by Josh Doyle
We own 2 huskies. Chloe’ and Charlie and they are our substitute children, since the real ones are grown and gone. We also love to garden. People warned us that we could either have huskies or a garden, but not both.
Now, three years after getting the dogs, our garden – and the dogs – are still recovering. Here are some ways to keep your garden safe for your pets – and possibly, from your pets.
Did you know that apple seeds have arsenic in them? While swallowing an occasional seed is not going to hurt anybody, animals have a much different metabolism, and wholesale consumption of entire apples (try a dozen in 15 minutes) can cause organ damage to your pets. So, if have apple trees, watch that your pets don’t gorge themselves on the fruit.
Most flower bulbs are toxic to animals. I planted 150 narcissus and crocus bulbs the fall before we got the dogs. They all got eaten. Maybe that’s why the dogs had diarrhea for a month! Luckily, I didn’t plant tulips. Those bulbs can depress the central nervous system and cause convulsions.
Oleander, of course, is deadly poisonous to everything. And lilies are extremely toxic for cats. Even a little bit if this, if eaten, can cause kidney damage for your little feline.
One of the most dangerous enemeis of your pets will be heat. Make sure your pet has plenty of shade and fresh water. In fact, providing a fresh drink of water 2 or 3 times a day may be in order, as pets are not as likely to drink if the water is hot. Just think about how often you hose down your garden, or how often the sprinklers turn on. You should do twice that for your outdoor pets.
Not only do you need a well-fenced garden to contain your pets, but the fencing material itself should be safe. I had a light-weight wire fencing defining certain flowerbeds, and pretty little wire meshes for vines to climb. All of this was great until one of the dogs crashed through and got tangled up in the flimsy little wires. Suddenly, those wires were very strong and cut through flesh. Needless to say, chicken wire, sheep wire, and decorative edging was replaced by more substantial landscaping.
You may not consider predators to be a problem in an urban or suburban garden, but hawks have been known to swoop down and grab small pets like bunnies, Yorkies, and cats. You may consider a “play pen” of sorts to keep them in the shade, where the canopy of a tree or porch will protect them from eyes in the sky.
Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer can be extremely toxic to your pets of all kinds. All of these chemicals should be used judiciously, and remember to act as if your pet WILL lick the powder or liquid off of the ground or plant. For instance, get a pet safe slug repellant. The other kind can kill your pets.
It’s all very basic stuff, but at the end of the day its of the utmost import ants to keep your pet safe.
Josh is a huge animal lover, he looks after Dogs, Cats and his beloved little dumbo rats! He is currently working for a garden maintenance company part time and in his spare time has just begun setting up a blog.