How To Pet Proof Your Garden
Pets are often causing mischief in the garden. I have often had to go jumping over walls and hedges just because the dog has gone walkabout in someone else’s back yard. And, got back with muddy knees and grazed elbows to find him sitting proudly and dare I say smugly by his favorite spot in our garden again. Grrr.
And that’s what he said.
Come round, you must see how well the daisies are doing. Oh no you can’t, next door’s cat has made a mess of them. And not before the dog dug them up. And what’s that smell?
Anyway – maybe you want to keep your pets in, or keep your neighbor’s out, maybe you just want to make sure your pets know the rules: where to sit and not to s%#t?
Welcome to the ultimate guide to pet proofing your garden!
Stay calm. We’ll get you out of there.
Don’t Sit On the Fence
As we’ve mentioned there are a number of ways to interpret ‘pet-proofing’, though one of the main worries for all pet owners is that they may somehow lose them. Of course pets need to be allowed to roam free in the great outdoors, but what if you live by a particularly busy road and the cat getting out the garden could be fatal. Or perhaps you have obscenely garden-proud neighbors who have warned that the next time Fido goes a wandering past their prized petunias, they will shoot on sight.
Making sure you can safely leave your pet in the garden is simple – buy a fence. Fences work both ways as well – they keep your pets in and, also, keep out predators. You just need to make sure there are no holes big enough to squeeze through. Believe me: if you can find one then you can be darn sure that your pet will be able to. If your dogs are confirmed diggers then why not line the ground beneath the fence with concrete. Laying down chicken wire at the base of the fence is particularly effective at keeping cats in. Or out.
Now on the subject of cats I know what you’re going to say – my cat can jump like an Olympic gold medallist high jumper. I’m going to say two things 1) stop exaggerating and 2) specialist cat fences are readily available. These are high fences with a curved top to ensure that no entry or exit is possible. What’s more they are made out of mesh so as not to ruin the beautiful view you like to admire from the picnic table in your glorious back garden.
Now that your neighbor’s prized petunias are safe, let’s find a way to protect yours. Pets are diggers – they like to make their toilet, sit on it (bad joke) and go in all the wrong places. Sometimes they just like digging for the heck of it.
To avoid all this, an easy method is to use raised flower beds or even think about the type of plants you want to grow. Plants that grow up arbors or trellises will be safely out of reach. Also, having clearly designed pathways is a good method because dogs in particular like to follow a specific route.
You also need to think logically about where to plant and where not plant. If your dog ALWAYS goes to the toilet in the same place then don’t plant there. If your cat is ALWAYS sitting in one corner of the garden then the same rule applies.
Back to the issue of digging: if you have resigned yourself to the fact that your dog will dig regardless of the hours of training you have done trying to make him quit; then try and train him to dig somewhere safe. You can do this by planting toys and treats in one end of the garden for a few days and the dog will then instinctively dig there and not anywhere else. Hurrah! With cats, you could also plant Cat Mint in the corner of your garden that you’d like your cat to gravitate towards.
There are few more ways you can train your animals away from prized plants, such as a motion activated sprinkler that will send out jets of water if it senses your cat lining up its next resting spot anywhere nearby. I prefer to plant coleus canian nearby – a plant which acts as a natural deterrent to cats, dogs and a number of other animals. Basically, it smells really bad to them so they stay away. But don’t feel too sorry for them; dogs for instance get their revenge daily. Dog poo, anyone?
Do you have any more handy tricks to pet proof the garden? Let us know in the comments below!
If you dog or cat spends a lot of time in the garden and you are worried that they are eating too much of the foliage, you can always talk to your vet to make sure what they are eating is ok. Generally the greenery will actually be good for them and acts as natural fiber.
Gavin Harvey likes to stay fit and healthy anyway he can. He recently got into gardening and is surprised at how much he enjoys it! Here he writes for Raw Garden.