As a pet owner, you want to make sure your pets are safe in the garden. Inexperienced, younger pets can soon get into trouble when unattended, but even older pets can occasionally be at risk. Here are a few guidelines to help keep your pets safe and happy in the garden.
Ensure your garden is securely enclosed so your pet cannot escape. This will also keep other animals out!
If necessary, fit chicken wire along the base of hedges to fill any gaps. If you have rabbits, bury the chicken wire about 150mm (6in) deep then turn inwards for about another 150mm (6in) to prevent them burrowing out.
Avoid using any herbicides in the garden. Paraquat, for example, causes kidney failure in animals if ingested. All pesticides are best avoided as your pets may lick it off any leaves. Avoid fresh farmyard manure or organic fertilisers such as Blood, Fish and Bone, or chicken pellets, all of which are attractive to animals. Garden compost should be safe provided no animal matter was added. Only use slug pellets where your pets cannot eat them.
Look around for small spaces where curious pets may get stuck – under decking or behind sheds, for example. Use chicken wire to fill any gaps.
If you have a pond, make sure your pet can climb out – even large dogs can drown when trapped in a pond. Remember, though, that cats will take advantage of the ease of entry to catch any fish.
Give your pets shelter from strong sun, wind and rain, and ensure the opening in any pet house faces away from prevailing winds. Always make sure your pets have an adequate water supply.
If your animals like to dig, provide them with an area where this is allowed. Partially bury favourite toys to encourage them to dig there. Leave other toys to play with when you are out, so they do not become bored and get up to mischief, and provide scratching areas or posts as appropriate.
Many plants can harm animals if they are eaten, though most pets will usually avoid highly poisonous plants by instinct. The following are poisonous in whole or part so make sure they are not easily accessible to your pets in the garden:
- Foxglove (poisonous leaves)
- Oleander (all parts)
- Daffodils (bulbs)
- Azaleas and rhododendrons (all parts)
- Rhubarb (leaves)
- Lily-of-the-valley (leaves)
- Rhus and euphorbia species (poisonous sap)
- Laburnum (seeds)
- Yew (especially dried clippings)
- Caster oil plant (seeds)