Now that the sun has started shining more, many of you will be getting out in the garden. While getting plants in the ground and enjoying the sun is great fun, your pets will also likely be spending more time outside, so you need to make sure your garden is safe for them too.
There is a lot in an average garden that could be harmful to pets, not including the items you then use to give your garden a tidy up. With animals being naturally curious, you need to understand exactly what risks your garden can pose.
Here are some of the things you need to remember about your garden to keep you pets happy and healthy:
Get to know your plants
There are a lot of plants that look lovely but are potentially harmful to your pets. Getting to know the plants in your garden to make sure they are safe and non-toxic to animals can help look after your pets.
You’ll find that a lot of common plants are toxic to animals if ingested, so it’s worth getting to know your plants so you can make sure. All types of lilies, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, irises and spring crocuses are dangerous, as are azaleas, rhododendrons and yews. There are also many other toxic plants, so you should check which are ok for your pets.
While you don’t necessarily have to get rid of any potentially harmful plants, keeping an eye on your pets to make sure they aren’t showing too much interest in them is a good idea. If you are worried about some of your plants, you can either remove them from your garden or move them somewhere out of reach.
Pet-proof your vegetable garden
If you grow vegetables, you need to be concerned about more than your cat or dog digging up your seedlings. Certain edible plants are fine for human consumption but can be toxic if eaten by animals. Herbs and vegetables from the allium family (chives, garlic, onions and leeks) are an example of what you should keep away from your pets.
There are also other vegetables you might not realise could be dangerous to dogs and cats. For example, unripe tomatoes and tomato plants can cause severe issues in animals, However, ripe tomatoes are entirely safe.
Creating raised beds or fencing off your vegetables from the rest of your garden are great ways to keep your pets out so they don’t eat something they shouldn’t.
Check garden chemicals
A lot of chemicals you use in your garden, from slug repellent to weedkiller, can be dangerous for your pets and other animals. Not only can the chemicals themselves pose a problem but they can get onto plants and other things that your pets may eat or brush up against.
This is why it is important to store any chemicals you use in your garden safely and securely so your pets can’t get to them. You also need to read the instructions and warnings on the packaging so you know if they could affect your pet’s health.
If you’re not sure whether a chemical can be used around animals, it is better to be safe and keep your pets away from them. Only use them when your animals are not around and make sure your hands, shoes and clothing are clean before giving your pet a cuddle.
Keep your garden clean
If you’re cutting crass, trimming plants or doing a bit of weeding, it’s important to make sure you clean up after yourself. We don’t know why animals eat the things they do, so you can’t guarantee that your pet won’t start munching on grass clippings or any trimmings.
Tidying as you go, especially if your pet is outside with you, is important so use garden waste bins or regularly put clippings in your compost bin as you go.
Similarly, you should sweep up any soil or fertiliser that gets spilt as this can contain potentially toxic plant matter, decaying food and other things your pet really shouldn’t be eating. Keeping them inside when you’re planting anything is the safest course of action.
Make sure your garden is enclosed
As well as making sure there is nothing harmful in your garden that your pet can eat, you also need to make sure your garden is secure. Check that there are no gaps in the fence or hedge that your pet can slip through and that your gate is fully secure at all times. This will help keep them in the garden and also stop anyone from easily being able to get in without you knowing about it.
Keep your shed locked and secure
As well as making sure your gate stays closed, you also need to ensure your shed is secure and that your pets can’t get in. From sharp tools to potentially harmful chemicals, there’s a lot in sheds that can hurt people, let alone animals, so you need to keep windows and doors shut.
You should also check that no animals have managed to sneak into your shed before locking it. Cats are particularly good at finding their way into people’s sheds and garages without anyone noticing, so getting into the routine of checking can ensure your or your neighbours’ moggies don’t get trapped.
See a vet if you suspect your pet has eaten something
While it’s best not to allow your pet in the garden without supervision, we know you can’t be watching them every minute. This is why you should get your pet to the vet even if you only suspect that they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t.
Quick treatment can help stop any toxins they ingest from being fatal, so come and see us even if you aren’t 100% sure that they’ve given something a try that they shouldn’t.