Mother Earth Living

5 Tips for Gardening with Pets

Gardening doesn’t always mix with pet ownership. You can spend several hours painstakingly planting bulbs, only to have your dog playfully trample through them the next day. Or maybe it’s hard to keep indoor plants healthy because your cat likes to bat at and munch on the leaves, especially when you’re not looking.

The tips below can be helpful in maintaining plants indoors or out, without making your furry companions feel frustratingly limited.

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Keep an Eye on Your Pet

Before allowing your pet to play outside, make sure to set boundaries so he/she knows the location of your planting areas. You can also reinforce the idea with a vocal command that warns the animal not to get too close.

You also have a responsibility to keep a close eye on your pet to make sure your plants stay intact. If you catch your pet destroying an area where you’ve planted something, keep in mind that it’s not typically out of malice. Your animal is probably just bored. If you notice the telltale signs of boredom, squash them by encouraging your pet to play somewhere else, or schedule in more human-pet playtime.

Deter Cats from Potted Plants

Potted plants with lightweight leaves that dangle in the air are extremely fun toys for felines. Luckily, you can naturally keep pets away by using natural ingredients like lemon juice and white vinegar.

Be aware that the latter ingredient isn’t good for plant leaves, so you’ll only need to treat the base of the pot. However, a mix of lemon juice and water is safe for the leaves. Neither of these solutions are pleasant for cats, plus they’re easy and cheap to make at home. Mix them in spray bottles, so it’s easier to have control over the application process.

Create a Visual Barrier

Sometimes it’s not necessary to build a high fence to keep your pet from entering your garden. A visual indicator of boundary is enough in many cases. A low picket fence might do the trick, and you can paint it in a cheerful color that coordinates with the hues of blooming flowers.

Use Fertilizer Carefully

Although fertilizer works wonders for keeping plants healthy, it can also be harmful to a dog’s digestive tract. Be sure to follow packaging instructions about how much to use, and how long to let it sit before letting your dog near it. Also, watch your canine for any sign of stomach upset. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect any issues.

Keep Pets Contained in an Outdoor Space

Pets may feel compelled to play in the garden if they feel they’re missing out on the action. Make a compromise by allowing your animal to have free rein of a certain outdoor area, such as a porch or deck.

A baby gate can be a useful tool for keeping them in the area without making them feel smothered, because they can see out of the barrier’s natural openings. In the case of a dog, be sure to give the pet several chew toys and other healthy diversions, so it won’t feel tempted to gnaw on your patio furnishings or decking instead.

Hopefully these tips will prove that it’s possible to have beautiful plants and be a pet owner, too. Although striking that balance may take some work, your efforts will pay off when you’re able to enjoy your pet and the visual splendor of lush leaves and brilliant blooms all year long.

Do you have any other tricks for keeping your pet out of your shrubs or houseplants? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

Kayla Matthews is a health and wellness blogger who loves jogging, yoga and hiking. Follow Kayla on Google+ and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.

  • Published on Jun 29, 2015
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