How to make your garden a happy place for your dog

Dog with tongue out

Having your own area of land for you and your dog to explore is great. Dogs love to run and play in their back gardens, but owners should make sure it’s a safe space for them first. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some simple questions for you to consider:

  • Can your four-legged friend escape?
  • Is the fencing in good condition? Not too sharp or rusty?
  • Are fences high enough or even low enough?

A sturdy fence will help keep your dog safe in your garden. As dogs are often very capable jumpers, your panels should be at least six feet high and secure. If you’re concerned that your fence could become an escape route, you could add trellis toppers to your existing panels. Not only do they do the trick, but they also don’t look out of place either. If you think your dog is more likely to crawl under the fence, use chicken wire to cover any gaps at the bottom.

How can I prevent my dog from digging?

If you have wide borders of exposed soil, your dog will be tempted to dig – and it’s hard to keep your eye on them all the time. Place decorative mulch over bare soil and you’ll find it not only deters your dog from digging, but also adds appeal to your flowerbeds. Alternatively, you could create a designated digging area filled with sand or soil, and use your dog’s favourite toys or treats to encourage them to dig in the right place.

 

Which flowers are safe for furry friends?

If you are a flower fanatic, it’s important to consider your dog’s safety when choosing and tending to blooms in your garden.

There are so many plants out there that can be poisonous to your pooch. Before you head out to the garden centre and pick up any flowers, make sure you do your research and check our list of plants which are toxic to dogs (PDF 408KB).

If you have cats at home, here's our list of plants that are poisonous to kitties (PDF 411KB).

Though they are appealing to the eye, thorny plants also pose the risk of injury to your furry friend. There are a great many dog-friendly alternatives which will fill your garden with bold colour and texture, including marigolds, ferns, and hostas. Regularly pruning your garden also helps to make it a safer place for your dog to play by reducing their exposure to harmful plants.

How should I protect my plants from my dog?

To guard your flowerbeds from a playful pup, use decorative stones, bricks, or low fences to create barriers around the beds. This will improve your garden’s aesthetics by keeping it organised, and planting in fenced off beds should also help to stop your dog trampling your blooms or urinating on them. Alternatively, consider building raised beds for your flowers; these will offer better drainage for your plants whilst also deterring curious pets.

What pesticides should I use?

You shouldn't use any type of pesticide if you have a pooch. They are always unsafe to use in areas where your dog might be.

Before you start digging or planting, it’s important to make sure that any potting soil or soil conditioner you use doesn't have any cocoa in it.

How can I maintain a healthy lawn with a dog?

A resilient lawn is necessary in a dog-friendly garden. Planting strong grasses will make sure a lush lawn is still achievable. It doesn’t come without some work though – grass is easily damaged by dogs digging and toileting. Root deterioration and patches in the grass are a direct result of these doggy activities. When laying a fresh lawn, look out for Buffalo and Kikuyu; these grass types are recognised for their durability and ability to recover from wear and tear.

As well as choosing the right type of grass, regular activities should include:

  • Proper watering and fertilising to promote lawn growth
  • Regular aeration to avoid soil compacting
  • Rapid removal of your pet’s waste

Keep an eye out for fungi & fox tails

Make sure you are checking regularly for mushrooms and other fungi in your garden; these can be poisonous too. If you have a veggie plot, think about fencing it off as mushrooms will grow in the damp soil.

If you have a large garden and fox tails are growing from the grass, remove them as soon as possible. They get everywhere and it's both an expensive and painful procedure to get them out of your dog's eyes, nose, and mouth.

Keep on top of rubbish and debris

If your garden backs on to a road or pavement, keep your eye out for debris passers-by might throw over your fence. This could be anything from balls to bottles, and even cigarette butts.

Make sure garden gates are secure

Before you let your dog out into the garden, always make sure your gates are locked shut. This simple yet crucial action will help stop your dog from wandering and discourage other animals from entering your garden. Self-closing devices and the upkeep of hinges and latches also helps to prevent accidental escapes.

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