Think about your small furry friends when you slip into the garden this weekend. With imagination, you can still have a pretty garden with well-adjusted, happy pets.
Animals like company and particularly, dogs shouldn’t feel isolated. They need to see people and be a part of the family, so make sure that their kennel is near the house.
Dogs dig in the garden when they are bored, so provide a space or lawn area where they can romp and get rid of energy. They should also have their own “doggie” toys, a great sandpit, be enrolled in exercise classes and taken for daily walks.
It is the responsibility of owners of animals to make sure that they cannot find a way out of the property. Gardens must have secure fencing with slats that are too small for a dog’s head. The fence should be buried into the ground to prevent digging under the fence and high enough to stop jumping over.
Gates need strong padlocks, as some dogs are able to open a gate with their nose or paws. Should animals go on an unaccompanied walkabout they can be identified if they are wearing a collar with an identity tag.
Some dogs are inclined to run along the fence whenever there are people taking their dogs for walks. They are actually protecting your property. Work with your dogs and rather than trying to grow plants on the boundary, leave this space free to give your dog access.
Cats and dogs need shade and shelter from heat, rain and cold. Avoid dogs being stung by bees by not planting flowers that attract bees near their kennel. Dogs need a cool place on hot days. If you don’t give him a designated area under a tree or a covered shelter, you can expect your dog to find a shady place, which might just be in a flowerbed. Accept that they need a place in the shade and leave this area for them.
Discourage pets finding shortcuts through flowerbeds by planting so densely that they will choose the more obvious paths. Paved, bricked or concrete paths are best, as gravel and bark chip on paths can be dislodged and scattered into beds alongside these paths. Pine needles are not “paw friendly”. Garden ornaments, statues, birdbaths and flowerpots should be heavy or large enough to withstand boisterous playing.
Choose large plants that will stand up better to doggie romps and enclose small trees and shrubs with a wire cage. Densely planted borders mean that there are fewer empty spaces and bare soil for cats to disturb. Keep soil moist where seeds and seedlings are planted, as cats do not like moist soil.
Cats love to climb trees and sharpen their claws on bark, but if the garden is too small for a tree, a sturdy wooden pole is a good substitute. Make a special cat garden by planting catnip and catmint where cats can roll in delight. Another deterrent is to plant scented geraniums to protect special plants, as cats do not like their scent.
Fertilisers and pesticides
It is best not to use these if you have pets. If you need to spray, read labels and keep pets inside when applying. Don’t use weed killer on grass, as pets eat grass as a medicine, and can pick up the spray residue on their paws.
Spray drift from pesticides in fish ponds can be fatal. If you use bone meal when planting, make sure to incorporate it deep into the hole, as dogs love the smell of bone meal and will dig in search of the “bone”.
Drinking bowls for dogs should be large enough not to tip over. Swimming pools and ornamental ponds must be securely fenced, especially where there are children, kittens and puppies, as they can drown in the smallest amount of water.
Garden tools should not be left lying around. Rusty and sharp-edged tools are a tetanus risk if they puncture the animal’s skin.
Dogs should never be given chocolate, so don’t use compost or mulch that contains cocoa bean shells. Enclose the compost heap with a fence. Green potatoes are toxic to humans and dogs, and rhubarb, tomato and potato leaves can cause animals to vomit.
There are many plants that, if eaten by pets, can have unpleasant after affects and even result in death. Among these are arum, azalea, rhododendron, dieffenbachia, ivy, lilium and syngonium. - Saturday Star