How To Create a Pet-Friendly Garden?

Giving your cat, dog, or other furry friends plenty of time in the backyard to exercise and play is a wonderful thing, but it’s important to ensure the space is not just fun, but safe too. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Article: Houzz

Which plants can be toxic to cats and dogs? 

  • Tomato plants: If you’re growing tomatoes in your garden, it’s wise to keep them securely fenced away from your furry pals. Although it’s safe for your cat or dog to eat small amounts of ripe tomatoes, the green stems, leaves and unripe fruit contain solanine, which can be extremely harmful to them – and us – if ingested in large amounts.
  • Chives: Although chives are delicious for us to eat, they can be toxic to dogs and cats. Look to grow them in a pot that’s positioned out of your pets’ reach.
  • Hydrangeas: Both the leaves and flowers of this beautiful plant contain toxins that can upset your pet’s stomach and make them feel lethargic. Grow this flowering plant in areas your cat or dog can’t access.
  • Devil’s ivy: If your cat or dog ingests this common indoor plant, they can find it hard to breathe and swallow. Best avoided if you have pets.

Which flowers and plants can be particularly harmful to cats? 

  • Lilies: These beautiful, fragrant flowers can be poisonous to cats. The main ones to avoid are peace, easter, day lily, Japanese and Asiatic lilies. Do not bring them into the house or garden if you have cats.
  • Daffodils: Don’t let these delightful flowering bulbs fool you – all parts of the plant can be toxic to cats and other pets. Be wary of growing them in pet- accessible areas.
  • Aloe vera: This plant can be useful for soothing mild burns in humans, but it can make your cat or dog unwell if they ingest it.

What other potential dangers should I be aware of?

  • Ponds and swimming pools: These can pose a real danger to small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, which may fall into the water and find themselves unable to climb out. Keep water features and pools securely fenced to prevent pet (and child) access.
  • Fertilisers: Ingesting fertiliser can make your furry friends extremely sick. Keep bags of fertiliser sealed, out of the reach of pets and closely follow the directions for use when applying them to your garden.
  • Snail and rodent bait: Apply these to your garden with care as they can be dangerous to pets if swallowed. Follow the use and safety instructions on the packs to the letter.
  • An open or broken fence: If you have a damaged fence – or forget to close the gate – you run the risk of your dog escaping onto the road or injuring itself on the broken fence panels or splintered wood. It’s wise to regularly check the condition of your fencing if you have pets, and remind everyone in your household to close the gate behind them.

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Which safe plants and vegetables will my pet enjoy? 

  • Lemon balm: This easy-to-grow plant gives off a soothing fragrance that many cats and dogs enjoy.
  • Wheat or oat grass: Your cat will love nibbling on wheat or oat grass, which can be grown in a pot or in a herb garden.
  • Strawberries, blueberries and lettuce: Your dog will enjoy the taste of these fresh fruits and veg.
  • Seeds: Birds enjoy foraging for seeds, which you can grow yourself. Mix some bird seed into the top centimetre of potting mix in a pot, keep it moist and the seeds will sprout. Let the plants grow and develop seed heads, then place the pot inside the cage for the birds to nibble on.