Plant a Pet-Safe Garden for All to Enjoy

Planting an organic, nontoxic and safe garden for pets will keep your whole family nourished and healthy.

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For the safety of your pet, use organic fertilizers, compost and mulch in your garden. By: neiljaxx

Spring has sprung — and summer is just around the corner. People with green thumbs are out in the sunshine, making their gardens grow.

This year, while you’re getting your green on, make sure your garden is not only beautiful but also safe for your pets.

Grow Your Own

Even if your dog doesn’t know it yet, he loves vegetables, especially organic produce pulled right from the garden.

The easiest veggies to grow are also the ones he’ll enjoy most:

  • Carrots
  • Winter and summer squash
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Green beans
  • Melon

Do not give him onions, garlic, leeks or a lot of tomatoes, though — they can all make dogs sick.

Switch to Organic Gardening Methods

The chemicals and additives in commercial fertilizers and pesticides are just as bad for your pets as they are for you.

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What’s more, dogs often enjoy the taste of soil or mulch mixed with commercial fertilizer, so they snack on it and promptly get sick. Likewise, it can be fatal when dogs ingest chemical pesticides, so keep them out of your yard.

Instead of commercial fertilizers, use organic compost, mulch, fertilizers and soil amendments to improve your yield.

Switch to nontoxic methods of pest control:

Most of the commercial products are pet-safe, but read the label carefully to make sure.

Hydrangea, though quite beautiful, is not safe for cats. By: kpaulus
Hydrangea, though quite beautiful, is not safe for cats. By: kpaulus

Remove Toxic Plants

Some of the most beautiful ornamentals and shrubs are also the most toxic for your pets:

  • Hydrangea
  • Brugmansia
  • Rhododendrons
  • Azaleas
  • Lantana
  • Oleander
  • Bougainvillea

A shrub called “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” or Brunfelsia, is currently being pushed by nurseries, but this shrub is also toxic to pets. According to research reported in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, Brunfeslia can cause “strychnine-like” symptoms in dogs and is potentially lethal.

When you plan your summer garden, take stock of your planting areas and remove any flora that could potentially harm your pets. Relocate these plants to a different area of your yard, give them to your plant-loving neighbors or add them to your compost pile.

Watch these Westies go nuts on a large head of organic cabbage in their family’s backyard in this video:

Block Access to Unsafe Areas

Your pets shouldn’t have access to certain areas of your yard, such as the tool or potting sheds, the pool or any exits that lead to the street.

Invest in a sturdy fence that will keep your pet out of areas where he could harm himself.

Make sure your family members and any service people who enter your yard understand that your dogs will run into the street if they leave the gate open. Put locks on the gates and shed doors, and use them every time you go in and out.

Banish Poisons

  • Never use poison for pest control.
  • If you use insect baits, make sure your pets cannot get to them. The sweetness of the poison is just as appealing to your dog or cat as it is for the insects it was designed to kill.

Tamar Love Grande

View posts by Tamar Love Grande
Tamar Love Grande, former associate editor, is a Crazy Dog Person who has fostered and found homes for more than 200 dachshunds in the past few years. Tamar lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her cat and far too many wiener dogs.

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