Creating pet friendly gardens

Pet friendly gardens tip and hints

Whether you are designing your garden from scratch or you are just adding a few bits of colour from your local nursery there is something that you may need to take into consideration: is that plant safe for your family, and I mean all your family including your pets.

As with most things that we come across every day there is a degree of harm in it. As plants can have different degrees of toxicity and so these toxins have different effects on your pets and they can range from a mild skin irritation to the extreme where your pet will almost certainly die.

Toxic plants to avoid

Brunfelsia, which is the Yesterday Today and Tomorrow plant, is a lovely addition to the garden but all parts of the plant, including the roots, are poisonous. There are many other plants that are poisonous in one way or another and they include such plants as the Oleander, Sago palms and Rhoeas just to name a few. Plants with high sap content are generally something to be wary of.

Watch your inquisitive puppy that it doesn’t eat the indoor plants, you may have to put a little fence around it (the plant that is) until it learns what it cannot eat.

Practice safe storage 

Fertilizers such as Blood and Bone are really great for the garden but they are also very attractive to dogs, even though they cannot read the label their sense of smell is very good so they know what is in the bag. So put it into a solid and sealed container or even better dig it into the garden. Consider placing temporary fencing or bird netting over your garden to deter your pet digging and eating the fertilizer when first applied, in such small amounts it should not harm them but they will still love to roll in it.

Bird netting over vegetable garden to stop dogs digging up seedlings

Almost all fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium but they may also contain such things as iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese and molybdenum, which as generally Ok when used as directed but it will not be good for your pet if it eats it.

Herbicides, pesticides, miticides, and fungicides are great products for treating pests, diseases and weeds in your garden. They can however be harmful to your pets, so never leave these products unattended when open and it’s good practice to store in a lockable cabinet or up high and out of reach when not in use. 

If in doubt, visit the vet

The symptoms that your pet is sick can include, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremor, hallucinations, delirium and all the way to seizures. If you feel that your pet is sick take a trip to the vet with whatever the pet has eaten so they can diagnose the problem and treat your pet.

This is not to scare; this is just to be aware.

About Will

Will Waterford your local garden and pet expertWill is the owner of Caloundra Garden & Pet Supplies on Queensland’s Sunny Coast. With a Diploma of Horticulture and over 25 years, Will has a vast knowledge of what home gardeners are looking for. Besides being a busy business owner, Will also writes a weekly Garden & Pet column for the local Sunny Coast paper. 

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