Your cart is currently empty.

Gardening with dogs: Tips for creating a dog-friendly garden and preventing digging and plant destruction

May 2024 | Highpaw stories

Gardening is a great hobby for many, but for dog owners, maintaining a garden can sometimes bring about unique challenges. Dogs, with their boundless energy and natural curiosity, may unintentionally damage plants, dig up flower beds, or step on delicate leaves. However, with thoughtful planning and strategic garden design, it's possible to create a harmonious environment where both dogs and plants can thrive. If you were wondering how, we have your back with practical tips for gardening with dogs, on how to prevent digging and plant destruction as well as how to choose dog-friendly plants that cannot harm them.


Choose dog-friendly plants

When selecting plants for your garden, it's essential to choose varieties that are safe for dogs. Some common plants, such as lilies, azaleas, and daffodils, can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Instead, reach for dog-friendly alternatives like lavender, rosemary, sunflowers, petunias, basil, thyme, and marigolds. These plants not only add beauty to your garden but also provide a safe environment for your furry friend to explore. Find out which plants are toxic to dogs and avoid incorporating them into your garden. Even seemingly harmless plants like tomatoes and rhubarb can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. Sago palm is considered to be one of the most toxic plants for dogs. Every part of the plant is toxic, especially the seeds. Ingesting just a few seedpods can result in acute liver failure. Furthermore, oleander is a highly toxic plant for dogs, containing toxins called cardiac glycosides that can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, heart abnormalities, and even death if ingested. Even paprika should be avoided because it can contain spicy chilies that can cause stomach upset like vomiting, diarrhea, and gas.


Create defined paths and play areas

Dogs love to roam and explore, so designate specific paths and play areas within your garden to direct their movements. Install pathways using materials like gravel, mulch, or stepping stones to guide dogs around delicate plants and flower beds. Designate a separate area for play, equipped with durable toys, agility equipment, or a sandbox to satisfy your dog's natural instincts to dig and explore.


Install secure fencing

To protect your garden from unwanted digging and plant destruction, install secure fencing around the perimeter. Choose fencing materials that are tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over and sturdy enough to withstand any attempts to dig underneath. Regularly inspect and maintain the fence to ensure there are no gaps or weak spots where your dog could escape or gain access to restricted areas.


Exercise, mental stimulation & training

Dogs can resort to destructive behaviors like digging if they're bored or understimulated. Ensure your pet receives plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom-induced mischief in the garden. Take regular walks, engage in interactive play sessions, and provide puzzle toys or enrichment activities to keep your dog entertained and mentally engaged. Adequate training and supervision are essential for teaching your dog appropriate behaviors in the garden. Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward desired behaviors, such as staying away from designated plant areas or using a chosen digging spot.

Supervise your dog while they're in the garden, especially during the initial stages of training, to redirect any unwanted behavior and reinforce positive habits. Dogs have a natural instinct to dig, so provide them with a digging zone in which they can dig as much as they wish. Fill this area with loose soil, sand, or mulch and bury toys or treats to encourage your dog to dig in this designated spot. By redirecting their digging behavior to a designated area, you can minimize damage to the rest of your garden.


Raised beds and containers

Raised beds and containers offer an effective way to protect your plants from curious dogs while contributing to the visual aspect of your garden. Lifting plants off the ground can turn away dogs from stepping or digging around them, preserving the safety of your garden beds. Choose sturdy raised bed materials like cedar or composite wood and position containers strategically to prevent tipping or damage. Also, you can incorporate natural deterrents into your garden design to discourage dogs from approaching or damaging plants. Citrus peels, vinegar, or bitter apple spray can be effective at repelling dogs from specific areas of the garden. Additionally, consider planting aromatic herbs like mint, lavender, or citronella, which emit scents that dogs may find unappealing, but at the same time won’t hurt them.

Gardening with dogs requires careful planning, patience, and a willingness to adapt your garden design to accommodate your pet's needs. By choosing dog-friendly plants, avoiding toxic varieties, creating defined paths and play areas, installing secure fencing, providing adequate exercise and mental stimulation, training and supervising your dog, preventing digging and plant destruction, and applying natural deterrents, you can create a beautiful and dog-friendly garden that brings joy to both you and your furry companion. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy the beauty of your garden and at the same time share special moments with your beloved pet.