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COVID-19 Update: May 25, 2021

Pet Conscious Gardening

Article from Steers partner Pets Plus Us

Your outdoor space can be a great benefit to you and your pet.  Sunshine, exercise, and brain stimulation are essential for human and animal health.  Unfortunately, gardens can also present some hazards for dogs and cats.

From flea bites to sunstroke, many preventable accidents can happen in the backyard. Mindful planning can help you create a beautiful, enjoyable, and safe garden for your whole family. 

Plan

Before heading to the greenhouse, make sure the structure of your garden is safe and secure.

Create shady retreats from the sun using trees, pergolas, or canopies.

Install motion-triggered lights.  Bright light discourages skunks, raccoons, and other wildlife from visiting at night.

Visit the veterinarian to make sure your pet is ready to greet the outdoor season.  As recommended for your area, update vaccines, deworming, and flea/tick prevention.

Remove hazards such as sharp rocks, dead tree limbs, and debris, and fill any holes.

Inspect fences and gates to ensure your pet cannot escape.

Keep compost bins, garden chemicals and tools tightly secured and out of your pet’s reach.

Plant

You want your yard to be exciting for your pets and worry-free for you. Thoughtful planting choices can make the perfect oasis a reality.  With a bit of garden artistry, you can create a great space for dogs and cats to express their animal instincts by sniffing, hiding, and stalking.

Choose pet-friendly plants like alyssum, snapdragons, and marigolds.  Avoid toxic plants such as lilies, foxglove, and grapes.  For an illustrated list of toxic and non-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA poisonous plants page.

Consider choosing hardy and “steppable” plants that your pet can explore. This way, no part of your garden will need to be “off-limits” to pets.

Choose pet-friendly plants like alyssum, snapdragons, and marigolds.  Avoid toxic plants such as lilies, foxglove, and grapes.  For an illustrated list of toxic and non-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA poisonous plants page.

Select an assortment of plants. Choose different heights and shapes to maximize the stimulation that your garden offers.

Grow plants that naturally repel pests like ticks, mosquitos, and slugs.  Some great choices are chrysanthemums, mint, and lavender.

For your lawn, choose a grass variety that is resistant to pet urine scalding.

Protect

Look for ways to maintain your garden in a pet- and earth-friendly manner. 

Explore safer pest control solutions like diatomaceous earth, nematodes, and naturally repellant plants.

Select garden mulch thoughtfully.  Cocoa shell mulches can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.  Untreated cedar mulch is pet-safe and repels many pests.

Avoid using insecticides and herbicides.  Slug, ant, and rodent baits are especially dangerous when ingested by pets.

Fertilize with manure, finished compost, or animal-safe commercial products.

Make sure to empty and clean pet bowls, birdbaths, and kiddie pools daily. Standing water can harbour pathogens like giardia and leptospirosis.  It also adds to mosquito populations.  

 There’s no better time to cultivate your interest in backyard gardening!  Your two- and four-legged family members will appreciate a refreshed place to play in and explore. Happy Planting!

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