They are our companions through thick and thin. But sometimes they dig holes where the shouldn’t. Sometimes they do their business right onto our favourite plants. And sometimes, very rarely, they eat a plant that makes them puke everywhere. Thankfully, most of these can be easily avoided with a little forward thinking.
Pets need a home
Whether you have a balcony, courtyard or backyard garden, your pets need spaces to rest and play. Sleeping is a primary activity of most pets so make a daybed for them (if they sleep inside at night). Also create a separate place they can hide and relax. They’ll need shade from the sun and rain too. Depending on what pet you have, your garden would also benefit from a place for your pet to go when nature calls (dogs especially will need training here).
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What’s not pet-friendly?
Pets should instinctively avoid plants that could make them sick, but just in case, most pets don’t like chrysanthemum, hyacinth, iris, daisy, morning glory, daffodil, azalea, lily, carnation, sago palm, Chinese evergreen, philodendron, ivy, hydrangea, geranium, begonia, tomato plants, aloe vera, tomato, landata and oleander.
Dogs and cats also don’t love onion, garlic chives, leeks, flamingo flowers and duranta. Dogs are also particularly prone to poisoning from Cycad seed (Cycas revolute).
For a more comprehensive list of plants that domestic animals shouldn’t eat, check out the Pet Poison Helpline website.
Out of reach
Using hanging frames or shelves and raise garden beds above ground level to keep your pets away from certain plants.
Fence it off
Another option is to fence-off garden areas and make them inaccessible to your pets. Gates, netting, fences and chicken wire are all easy options.
Easy on the chemicals
You’d be surprised where your pet can get, so be aware if you are using chemicals in the garden. Snail baits can be quite toxic to pets so look for an alternative control measures or use bait that’s pet friendly.
Dogs are one of the most popular pets because they are terrific companions, but they can be garden destroyers at the same time, so dog-friendly garden needs extra thought.
- Dogs like to patrol the perimeter of their domain, so avoid putting delicate plants in their path.
- Dogs like to dig, so avoid uncovered soil. You can give them somewhere specific to dig by filling a large container with sand and bury treats in it every now and again. If you use blood and bone, fence off the area for two weeks just in case they decide to dig or eat the dirt as it can make them very sick.
- Dogs need to do their business, so set aside a spot and train them to use it.
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Cats can be supremely snobby, but many of us can’t get enough of their sporadic affection and sophisticated demeanour. Planting some catnip will make their day. Mint can also act as a sedative for cats.
When in doubt, call the experts
If you want to introduce an obscure plant to your garden, or something weird is happening to your pet (or you have a weird pet), we highly recommend speaking to your local vet of the RSPCA (they both know a lot about pets) and/or your local Plant Life Balance-accredited nursery (they know a lot about plants).