.
Protecting Your Home
When pets are an important part of your life, it is important to make things easy on yourself by designing your home in a way that will involve less effort and expense. Choose durable floors over wall-to-wall carpets or hardwood (the latter can easily scratch). Cover your furniture with washable blankets or slipcovers, and opt for leather and microfiber in lieu of delicate fabrics like chenille when it comes to buying a sofa. Finally, invest in good chew toys or your dog could get resentful and decide to take a bite out of your favourite table!
Bringing New Life to Your Garden
To build a dog-friendly garden, first plan out which area you intend to use for yourself, and which your dog can enjoy. When it comes to plants, doing prior research into safe and toxic plants, is key. So many beautiful plants and flowers we see every day (including azalea, daffodil and many types of lilies) can be deadly for your dog. There are many beautiful alternatives out there – including jasmine, wild hyacinth and petunia.
To build your own garden, choose produce that will not harm your dog and keep it safe by sectioning it off with chicken wire or makeshift fencing. Your dog will enjoy strolling up and down the garden and checking out the goings on in the neighbourhood so make sure to build a stone or gravel path he can call his own (it will stop him from stepping on plants and flowers). Find a place for play in the garden – either by building him a sandpit or leaving a grassy area for training and obstacle courses. Fido should also have a spot to lie down and sleep – consider a cute dog house or bed, preferably beneath the shade of a beautiful tree.
Building a dog-friendly home and garden takes time and thought, but as long as you put safety first, you can’t go wrong. Always try to opt for practical, reasonably priced materials, since you may need to change them every few weeks or month if you want to keep your home and garden looking chic.