Wednesday, 14 March 2012

             Gardening tips for dog-owners
Dogs can ruin a garden, so here are some tips to make your garden dog-compatible.
The pool
Whether it's a swimming pool, or fish pond, a puppy will drown. Children also drown in swimming pools, so make sure the pool is fenced & securely gated.
The lawn
Some dogs dig holes and lie in them to keep cool. Be prepared to accept this, and remember to provide shade near the house. Dogs like to be near the house. Urine may cause dead patches, so take the dog out often for walks. Dogs and cats eat grass - it helps clean out their stomach. Never use fertiliser, weedkiller, or any chemical on the grass as it may poison the pet.

Paving or mulch
Dogs like to run around the perimeter of their territory and this wears away the grass and soil. You may wish to pave a path anywhere that the dog habitually runs or digs. Bark mulch is an eco-friendly alternative to paving. Cocoa mulch is toxic to pets. Pine needles will hurt the paws.
Flower pots
Planting plants in big containers can prevent dogs from digging them up. You can also place rocks around plants.
Dogs need shade in the garden, so plant a tree or dense bush. You will have to protect the young plant while growing or the dog may break it.
Aloe Vera, or any aloe.
Aloes are a hardy plant that stands up well to dogs. Its spiky leaves & bitter taste protect it. They will survive without watering. Aloe is said to have healing properties for wounds & minor abrasions, but the best use is for discouraging chewing. If your dog is chewing something he shouldn't - his bed, for example - cut a small piece of aloe leaf and rub the juice on the bed. The bitter taste will repulse the dog. You can rub it on the dog's paw if he is chewing his paw.
Insect repellent plants
Insects can bite your dog and annoy him, so plant marigolds and plants that don't attract insects. Remember that some dogs are allergic to bee stings, so consider this when planting flowers.
Dogs may dig up vegetables, even root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. The only solution may be to fence off the veg patch. Few dogs will eat spinach. If a dog uses the vegetable patch as a toilet, humans can get worms from the vegetables.
Plants that are toxic to dogs
Cannabis (Dagga), begonias, holly, mistletoe, snapdragons, potato leaves & stem, tomato leaves and stem, rhubarb leaves, Yesterday-today-tomorrow, grapes, & onions. If you see excessive drooling, vomiting & a vacant look on the dog's face, it may be plant poisoning. If a large quantity is eaten, it can result in coma, and possible death. Seek veterinary advice. Take the plant to the vet for identification.
Enjoy your garden!
With a little planning, you and your dog can enjoy the garden.

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