Summer is here and while your furry friends may want to venture outside, it’s important you have a pet-friendly garden. Here are our top tips…
Pets love spending time outdoors, whether they’re chasing their toys around or relaxing out on the decking with us in the summer sun. And, as they tend to be particularly curious, it’s important that you pet-proof the area to ensure they have a safe and secure environment to play in.
Whether your garden requires a substantial readjustment, or you just need to make a few small changes, read on to discover how you can do this to make a pet-friendly garden all year round.
Give them their own space
Pets love to be close to us, but it’s a good idea to give them their own space as well. Although it can be easier to contain smaller animals like guinea pigs, getting a kennel or a hutch for larger animals will give them a place to wind down in, as well as sheltering them from the (hopefully!) blazing summer sun.
Choose a location in the garden that has a mix of terrains, including soil, grass, and stone for them to explore — giving them their own space to do what they please with will hopefully deter them from ripping up the lawn in other areas of your garden! Use this opportunity to plant things that will be of benefit to them: dogs will appreciate a nibble on peppermint leaves when they’re feeling sick, while cats love catnip.
And, don’t forget to kit this space out with some entertainment for them, like these dog toys from Millbry Hill, as well as some water bowls. Blankets and beds can make it an even more appealing area for them — just remember to put these in the shelter or shaded areas to stop your pets from overheating.
Check fencing thoroughly
If you have a pet, it’s likely that you already a fence in place to prevent them from escaping, so it’s important to frequently monitor these to make sure they’re still in good condition.
Regularly check your fencing for any damage or holes and get this repaired quickly to prevent your pet from being able to escape. If you don’t think your fencing is particularly hardy, switching it out for a tougher material like PVC chain-link will put your mind at ease and save you money in the long run, due to its weather-proof durability.
If you have a side gate, make sure this is always shut behind you and locked while your pets are in the garden. Wooden gates don’t tend to be as resistant as metal, so consider this if your gates have seen better days.
Avoid hazardous plants and flowers
We all want our gardens to look their very best, but this can come at a cost if your pet chooses to chew on one of your freshly grown lilies. There are many plants and flowers — like tulips and tomato leaves — that are toxic to pets, so be sure to do your research before planting anything.
While you might be able to prevent your pet from coming into contact with some of these, other plants might not be so easy to avoid. For example, Foxtail is a common weed that is pretty much impossible to avoid when you’re out with your dog. However, if you spot it in your garden, make sure you uproot it immediately — the barbed nature of the weed can cause serious damage your pet’s body and internal organs.
Use pet-friendly garden chemicals
Plenty of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers include chemicals that are toxic to animals if they’re swallowed. Remove the risk of this by investing in organic-only or purpose-made pet-friendly varieties of these products, like this Origins Organic Lawn Food, to keep your pet happy and healthy while in the garden.
Be aware that many lawn fertilisers come in pellets, which can be appealing to your pets, so try and do the grass when they are inside or out for the day. This will help to prevent them from undoing your hard day’s work!
Protect garden wildlife
It’s great for your pet to be happy in the garden, but make sure their presence doesn’t impact on any of the wildlife that will wander into it as well.
Take precautions with things like bird feeders by placing them high up and out of sight to deter your pet from harming your feathered visitors. If you have a pond, it’s also worth getting some protective netting, like this from Bradshaws Direct, to help preserve any tadpoles or fish you have swimming around in there. They may not mean to cause harm but, if your pet spots another animal, they’re bound to want to play with it, so be sure to take reasonable measures to prevent harm to either of them.
Although it can provide endless amounts of fun for them, there are a number of steps you should be taking to make your garden pet-friendly. These can be as inexpensive as switching to pet-friendly fertilisers or growing some plants they’ll love, so follow our top tips to ensure your pet is always safe while playing!