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Growing a Pet Friendly Garden

Posted on 18 February 2011

Many pet owners just getting into horticulture may not think about their pets’ needs when planting a garden. This is a mistake. In fact, if your pets spend any time near your garden, you’ll need to consider the safety of both your plants and animals. Thankfully, growing a pet-friendly garden is easy with the right precautions.

Growing a Pretty Friendly Garden
Growing a Pet Friendly Garden

The first step to growing a pet-friendly garden is to consider if any of the plants you’d like to grow are toxic to your animals. This is especially the case with dogs. Many people forget that dogs have very different reactions to plants than people do. A vegetable garden might provide much delicious food to humans but could be fatal to any dogs who eat from it. This is compounded by the inquisitive nature of most dogs. If the plants in your garden aren’t pet friendly, there’s a good chance your dog is going to snoop around in it.

Onions and garlic, for instance, are quite fatal to dogs. These foods can make your dog anemic, which is serious business. Grapes are also trouble. Even a small amount of grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other digestive problems. Grapes can seem very tasty to some dogs, so think twice about growing a vineyard if your dog is going to be snooping around the grapevines. Avocados, peaches, and plums are some other fruits your dog should stay away from.

However, it’s not just fruits and vegetables that can cause problems for dogs. Other types of plants are not good for a pet-friendly garden, either. A number of flowers can be toxic, like azaleas, chrysanthemums, and almost any type of lily. Indoor plants, such as aloe and poinsettias, are not good to have around dogs either.

The same cautions apply for cats as well. Although cats are less likely to nibble on plants, it’s better to be safe than sorry when considering whether or not your garden is pet-friendly. If your cat is known to occasionally eat or chew on plants, be sure to avoid all the items mentioned above. Other animals bring all other sorts of issues into consideration. Herbivorous pets are most likely to eat things around the garden. For instance, it would be kind of silly to let a pet rabbit loose near your precious plants.

In truth, you can grow plants that aren’t necessarily pet-friendly as long as you take the right precautions. Keeping the plants out of reach of your animals is the general strategy here. Put some fencing around the plants that aren’t safe for your pets, for instance. Another thing to do is let the dog out the front yard if the garden’s in the back yard or vice versa. If you’re concerned about your cat, maybe you could consider making your cat stay inside.

Growing a pet-friendly garden isn’t as troublesome as it might seem. There are plenty of beautiful flowers and tasty fruits and vegetables that are safe to grow around animals. Also, much of keeping your garden pet-friendly is knowing the personality of your animal. If you have a curious, energetic puppy, you’ll undoubtedly need to exercise much more caution than if you have an older dog. Older animals are usually less likely to start munching on an unfamiliar plant, so you may not need to exercise as much caution.

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