Gardening is an excellent way to spruce up your home and relax, but for pet owners, the care and keeping of plants can be a major source of stress. There are a lot of ways pet parents can alleviate some of the troubles that come with keeping furry friends safe and out of prize roses.
When you begin digging in the dirt, your pet may well try to follow suit, pulling up your seedlings as quickly as you plant them. Often, pets find digging in the dirt to be quite entertaining, especially when the dirt is loose and easy to move. Placing rocks or chicken wire in the dirt can detract a pet from digging in unwanted spots. Walk your dog before gardening, or tucker him out with frisbee. Sometimes, though, digging can be a symptom of an infestation of burrowing animals, such as moles.

Dog with rose in mouthCat with pot of grassDog with tulips

There are some hidden dangers in the garden for many pets. Many popular plants, such as rhododendrons and azaleas, are toxic to cats and dogs. Research what plants may pose a hazard to your pets before planting. The ASPCA website offers a full list of potentially poisonous plants.
Fertilizers and insecticides, too, can put your pet at risk if not properly handled. Follow instructions carefully, and observe recommended waiting periods following use before letting your pets roam free outside. Store these products in areas where pets can’t accidentally ingest them.
However, not everything in the garden is a threat. There are a few plants that are quite beneficial to pets and pet owners, alike. Catnip is an obvious addition to the garden near the home for cats who are allowed outdoors, but many other fragrant and non-toxic grasses and herbs are quite attractive to cats, too. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs and a host of other pets all love having fresh grass to nibble on occasionally. Keeping a planter of fresh cereal or oat grass that is never treated with insecticides or fertilizers can help detract pets from eating other plants.
For pets who just don’t take the hint, fencing or building borders may be the only option. Putting plants slightly higher in a terrace, rocking around garden plots or putting up a fence around the plants can stop pouncing, chewing and other unwanted behaviors.
There will always be minor frustrations and setbacks in attempting to keep a pristine garden when you’ve got curious and playful pets. With a little planning and some patience, balancing pet and garden is certainly possible!

Posted on 2011-04-12 by Amanda Harper