How to - The Healthy Gardener

Quiz: How pet-friendly is your garden?

Find out if you've got some plants or places in the yard that may be unsafe

Question 7
When cutting the grass or using hedge trimmers or a weed trimmer, your pets should be enjoying the great outdoors while you work.

Answer = False

Keeping your pets indoors while you use any dangerous equipment in the garden is the best way to keep them safe. They can easily get underfoot while you are mowing the lawn, distracting you and potentially putting them in harm’s way. Keep any dangerous liquid, like gasoline and oil, well out of reach at all times. When using any sharp tools like a handsaw, pruners or knife in the garden, put them away when you’re finished. Your pet may not see these sharp tools laying in the grass and may step on them and injure their feet.

Question 8
Planters, containers and raised garden beds are a great way to keep your pet safe and your plants happy.

Answer = True

If you love to garden, but your puppy loves to dig, do not be disheartened. There are many solutions to designing a pet-friendly garden where plants can thrive. Using hanging baskets, window boxes, containers, raised beds and trellises can provide plants with a place to flourish, while keeping your dog at bay. If your cat loves to uproot plants in the garden, try placing orange peel around the soil since they hate the smell of citrus. Natural animal-repelling plants like citronella and geraniums can also be used as companion plants to keep pets away from your prized roses or herb garden. Remember that if you plant catnip in the garden, choose a spot where you don’t mind your cat rolling around since they’ll be attracted to that spot.

Question 9
Dog owners constantly have to search their backyard after their pooch answers nature’s call.

Answer = False

Just because you share your garden with your dog does not mean you have to wander around your whole backyard looking for dog poop to clean up. A designated potty area is a great way to keep your dog’s business in one place. Choose an appropriate spot, preferably away from the patio and other seating areas. Dig up the dirt of a 4x4 area and frame it with lumber. Then fill it with pea gravel. Introduce your pooch to the potty and encourage them to do their business there. It may take a few weeks of training, but it will be worth the time and effort.

Question 10
When designing your landscape, make sure you leave room for your pets to roam.

Answer = True

Cats and especially dogs need room to exercise and play. If you share your yard with your dog, you’ve probably noticed that he has created his own paths through the garden. Designated doggie paths through the garden are a great way to allow your pets to wander and explore the yard without trampling your plants and flowers. If your backyard is fenced, you may want to sacrifice a few feet along the fence as a perimetre path so your dog can patrol your yard. After all, your dog believes it’s his job to patrol your property and protect it from intruders, so you may as well give him the space!

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