Whether you have acres of landscaped garden or a courtyard of pretty potted plants we all love our gardens and our pets love them too.
Who can resist watching a dog romp over the lawn or a cat playfully hiding in a shrub! But it isn’t always plain sailing out there.
Here are a few things to think about, that will help you and your pet enjoy that outdoor space.General garden tips.
· Be aware that not all plants are good for your pet if eaten. Plants such as rhododendron and azaleas are toxic to cats and dogs. Lilly of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove and kalanchoe can all affect the heart if ingested while some members of the Cycad family and mushrooms can cause liver failure.
· On the other hand there are plenty of plants that your pet will love, especially cats who are very receptive to fragrant herbs.
· fertilizers are excellent for your garden but can be harmful to you pet . Make sure you follow instructions of use properly and only allow your pet into the garden when it is safe.
· pesticides are probably the most hazardous thing your pet will come into contact with in the garden. Slug bait, fly bait and mole bait all contain systemic poisons that are extremely dangerous to your pet.
Uses cautiously, follow instructions carefully and always store them out of your pets reach.
· Compost – composting is great but may be seen as an extra tasty morsel for your pet ! Always dig your compost in well so that mouldy kitchen waste is inaccessible to your pet!
· Always pack away garden tools etc that could cause harm to your pets.THE CAT GARDEN
Cats love the freedom of the garden for hunting , hiding,
snacking and just generally lying around! Cats are particularly sensitive to aromatic plants and it is not unusual to find a cat rolling around in a herb garden or fragrant shrubs. Below are some of the favourites that are nice to plant in a cat friendly garden.
There are about 250 species in the Lamiaceae family of catnip plants .Catnip (Nepeta cataria) and Catmint (Nepeta Mussinii) are two of our felines favourites. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a pretty perennial but you’re your cat will think it smells good!
Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) Cat thyme is not actually a member of the thyme family . It has small, oval leaves similar to thyme and a musty scent. It is a tender perennial with grey-green leaves and has fragrant pink flowers in summer.
Spider plants are also a winner with cats they are easy to grow in pots or in the garden. Cats also love to ‘graze’ and are should be exposed to grass of some kind.
* There are people who try to deter cats from their garden but unfortunately there are really no foolproof ways of stopping a cat digging in your flowerbeds or vegetable garden. Covering newly planted seeds/ seedlings with netting can help or a quick blast from a water pistol!
THE DOG GARDEN
Our dogs also love the garden but sometimes don’t behave exactly as we would like them too! Here are a few tips for a happy dog and happy garden!
The best start to good garden behaviour is if your dog understands that there are rules in the garden as well as the house. Train your puppy early about no go areas and undesirable behaviour.
KEEP HIM ENTERTAINED
Don’t just leave your dog in the garden to get bored. Left to his own devices he will get into trouble. Make sure there are toys and chews to keep him busy. Throw a ball…play!
Dogs will often keep to a garden path so be sure your paths are paw friendly. Choose your paths carefully as some decorative pips can be harmful when eaten.
If you find you can’t keep your dog out of your flowerbeds plant barrier plants like barberries, roses or euphorbia. Or consider a decorative low fence.
A PLACE OF HIS OWN
If your dog is going to spend a lot of time outdoors give him a kennel where he can go and chill out. It will provide year round protection from the weather.
Make sure your dog has access to clean water in the garden.
Spend time playing with you dog in your garden! Have fun together !