Pet Proof Your Garden
Are you considering getting a puppy or kitten? Make your garden a safe place for them using our pet-proofing guide. From dog loos to scratching posts equip your garden ready for it to become your pet’s playground.
Prepare for DemolitionPets can play havoc with your garden! You’ll need plenty of tolerance when your new pup starts digging up prize begonias or the new kitten chooses the sandpit as her outdoor litter tray. We’re afraid that’s just part of the package when you bring a new pet to the household! Don’t worry – they will reward you with lots of love to compensate for the damage. Before you introduce your new pet to his or her playground, it’s important to assess it carefully for risks. Here’s how.
- Checking boundaries:Cats ignore boundaries anyway, but if you’re getting a puppy then it’s worth checking your fencing and gates – your neighbours might not want a playful pup scampering across their lawn! Make sure there are no gaps – even if they are too small for a dog to get through, your new pet may try sticking his head through anyway, which could cause an accident. Check that gates have latches that are out of the dog’s reach (at full-grown size). If you have any steps, make sure they are clear of debris. (Indoors, you may also want to install additional safety gates at the bottom of the stairs and so on.)
- Ponds and water-features:There are so many reasons to cover a pond or water-feature, if you haven’t already done so. Young children can also get into strife here, even if the water is only a couple of inches deep. Young puppies probably won’t be able to swim yet and will need to be introduced carefully to water, under supervision. Prevent them from learning too soon by covering your pond with strong mesh prior to their arrival.
- Environmentally-friendly pet loo:Dog and cat mess is dangerous – and not just for bare toes! Young children must be kept away from it so you’ll need to check and scoop it frequently when your new pet arrives. You can now buy clever ‘pet loos’, which are sunk into the ground in a discreet spot. Deposit mess into the tank, replace the lockable lid, and apply a biological composter once a week. The composter breaks down the solids, making them safe for degradation. By the time the tank has filled you will be able to ‘flush’ the waste away through the ground using fresh water.
Protecting your BordersFor some reason, cats and dogs just love borders – especially the freshly dug ones! Keen gardeners always want to protect their flowers, so here are some ideas:
- Use short hurdle fencing to edge your borders
- Put tough shrubby plants where borders meet paths or lawns
- To grow taller plants, net the whole bed using canes and chicken wire or netting, supporting plants and making it impossible for dogs or cats to cross
- To protect fence posts from cat claws, install scratch posts right beside them
- Cats are said to dislike the scent of sage and lavender.
- Make time to play in the garden with your new puppy, using proper toys and encouraging him or her to stay on a lawn. Dogs become destructive when they’re bored, so prevent this from happening! A garden routine will help – take your pup to the same spot when he needs to wee, and take a Frisbee out for throwing on the lawn only.
Protecting your PetsWe’ve talked about protecting your garden, but you’ll also need to take your pet’s safety into account. If you have large shrubs, you might want to wait until your dog arrives before disposing of them – depending on whether he shows an interest in munching on plants! Certain plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, so check you don’t grow any of the following.
- Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, Chrysanthemum, Cornflower, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Lily, Laburnum, Narcissus, Wisteria (cats)
- Bluebell, Clematis, Chrysanthemum, Foxglove, Geranium, Holly, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Lily, Rhododendron (dogs)