Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Garden for a Dog

 Spring is right around the corner and it's time to start planning a garden. If you are the type of person who has always wanted a garden, but has a dog and are not sure if the two can co-exist together, here are some helpful tips!
  • Get to know your dog's personality: Is your dog a sunbather? A loyal companion that sticks by your side? A runner that uses your yard as a race track? Observe your dog's personality and how he/she uses your yard. 
  • Avoid anything formal that sticks out: You will want your garden and yard to be a cohesive unit that flows together. That one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb, will of course, draw your furry friend's attention!
  • Establish Pathways for your racetrack: If you have the kind of dog that runs and runs and runs and runs, they have probably established some worn paths in your yard. Keep these paths, but make them part of your landscaping. It's best not to build your vegetable garden right in the middle of your dog's racetrack. Unless you want them running right through your garden! BUT, if the only good spot to build your garden is through their racetrack, there are some options:
  • Reroute the path: Dog's tend to avoid running through shrubs and tall grasses. You can use this to your advantage. Plant shrubs or tall grasses in strategic places that will force your dog to change course. Before planting, always do your research to find out if what you are planting is toxic to dog's if accidentally ingested.
  • Install a fence: plant your garden in a raised bed or in containers. You can also install a small fence around your garden as another barrier. 
  • Provide a digging spot and a sunspot: If you have a digger, try establishing a designated digging spot. You can build a sandbox for your furry friend and bury the coveted chew toys in the sand. Reward your dog for appropriately digging in the right spot. If your dog is a sunbather, provide the perfect sun spot for relaxation, warmth and rest.

  •  Minimize the need for Pesticides:  Pesticides can end up being a hospital visit for a curious pup. Last summer, a friend of mine's dog ended up in the emergency vet clinic for getting into some strawberries that had fallen onto the slug baited ground. One way to minimize the need for chemical warfare is to "companion garden". Certain plants grow better together and provide protection to each other. Other plants are lifelong enemies. There are a lot of great books out there as well as links to get you started on the "know how".
  • Know your vegetables: Some vegetables can be toxic to dogs, some can be grown and added to their dog food! Here is a list you can print out for frequent reference: 

With a little creativity and research, you can have the best of both worlds: A garden and a dog!

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