How to make your garden safe for dogs

You can't watch your dog twenty-four seven. Areas, such as your garden, can be made dog friendly so that you don't have to. All it takes is a little thought and planning, not forgetting a marginal budget, for you to be able to enjoy some peace of mind and your dog to enjoy its garden.

What are the main things to be thinking about?

Let's run through the main considerations you need to think about before opening your garden up to a new dog or puppy.

Gates and fences

Let's talk about preventing an escape. An inquisitive dog with his nose to the wind is likely to be off if there's a gap big enough, so sturdy fencing of an adequate height is advisable. The same applies to your garden gate, which should also be on a spring shut system to make sure it's not left open. Make sure there are no broken or sharp protrusions on your gate or fence, such as exposed nails or splintered wood.

Be warned, some dogs with a nose for escapology, have been known to open latches – a sliding bolt is one way to stop this.

The burrowing dog

Some dogs are natural diggers and could potentially burrow under fence panels if the earth is soft. Burying concrete blocks under the fence is one solution to this problem, another idea would be to run chicken wire below ground level. The same goes for gates.

The opportunist

Be careful not to leave chairs, tables, BBQs, mounds or piles next to a fence or wall, as they could offer your dog a bunk up. We've heard of dogs scuttling up snow drifts, or even jumping from children's slides in a bid to escape, so be ever vigilant.

Careful what you grow

Some plants can be harmful to a dog if digested. There are lists and fact sheets on potentially harmful or toxic plants available online; it's worth having a look as some can even proof fatal.

Avoid pesticides and poisons

Chemical spraying and pest control pose obvious health risks to your dog, so avoiding things like rodent poison and slug pellets is a must, even if they claim to be pet repellent. Consider friendly alternatives.

Keep chemicals shut up

Make sure you don't leave chemical substances exposed or lying around the garden, things such as; paint, anti-freeze, plant feeds or even fertilizer. Soak away spills on patios or grass.

Avoid husks or mulch

Although employed by gardeners to discourage weed, cocoa husks and mulch contain a chemical called theobromine, also found in chocolate, which is poisonous to a dog and in some cases fatal. Safer alternatives are bark chippings or gravel.

Clearing up your dog's mess

Staying on top of your dog's mess is a daily call of duty. It's not pleasant for either you or your dog to let it build up in the garden - not forgetting the obvious concerns over hygiene.

Litter and rubbish

Keep all your rubbish and organic waste in secure bins.

Ponds and water features

Keep them covered if you have a young dog or puppy.

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