We love our dogs but keeping your dog-friendly Garden (and home) nice, clean and tidy throughout the winter months can be a challenge with all that mud and wet. In this blog, our Pet PR Team share their top tips for a dog-friendly garden we can all enjoy this season.
Mud Glorious Mud
As much as we love our dog-friendly gardens, mud is for the great outdoors, not your home. Invest in a good quality doormat that will catch the worst of it from your dog’s feet and for really muddy walks. We recommend taking advantage of that outdoor tap and hosing off your dog’s dirty paws and drying with a towel before entering the house.
There’s a lot to be said for a small area of patio surrounding your back door in the winter months. If you have more than one dog, it might be an idea to section off some dog-free areas of the garden, even if it’s just for the wet winter months until the spring months, when the grass will start growing again.
Pick Your Plants Carefully
When choosing plants, think about your dog. Does he venture into your borders and trample over everything in sight? That might be fine if you own a Chihuahua, but if you’re looking at a Labrador, you might want to rethink what you plant and make sure it is robust!
Also, be wary of planting anything which is poisonous to your dog. Daffodils might look pretty in the springtime, but they contain alkaloids and lycorine that can reduce your dog’s blood pressure, causing tremors and heart rhythm problems. Geraniums can also cause your dog to stop eating and may irritate his skin. Here’s a great video on Gardeners World that gives you an overview of plants which are poisonous to dogs.
Slugs & Slime
Keeping your garden slug and snail free can be a challenge over the wet months. Keep an eye on your dog when left in the garden so that he doesn’t eat slugs or snails and avoid using non-organic slug pellets as these are toxic to all wildlife. Lungworm in dogs can be a result of eating infected slugs, snails or frogs. Don’t leave toys out in the garden overnight as these can also come into contact with snails and slugs.
Tunnel Of Love
Most dogs love tunnels and adding one to your garden will undoubtedly be the focal point for most. Make sure they are weighted correctly in place and use it as part of your playtime when the weather allows.
If you have a dog that is particularly fond of digging. You can try training and reducing your borders to help deter but if you want to indulge his passion (after all this blog is about dog-friendly gardens), how about a doggie sand-pit? Remember the outdoor hose we talked about earlier? Yes, you’ll be needing that.
Plant pots are an excellent way to preserve your plants and offer the opportunity to plant some welcome colour. With any luck, they’ll last the winter and stay out of reach of curious noses and paws!
Regardless of the time of year or season, always keep your shed locked and pesticides, paints, varnishes, sharp tools and plant feed away from noses. Store anything which might harm your dog on the top shelf and keep the shed door shut, even when you are gardening. It only takes seconds for an accident to happen.
Garden As Nature Intended
Reducing the number of pesticides, you use in your garden will not only benefit the planet but also give you your family and your dog a safer and healthy environment. Do your research and see if you can find an organic alternative that won’t harm your dog and will benefit your garden.
Watch Out For Hidden Hazards
When buying plants and products, always double-check that they are safe for your dog. For example, cocoa bean shell mulch is a by-product of the chocolate industry and can be harmful if eaten. Unfortunately, it smells like chocolate which can tempt dogs so opt for an alternative mulch such as bark chippings.
If you’re planning on creating a compost heap, then invest in a compost bin with a lockable lid. Scraps of food can be tempting to most dogs but irresistible to certain breeds (we’re not mentioning any, cough* Labradors’) so being able to secure food waste away from harm’s reach will keep both your dog and garden healthy.
The Path To Success
Adding a path through the higher traffic areas of your garden will save your grass and muddy feet and paws. It can also give you the option to plant tall grasses, bushier plants and place pots along the path. This can encourage your dog to use the path down to the bottom of the garden to do his ‘business’. This will make it easier for you to keep the garden clean by restricting the areas that your dog can access easily.