Tips for Gardening with Dogs
Our Fine Furry Friends
Ways to Include Them
Sometimes gardening with our pets can be, well, troublesome. Here’s some thoughts and ideas to help include them into your routine so that everyone enjoys the gardens you work so hard at.
Play with Your Dog
Dogs need physical and mental stimulation each day. So carve out time to give your dog a long walk or playtime each day. Active breeds like this Border collie can cause a lot of damage to your beds and borders if they are bored.
Here’s a Hint: Walk your dog for 45 minutes every day to keep it fit and happy.
Include Your Dog
As you garden, provide your dog with an activity. This happy hound gets a tennis ball tossed for it throughout the day as its owner works in her greenhouse.
Keep Toys Handy
Keep a stash of dog toys in your garden. These can be special toys your dog only gets to play with while it’s with you in the garden. Here, a lucky golden retriever has its personal selection of colored balls to choose from.
Dogs get hot easily, so always be sure to have a source of fresh water available in the garden. This pretty pooch likes being fetched a pail of water.
Give Them Shelter
Even if your dog lives in the house, it will appreciate having its own home where it can retreat to when outdoors during stormy weather. And remember that doghouses don’t have to be eyesores. Design one to match your home so it fits in with your landscape.
Keep feet and paws dry by paving your garden paths with brick or gravel. Plus, most dogs will quickly learn to stay on the paths so your lawn and garden soil won’t become packed down.
Here’s a Hint: Mulched paths work well, too, but avoid using cocoa bean hulls as they can make your dog sick if it eats this mulch.
Grow Barrier Plants
Even the most rambunctious dog will avoid garden beds planted with tall, fragrant, or thorny plants. Barberries, roses, euphorbia, Joe Pye weed, and bamboo are just a few rugged yet beautiful plants dogs prefer to walk around rather than through.
Try Container Gardening
If all else fails, plant your favorite flowers and vegetables in containers. Most plants do well in large pots or planters, and they’ll be less likely to be trampled by pounding paws.
Know Your Breed
Dogs have strong natural instincts you should be aware of before you turn them loose in your backyard. Terriers are among breeds that love to dig and if left unattended, can eventually turn your garden upside down. Be sure to give them lots of exercise and toys to chew on to keep excavation to a minimum.
Care for the Elderly
As dogs age, their hearing or sight may decline, or they may have difficulty getting around. If you have an older dog, be willing to help it up and down steps and be alert to prevent it from accidentally falling into swimming pools or wandering behind cars. This older basset hound occasionally requires a lift up the garden steps.
Here’s a Hint: Elderly dogs can suffer when temperatures soar. If your older dog is with you in the garden, be sure to provide a shady place for it to relax.
Include Your Dog
Dogs are pack animals and don’t enjoy being kept in another part of your house or yard when visitors arrive. So make sure your dog is well trained and invited to all family functions. This little West Highland white terrier waits patiently for the festivities to begin.
Here’s a Hint: Never feed your dog from the table. It will encourage begging, which can be annoying.
Dogs and kids are a great combination, but if your dog isn’t used to being around children it could become fearful. So find some kids in your neighborhood or at the dog park and let your dog spend some time with them. Socialize your dog as much as possible so it maintains good manners around any visitor, young or old.
And finally, enjoy your dog and don’t get too upset if your dog knocks over a pot or kills a plant. Remember, plants grow back, but your relationship with your dog can be a lot more rewarding.