As spring approaches, many of us will be sprucing up the garden ready for long afternoons in the sunshine enjoying milder temperatures.
Our dogs will also relish the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, and the garden can offer the perfect space for them to roam and play to their heart’s content.
Yet, while our gardens do offer safety, they still pose some risks – and with many people welcoming dogs into their homes over the pandemic, new owners may not be aware of the dangers.
With a little thought and planning, however, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your outdoor space is paw-fect for your pooch.
PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, has shared her top tips for keeping a spring in your pup’s step by protecting them from hidden hazards in the garden.
The PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For more information and to donate, go to www.pdsa.org.uk.
So here’s how to make your garden spring safe:
Avoid poisonous plants
Our furry friends are naturally curious and are sometimes tempted to chew on plants or flowers.
While beautiful to the eye, some common spring flowers such as daffodils, irises, tulips, azaleas and hyacinths can be highly dangerous for pets.
For avid gardeners, it’s a good idea to fence off areas where you’re planting bulbs or cover the soil with mesh to stop paws from getting access.
Bulbs have a higher concentration of nutrients than plants and flowers, making them a greater risk.
Say no to garden chemicals
Anyone with green fingers will know that weeds and pests can be a real bug bear but for those with a dog at home it’s important to avoid using dangerous chemicals in our gardens.
Avoid using weed killers as they can be harmful to your pet. Pesticides such as slug pellets can also have fatal consequences for dogs if eaten – and for other pets and wildlife too.
Hedgehogs and birds are a great environmentally friendly alternative for keeping bugs at bay. Try attracting them by providing easy access routes under fences for hedgehogs and ground water sources such as a birdbath or water fountain along with bird feeders around your garden.
Create dog-friendly spaces
While our precious pets love nothing more than frolicking in the grass, they can easily overheat on warmer days.
Make sure there are plenty of shady spots, such as under trees or shrubs, where they can retreat to when they’re feeling warm. Dogs also enjoy a paddling pool where they can cool down.
For dogs who love to dig, it’s worth creating a dedicated dig-pit where they can burrow and play without ruining any perfectly pruned borders. You can encourage them to use this spot by praising them and offering treats when they use it correctly.
Secure the perimeter
Adventurous dogs may be inclined to find gaps in bushes and shrubs, leading them to enter your neighbour’s garden, or worse – a busy road.
Installing a sturdy fence will prevent your pooch from squeezing through any holes. Make sure hedgehog entrance holes are kept just big enough and ideally have a solid base, so your dog can’t dig and make them larger. This will allow your dog to explore within the safety of their garden.
Make sure your fence is high enough that they can’t jump over it and check regularly for any escape tunnels they may have started digging underneath the fence.
Be mindful too of any damage to your fence that could cause paws or noses to become trapped.
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