Is your garden dog-friendly?

 
November 20th, 2016
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Is your garden doggy-safe? Katie Cincotta tells us how to keep the yard pooch-friendly. By Katie Cincotta.

When you share your life with a dog, you get used to sharing a lot of things — space on the couch, dinner leftovers, sometimes even the quilt on the bed.

What we often forget to customise is our outdoor space. Dogs thrive outside. It’s where they used to call home before humans adopted them into their lives as companion animals. Even the strange act of a dog ruffling blankets or cushions together before they sleep harks back to bedding down for the night, out in the open, using leaves and the surrounding ground matter to create a bed. How well we design our gardens can have a huge impact on our dog’s enjoyment in offering them a space that enriches both their body and their brains. Animal behaviourist Joanne Righetti offers some essential tips in thinking about how to create a dog-friendly garden this spring.

Safe and secure
Joanne says the first consideration when designing a dog-friendly garden is to make sure it’s secure. Strong, high fences are the best way to keep your dog enclosed and prevent them from escaping or disturbing the neighbours. If you back onto a park, or have friendly pets next door, some owners consider adding holes through the timber at the dog’s face level, so they can have a sniff and greet, and check out what’s going on. Dogs are curious creatures; having your dog be able to peek beyond its borders can help them remain stimulated.

Toilet time
Most dogs like to toilet in the same spot. Sometimes they’ll choose this spot on their own, but you can also encourage a certain area when you’re toilet training your puppy.

If your dog likes to urinate on the lawn, there’s not a lot you can do to avoid the yellow patches over summer. One option might be to put in an artificial turf patch, like those used by people in units and apartments.

Synthetic turf just needs to be hosed on a regular basis and if you have a stubborn spot where your pet pees all the time, products like UrineFree crystallise the liquid and break it down without damaging the turf.

Toxic plants
We know foods that are poisonous to dogs include chocolate, garlic, onion and avocado, but there are also plants that are dangerous to curious canines. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a fragrant plant with white and purple flowers that is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Eating it can cause vomiting, anxious behaviour, coordination problems, tremors and seizures, which demand urgent medical attention. Rhododendrons, rhubarb, poppies, oleander, lillies and aloe vera can also be toxic for our pets, so it’s best to avoid them in the garden or ensure your dog doesn’t have access to those plants.

The RSPCA suggests referring to the Pet Poison List from the US as a comprehensive guide to poisons.

Fun and games
Creating special zones is an important part of putting together a garden that works for both adults and dogs. That often requires fencing off precious spots like a rose garden, herb patch or sections of the lawn.

The complete article was published in DOGS Life #139. Get more pawsome stories when you subscribe to our magazine here.


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