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Make Your Garden a Dog-Safe Space

Pet Health Pets Dogs
There’s no doubt about it, dogs are overtly inquisitive and curious by nature. Their profound sense of smell leads them to explore every corner of a new area, search out and uncover objects and then, most likely, give them a chew!
And whilst these primal instincts help your dog to investigate the world, they can also pose a danger if your dog is exposed to harmful substances. Pet-proofing a home is one of the first tasks for new dog owners. But what about the garden? Insecure fencing, toxic plants and sharp garden tools are just a few of the dangers that may lurk in your outdoor space.
It’s easy to make a garden safe for your dog by following these simple steps.

1. Secure your boundaries

Create a secure garden for your dog by using fencing which is strong and extends well into the ground as some dogs like to dig under fences and escape through holes. They can be surprisingly good jumpers too, so make sure your fencing is of adequate height - 6ft if you have a medium-sized dog. Self-closing gates are a good idea so you don’t always have to check whether you remembered to close them.

2. Keep sheds locked

Keep harmful chemicals and sharp gardening tools locked away in your shed.

3. Tightly seal your composter

If your composter bin contains dairy products, grains, nuts and legumes, it may harbour dangerous bacteria and mycotoxins. These can cause serious symptoms such as tremors and seizure, as well as vomiting, hyperactivity and much worse.

4. Grow pet-safe plants

There are a huge variety of plants that are toxic to dogs. Check out this guide to dangerous plants to help familiarise yourself with what to plant and what not to plant in your garden.

5. Watch out for fruit stones and berries

The fruit of garden trees can sometimes be toxic to dogs, and large stones from dropped fruit, if ingested, can cause intestinal blockages. Be aware that you may have to remove fruit trees or fence them off from your pet.

6. Avoid chemical pest control

Refrain from using any chemical pest control as it can be dangerous for dogs. For example, slug and snail bait contains metaldehyde which can be fatal to wildlife and dogs. In pellet form, the bait can be attractive to dogs but the effect is devastating: within an hour a dog can suffer from mild twitching and an unsteady gait and thereafter their condition rapidly deteriorates. Similarly, stay clear of rat and mouse bait which contains warfarin-like compounds (anti-coagulants) that are deadly to pets.

7. Go organic

Opt for organic fertilisers rather than chemical alternatives which are likely to contain a concoction of chemicals that can cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation. In most cases, symptoms will disappear within 24-48 hours.

8. Be mindful of water

Dogs will be attracted to water features in your garden, and will drink and even bathe in them. Make sure you keep the water fresh and regularly clean the bowl or basin. Only allow a dog access to a swimming pool under supervision.

Gardens offer a wonderfully stimulating environment for your dog: different textures underfoot, a variety of plant smells to explore and space to run. And with just a little care and observation, you can create a safe and secure outdoor space that can be a joy to both you and your beloved pet.

 

Sally Perkins
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