Now that the weather is finally warming up, you may be itching to get out and start working on your yard. If you have a dog, you may have experienced the frustration of putting in all of that work, only to have your dog quickly destroy it. You love your dog and want him to be happy and safe, but you’re also partial to your yard and flower gardens. A few easy tips can help you have both.
First, make sure that any plants you have are non-toxic to animals. A quick online search at www.aspca.org will give you lists of what not to use. Then, when choosing new plants, look for hardy varieties that can take an occasional trampling. If you want to use plants and flowers that may be more delicate, instead of a traditional flower bed, consider large pots or wooden boxes placed around your yard. Raised beds, climbing vines, or hanging baskets are also good ideas.
If your dog likes to dig, one way to keep you both happy is to create a doggy sandbox. Dig a large shallow hole and fill it with sand and dog toys. Then encourage your dog to only dig there and reward him when he does. If he still insists on digging in your plants, try covering the beds with fabric or weed cloth and layer with chicken wire in any place he especially likes to dig.
Some dogs will eat landscaping rocks and mulch. Both can be dangerous and mulch can also be poisonous. Your dog may do this for a number of reasons, including everything from simple boredom to underlying medical issues. If your dog does this regularly, have them checked by your vet, and consider removing the rocks and/or mulch completely. Some people also try replacing the rocks with large stones instead.
If you’re especially proud of your green lawn, you might be frustrated by lawn burn, caused by the nitrogen in a dog’s urine. This is more common with female dogs, who tend to urinate in one place. If you know where your dog is urinating, you can dilute the area with water or, with a little work, you can train your dog to urinate in a regular, less visible, space each time.
Finally, by keeping the grass trimmed and removing any standing water, you can cut down on dog-loving pests such as fleas and ticks (and mosquitoes!).
Now, go out and enjoy your yard, and take your dog with you!