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9 Tips to Make a Sustainable Dog-Friendly Garden

by Je
Dog holding red flowers in mouth

While designing a garden, it makes sense to keep your dog in mind, if you have a dog.

If you are a green-living enthusiast, go the whole nine yards and make a sustainable dog-friendly garden.

This way, you can enjoy the space together without worrying about potential dangers to your puppy’s health. At the same time, you’ll keep your garden organic and green.

Dogs enjoy gardens as they do all sorts of outdoor spaces. They’re natural sleuths. With fifty times more sense receptors than us, man’s best friend is meant for adventure.

Therefore, a garden with its flowers, plants, petrichor and other smells which we will never experience is an overwhelming assault on their senses. Surely, we can’t keep them from this irresistible bounty. Plus, letting our pets roll in the dirt has benefits for our gut flora.

The ideal dog garden is one where your pet is safe and which has been crafted keeping sustainability in mind.

You can achieve this by incorporating dog friendly garden ideas as given below…

Creating a sustainable dog-friendly garden

1. Let them dig, but in one spot!

Dogs love to dig. It’s in their nature. No, they’re not trying to test your patience or in any way rebelling against or annoying you.

So, why do they dig?

Some breeds like the terrier dig to look for small animals they can eat. Big breed dogs, especially those that like colder weather, dig to lie on the ground so they can cool off. Other dogs do it as a way to relieve themselves from anxiety, while some like to bury their treasures.

So, it’s natural behavior to test their paws on the ground.

This means that your garden must have a designated place where your pet can dig freely. And train your pup to use this space.

2. Make garden walks a fun activity

Dogs are inquisitive by nature and explorers at heart. So if you are making or redesigning your garden, get a little creative. Make different paths through the garden space where your pet can patrol the area without trampling on your precious daisies.

And while you’re at it, designate a border. It’s always good to let your pup know where it can and cannot go!

3. Grow plants that can stand up to wear and tear

When in the mood – and that’s often – dogs don’t care for what’s in front of them. They’ll run through brick walls just for the fun of it. So, if possible, keep young or delicate plants out of the way, especially if your friend is built like a tank.

Large perennials or plants such as astilbe and nepata, and shrubs such as viburnum are extremely good options.

4. Grow dog-friendly garden plants

There are many plants that are of no danger to dogs. Some of them are calendulas, camellias, centauria, Michaelmas daisies, roses, and sunflowers.

You can also turn your garden into a nutritious haven for your pet. Carrots, for instance, contain vitamin A and a lovely crunch that they may enjoy. Spinach has vitamins B and E and sweet potatoes are high in iron.

5. Avoid plants that are harmful to pets

And while on plants, ensure there are none in the garden that are potentially harmful to your pet. Some that you may want to avoid include wisteria, aloe vera, ivy, daffodil, aconite foxglove, and hydrangea.

If your dog is showing signs of discomfort and you feel it might have ingested something, take it to the vet immediately.

(You may also want to check out our comprehensive list of edible (and toxic) flowers for humans.)

6. Try to keep the garden free from slugs and snails

Dogs have a voracious appetite and fancy most small living critter that move. But even those seemingly harmless slugs and snails that are a fixture of gardens carry a health threat for your pet.

Most times, dogs ingest them by accident. Regardless, they can be extremely harmful. And your dog does not have to eat the entire gourmet for it to be affected. Even ingesting the slime can get lead to lungworm infection which can, at times, be fatal.

7. Avoid chemicals in the garden

Using chemicals in the garden if you have a dog is a strict no! Disulfoton pesticides, for instance, should be avoided at all costs.

Ingesting this chemical can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and in worst case scenarios, even seizure and death. The troublesome part is, for some reason, dogs tend to fancy this chemical.

Instead, opt for a completely organic fertilizer. Not only will you make the garden safer for your pup but you will also improve the fertility of the soil.

Also, while choosing your mulch, do not use cocoa bean mulch which can cause stomach and cardiovascular issues in dogs.

Slug pellets with metaldehyde should also not be used; go for organic versions instead.

8. Designate a spot where the dog can relieve itself

Do you have brown spots in your lawn? Guess who’s the most likely culprit? Dog urine has nitrogen compounds that are potent enough to discolor a healthy lawn.

Reseeding the lawn involves cost. Fertilizers are not environment friendly. So, the best course of action is to keep a designated spot for your dog and train her to pee only in that area.

9. Compost your dog’s poop

This sounds straightforward but it is complicated. Not the composting bit, mind you. It’s doing it in the correct way without endangering yourself that needs a bit of work.

Pet waste is a problem. Dog poop typically ends up in the landfill adding to the carbon footprint. Also, to compost it fully, you need the pile to get hot enough or else dangerous pathogens will survive.

It’s great if you have the skill and experience to compost properly. Else, use the poop compost only on plants and flowers that you are not going to consume.

What’s your take on our tips to make a sustainable dog-friendly garden? Do you have some that you wish to share? Let us know in the comments.

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2 comments

Avatar for Je
Jaya Avendel May 14, 2021 - 9:20 pm

Having a pet comes with many responsibilities and new things to consider when embarking on things like ambitious interior decoration or creating a home garden. I love that you draw attention to areas like avoiding chemicals and harmful plants. It is important to do research on plants especially because many pet-dangerous ones sneak in among the harmless ones.

Also love the idea of creating designated areas for one’s pet to have fun and composting their poop! Done right, compost is gold to helping plants thrive and flourish. 🙂
Thanks for sharing!

Avatar for Je
Je May 25, 2021 - 10:13 am

Thank you Jaya. True, the research bit is particularly important; one plant is all it takes for things to go south. Bingo on the composting too; done right they are just great or the soil.

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