Pet Safety

Pet Friendly Gardening

Animal Welfare


On behalf of, and with our thanks to Maria Cannon

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Pet Friendly Gardening

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The Best Tips for Pet-Friendly Gardening

Once people bring pets home, they often assume their days of beautiful landscaping must come to an end. But if you make a few minor adjustments, you can still have a lovely yard and flower beds while giving your pets a great place to run and play. Just be sure to educate yourself on the plants that will harm your pets before you make any purchases.

Use Borders

Creating large borders around all your flower beds gives pets a safe place to romp and play without crushing your plants. Use materials that feel good on the paws to encourage them to stay on the edges of your plants instead of in the middle of them. You can also use borders like driftwood pieces or fences to keep your pets completely away from certain areas. In vegetable gardens or for young trees you want to protect, tomato cages make great barriers. Just make sure you place sturdy plants around the edges of any walkways that won’t be easily damaged by playful pups.

Plants that are Harmful to Pets

It’s an almost certainty that your pets will chew on some plants, especially puppies. So, if your pet will be in your yard at all, it’s important to make sure you take precautions to keep him completely safe when considering what to plant. Certain plants like daffodils and azaleas are extremely toxic to pets, causing nausea, vomiting and even death in certain instances. But it’s a good idea to keep the information for Animal Poison Control nearby just in case your pet ingests a plant you are not sure of. They also have a searchable database of poisonous plants available to help with your landscaping decisions.

Pesticides and Fertilizers

A lot of the chemicals you might use in your garden can be extremely unsafe for your pets. And it can be absorbed into their systems, not only by ingestion but also through their skin. That’s why it’s important to opt for organic products or try making your own, even for areas where you think they will have minimal contact. But even when purchasing organic, you still need to read the labels to make sure it’s safe for pets.

Give Them Their Own Space

Give your pets a place to play, a place to lounge, and a place to potty. Try to think like your pet when you’re gardening and consider shaded areas with grass, winding walkways to run on, and a designated spot in your yard to take care of personal business. You will need to train your pet to only use that particular area when nature calls, but it will save you lots of time and hassle in cleaning up those messes.


Pets also love to dig, and they especially like digging in the freshly-tilled dirt of a brand new garden. So, why not indulge them a little? How about giving him a pet sandbox or other designated area where he can get his paws dirty? Most of the time, having their own area dissuades digging up the tulip beds, but on the flip side, it could encourage digging in similar places. Know your pet and do what you think will work for him.

Backyard gardens can be great places for pets to explore, and if you don’t mind a little digging, you can leave them open for their enjoyment. Just be sure that you take into consideration what you plant and the chemicals you use. Your pet will probably love the new addition to the yard and you might still get to enjoy some decorative landscaping and a bountiful vegetable garden.

Maria Cannon

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