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How to create a pet-friendly garden

28th Aug '18 • By Ellis Garwood

Australia is subject to sometimes extreme weather changes, so it’s important that your pets have a safe and suitable garden to roam in. We have some ingenious tips to cultivate a pet-friendly garden for healthier plants and happier fur babies.

How to create a pet-friendly garden

Our most popular household pets in Australia, cats and dogs, naturally want to be outside most of the time. A beautiful garden and a curious pet don't always mix well together. Having a pet friendly garden doesn't necessarily mean just having plenty of toys and treats. It requires you to ensure that you have pet friendly plants, stable fences, outdoor beds, shelter, and a place for an adequate amount of water. Not to mention - you need nibble-protection for your beautiful flower bed. 


Pet friendly plants


Start simple. The first step to creating an outdoor space with your pets in mind is to be mindful that not all flowers and pets interact well. This doesn't mean you have to give up  your beautiful flower beds or tranquil pond. It just means you need to be more mindful of the types of flowers or tranquil ponds you choose for your garden.

Certain common succulents like jade plant and aloe vera are bad news for dogs, but you can keep enjoying them as long as they are potted, up high and away from curious snouts. Ensure that they have plenty of grass area but if you have garden beds that are not good for your pets then cover them up or block them off to prevent them from eating them or digging them up.


The main plants that are poisonous to dogs are:

  • Lily of the Valley
  • Daphne
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
  • Cycads
  • Azaleas
  • Castor Oil Plant
  • Wandering Jew
  • Stephanotis
  • Angels Trumpet
  • White Snakeroot
  • Golden Chain, Laburnum
  • Lantana, Red Sage, Yellow Sage, West Indian Lantana, Shrub Verbena
  • Oleander


Stable fencing 


A good fence equals a safe dog. Keep those fences high and stable to prevent your beloved pets escaping. You definitely need to consider the size of your pet, as there is no point putting up small stable fencing when you have a big dog. 1.2 meters is high enough for a small dog, but athletic dogs will require a fence about 1.5 to 1.8 meters high. Minimizing gaps at the bottom of your fence is essential, this can cause problems if your pet finds a gap they can escape out of. Make sure you check the base of the fence for potential gaps or holes before it's too late. 


Outdoor home for shelter 


The next stage of planning a pet friendly garden is choosing the right housing for your pets and where to position in your garden. Shade and shelter is your most basic but most important part of creating a pet friendly garden. Like humans, pets don't enjoy baking in the sun. On hot weather or sunny days, your furry friends will need a cooling retreat to rest in. Creating a small outdoor shelter for your pet is a necessity. Ensure this is a place in your garden in the shade so they can sit out of the sun and stay cool. If you would rather make one yourself than buy one, then make your way to Pinterest for inspiration. This will provide you with many ways to build a little outdoor home for your pet. 


Puppy day bed


Comfort is key. Create a comfy space that allows them to rest in a space that is all theirs. This will also prevent them from claiming your sofa as their daybed as they know they have somewhere that is theirs. This may be a big doggy pillow that they can move around the garden when they please. However, we don’t recommend spending too much money on a pillow daybed as they will need to be replaced on a more regular basis, or washed on a more regular basis. Alternatively, you can get some old pallets to place in the garden and put a pillow on top of them to keep it off the ground and prevent it from getting dirty as easily. Then bring in the pillow at the end of the day as this will keep the pillow in a cleaner state for longer, but still allows your pet to have comfort during the day outdoors. 


Food & water


You need to supply a continuous source of freshwater. In Australia, we all know that water can heat up very quickly, which soon makes it undrinkable. When leaving out food and water for pets make sure you leave it in the coolest place. I know this can be hard to find but near a wall with shadows or under a shelter will keep it fresher for longer. It may be worth creating a little platform that you can place the food and water on with a little shelter over the top like a half wooden box to cover it from the sun. Change the water and food daily to ensure it is safe and fresh for your pet. You can now purchase bowls that automatically refill when the water is getting low - this is a great way to ensure your pet has fresh water at all times.  

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When we leave dogs alone, a lot of pet owners think their pet spends the whole time mourning for their return. This is not the case as they cannot hold an image in their minds for that long. While your dog may recognise your scent when you return, they have not been thinking about you the whole time. Sorry to burst your bubble. However, I would always leave them toys to amuse themselves with. Many dogs spend hours playing with toys whether that is with their owner or on their own, so leaving them with some toys gives them the option to play with them.


With all of these factors in mind you can quite easily create a pet friendly garden and avoid the worries you have when leaving your pet in the garden for the day. 


About the Author


Ellis is one of the beloved Content Writers of When Ellis isn't writing articles with ♥ from the Gold Coast of Australia, she is up at the crack of dawn attending the gym followed by a day in the office, finishing her day off with an evening stroll along the beachfront catching the evening sunset.

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